Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder

This award recognizes active, progressive dairymen who, through their expertise in managing a dairy breeding herd based upon sound genetics and business principles, serve as a model of success for their contemporaries throughout the nation. Portraits of honorees are displayed at the National Dairy Shrine Museum and National Dairy Hall of Fame in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

2018 – Randy & Jana Kortus

Randy Kortus, operates Mainstream Holsteins, Jerseys & Ayrshires, in Lynden, Washington. This outstanding herd with high production, genetics, & type is comprised of three different breeds. Particularly outstanding are the high lifetime production records with 64 Holsteins over 200,000 lifetime, 14 over 300,000 and 1 over 400,000. Also 3 Jerseys in the herd have over 300,000 lifetime including the highest lifetime Jersey Cow, Mainstream Jace Shelly. The herd has bred 83 Excellent Holsteins, 52 Excellent Jerseys and 8 Excellent Ayrshires. Mainstream has bred over 100 A.I. sires in the Holstein & Jersey breeds with the Holstein sire Mainstream Manifold selling over 1.5 million semen units worldwide. Randy has also served in leadership roles at All West-SS and Select Sires Boards (for over 20 years) as well as his church and local school board. Mr. Kortus and his late wife Jana were also long time supporters of dairy youth activities.

2017 - Tom & Gin Kestell

Tom & Gin Kestell, Evergreen View Farms, Waldo, Wisconsin are this year's Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder. Their outstanding Holstein herd consists of over 130 milking cows with impressive type and breed leading production. The Evergreen View herd is home to 52 Excellent and 71 Very Good cows with a average score of 86. The rolling herd average at year end 2016 on 94 cows was 44,122 lbs of milk, 1,680 lbs of fat 1,362 lbs of protein on 3 times a day milking. The Evergreen View herd is home to the current National Champion milk producer, Ever-Green View My Gold EX-93 with a 4 year old record of 365 days, 77,480 lbs. milk, 1,992 lbs. fat and 2,055 lbs. protein. The Ever Green View herd sells 200 cows, 100 bulls and 2,800 embryos per year with many embryos being exported. One of those embryo exports turned out to be Snowman a breed leading sire who was popular internationally.

2016 - Bearl & Joanne Seals

Bearl and Joanne Seals, Sun Valley Jerseys, Cloverdale, Oregon are the Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder for 2016. Their outstanding Jersey herd consists of over 500 milking animals with impressive type and production. Sun Valley Jerseys have sent successful sires to A.I. studs and have consigned numerous females to breed promotion sales that were purchased by many breeders across the country. Bearl Seals has served on the American Jersey Cattle Association board for two terms and as Vice President. He also served on the Jersey Research Foundation Committee. Mr. Seals also served the Tillamook Cooperative Creamery as a board of director and the local DHIA Board. The Seals and their Sun Valley Jerseys were previously recognized with the Master Breeder Award from the American Jersey Cattle Association.

2015 - Ahlem Farms Partnership

Ahlem Farms Partnership from Hilmar, California is this year’s Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder. The Ahlem Farm Partnership operates three Jersey herds with over 5000 cows. The American Jersey Association has ranked several of the females on the farm in the top 50 of the breed for JPI (Jersey Performance Index) and numerous cows & heifers in the top 200 JPI. The entire herd ranks in the top 25% nationally for JPI average. The Ahlem’s have sent numerous bulls to A.I. studs and have developed over 2800 cows with over 100,000 pounds of lifetime milk production. William Ahlem has served as a director of the National Dairy Promotion & Research Board and Dairy Management Inc. Mr. Ahlem is also one of the founding partners of the Hilmar Cheese Company and has been previously recognized with the Master Breeder Award from the American Jersey Cattle Association.

2014 - Paul Chittenden Family

The Paul Chittenden Family from Schodack Landing, New York own Dutch Hollow Farm LLC. Paul, his wife Melanie and sons, Brian, Alan & Nathan are the operators of this internationally recognized Jersey Herd. Dutch Hollow has provided top Jersey genetics for production along with the polled gene. Dutch Hollow has supplied over 100 proven sires for U.S. bull studs as well as having 293 cows receiving AJCA Honor Roll Recognition. The Dutch Hollow herd has been innovative in the marketing of its' milk through various sources and has also created the Dutch Hollow Education Center for hands on learning experiences for pre-school and elementary school groups. Paul Chittenden has served on the National AJCA board (4 Years as President) and numerous committees. Brian, Alan and Nathan Chittenden and their families are all heavily involved in the next generation of Dutch Hollow Farm as well as numerous National and State Jersey activities.

2013 - Berneta Gable

Berneta Gable manages Snider Homestead with her husband, Brad; son Aaron and his wife Amy. Snider Homestead produces elite cattle that have made a significant positive impact on the Guernsey breed. Currently there are 11 active A.I. sires from Snider Homestead making their mark in the breed. Gable's herd has high production with numerous cows in the herd with over 100,000 pounds of lifetime production and many with high individual lactations. The Gables have also had over 180 All American nominations and have exhibited national Grand Champions at all three National Guernsey shows. Snider Homestead has received numerous Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor honors. Berneta has served on the National and Pennsylvania Guernsey Association board of directors and is a well respected dairy leader.

2012 - James S. Huffard III

James Huffard, Crockett, Virginia is the third generation to operate Schultz Registered Jerseys which began in 1929; however the land has been in the family for over 200 years. This outstanding Jersey herd is internationally recognized for breeding production-pure genetics with functional type and superior longevity. Two of the leading Jersey sires that he has bred include; Schultz Performing Legend and Schultz Brook Hallmark both with over 10,000 daughters. The herd has put over 60 sires into A.I. James has served as the president of the American Jersey Cattle Association and as Vice President of National All Jersey Inc. The Huffard's herd consists of over 350 cows and they also bottle their own milk which is distributed throughout Virginia under the Duchess Dairy label.

2011 - William H. Peck

Bill and his family operate Welcome Stock Farm at Schuylerville, New York. This herd has developed numerous top sires and breed leading cow families using the "Welcome" prefix. Mr. Peck is one of the few breeders that can claim breeding the Number 1 sire in two different breeds. Welcome Choice Admiral (Guernsey) and Welcome Garter (Holstein). Welcome Genetics have been utilized in every major dairy country in the world. Bill was an early adopter of new genetic tools and a collaborator in the development of new genetic research. He served leadership roles in the National Holstein Association, community organizations and his church.

2010 - William Ramsey Family

The Ramsey Family has been operating Paradise Valley farms for several generations at Louisville, Ohio. This Holstein herd has consistently provided top quality genetics for the breeding industry. They have bred 27 sires, who have graduated into active sale status at every major breeding company. The two most well known sires are the 1.5 million unit seller, Paradise-R Cleitus Mathie and the longevity expert Paradise-R Roebuck. The herd has also recorded 5 cows over 300,000 pounds of lifetime milk production and well over 50 plus Dams of Merit and 30 plus Gold Medal Dams. The dairy has also been a leader in using new scientific techniques to better the herd.

2009 - Duane Conant

The NDS Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder is Duane Conant from Canton Maine. The Conant Acres prefix is known throughout the world for quality Holstein cattle and friendly hospitality. Duane has also served on several Maine and national boards and committees. He has shown great leadership abilities and the foresight to try innovative breeding ideas.

2008 - Marc Comtois

The Comestar herd of Marc and France Comtois has become internationally renowned for their breeding accomplishments. From its beginning in September 1977 until today no single herd has had a bigger global impact. The famous Laurie Shiek is the head of this remarkable family. Laurie Sheik can be found in the pedigree of over 40% of the animals currently registered in the Canadian herdbook. This family has also produced 4 sires that have sold over 1 million units of semen, which is currently 15% of the world total. The global favorites include Lee, Leader, Outside and Lheros, with another family member Stormatic closing in on that total. Comestar has also had success in the showring with 51 All Canadian nominations and winning the Premier Breeder Banner at the Royal Winter Fair, the Quebec Spring Show and the Quebec International Holstein Show. Marc is in demand as a judge for dairy shows around the world.

2007 - Bob Miller

Not once, but twice - Holstein World readers voted Glenridge Citation Roxy as "Queen of the Holstein Breed." Additionally, Holstein International subscribers selected her as "International Cow of the Century." The man who nurtured the genetics behind this famous cow is Bob Miller of Mil-R-Mor. Beyond "Roxy," Miller's Roxette, Raider, Lee Debutante Rae and Rubens populate his list of legends to the breed. As a young Canadian, he finished first individually at the national and provincial dairy judging contests in Quebec. He moved to the United States in 1955 and began his dairy career as a herdsman.

2006 - Regan Family

Breeders of great Holstein sires, Regans have sent 350 bulls to A.I. sampling programs with 166 being plus proven for milk, with 26 being actively marketed by A.I. companies. Most well know sire is Regancrest Elton Durham. Regans have bred 354 cows with the Regancrest prefix that have produced over 100,000 pounds of milk lifetime with an additional 11 cows having made over 200,000 pounds lifetime, and have bred 121 Excellents.

2005 - Dr. J.J. Malnati

Bush River Jerseys is a 100 percent registered Jersey herd that has been on test and has participated in official type appraisal programs for 62 years. The herd ranks in the top 25 percent for U.S. Jersey herds for Herd Average Jersey Performance Index. In February 2005, Malnati's herd had two plus-proven sires in active service, five sires that entered active A.I. service, three sires in waiting, and another eight in early sampling, not counting matings in contract. Bush River cattle have sold to herds throughout the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Dr. Malnati has dedicated much of his time to the dairy industry, including having served on many committees and boards.

2004 - Charles and Eugene Iager

Fourth generation to operation Maple-Lawn Farms, Inc., Fulton, Maryland. The diversified operation includes 400 registered Holsteins, a 20,000 fresh turkey retail operation, and 1000 tillable acres. This 93% homebred herd is home to many All-American and Junior All-American nominees, including the All-American Senior 2-Year-Old in 2003, among others. The Iagers have received Holstein's Progressive Breeder award 33 times, bred 22 Gold Medal Dams and have had nine sires enter active AI service. Known for their leadership, work ethic, and generosity and support of the dairy industry, especially youth programs.

2003 - Bill, Barbara, and David Mason

In 2002, the Mason's 250-cow registered Jersey herd averaged 16,975 pounds of milk, 749 pounds of fat and 625 pounds of protein. Masons have bred 42 A.I.-proven bulls including the bull Mason Boomer Sooner Berretta that has a record 25,362 registered daughters in 2,654 herds. Berretta was the top-ranked Jersey sire for Production Type Index from 1993 to 1998.

2002 - Walter and Sally Goodrich

Molly Brook Farms, West Danville, VT. Well-known Jersey breeders with more than 25 bulls having entered active A.I. Their most prominent cow family is Molly Brook Fascinator Flower, regarded by many as one of the most influential cows of the breed. There are at least 38 bulls from this cow family that have gone into A.I. Sally is also an absolute pro at raising healthy, growthy calves. They have not lost a calf in two years.

2001 - Douglas Maddox

RuAnn Dairy and Maddox Dairy, Riverdale, California. Visionary Holstein breeder. Bred more than 330 Gold Medal Dams or Dams of Merit, 502 Excellent cows, more than 12 All-American nominations, and 30 sires that have entered active A.I. service. Co-founder of Golden Genes, Inc., an independent California corporation for dairy sire progeny testing and dairy cattle sales.

2000 - Marlin K. Hoff

Coldsprings Farm, New Windsor, Maryland. Past three years (herd of 700 Holsteins) has averaged nearly 24,000 lbs. milk, 900 lbs. of fat and 770 lbs. of protein. In last 5 years, 100 cows classified Excellent and more than 450 Very Good. Have had 81 sires in A.I. including 6 Gold Medal Sires.

1999 - Robert Stiles Family

Waverly Jersey Farm, Clearbrook, Virginia. Fourteen times Premier Breeder and six times Premier Exhibitor at National Jersey Show. Five National Grand Champion females; Three Junior champions. Herd includes 99 Excellent cows. 1998 production herd average 16,252 lbs. milk and 788 lbs. fat on 269 cows.

1998 - Wayne E. Sliker

Top Acres Brown Swiss Farm, St. Paris, Ohio. Has had 84 All Americans and 78 Reserve All Americans. Also 10 National Total Performance winners. Total of 58 sires have been in A.I. Sold 95 head in 1998 Production Sale for $6,110 average.

1997 - Elmo Jr.,Carolyn & Niles Wendorf

Crescentmead Farm, Ixonia, Wisconsin. Bred or developed 42 All American or Junior All American Holstein nominees, five of which were winners. They have 215 Excellent cows and 10 Excellent bulls, 36 Gold Medal dams, 27 Dams of Merit and 4 Gold Medal Sires to their credit.

1996 - David Bachmann

Pinehurst Farm, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Very successful dairyman, showman, breeder and sales person. Premier Breeder 21 times at National Shows and Premier Exhibitor 15 times. Bred over 100 cows with over 100,000 lbs. lifetime milk production, and four with over 300,000 lbs. Klussendorf Award Winner-1995.

1995 - John & Allaire Palmer and Robert & Laura Pike

Highland Farms, Cornish, Maine. Established in 1886, Highland is the oldest registered Jersey herd in the United States. It involves six generations of the two families. On official DHIR test over 70 years and classified every year since 1968. Over 220 milking cows. Over 30 Highland-bred bulls were on the 1995 USDA proven sire list. In 1953, installed the first milking parlor in Maine.

1994 - Hubert Johnson

Rockalli Farm, Mount Vernon, Washington. An outstanding breeder of top producing registered Holsteins that also had excellent type. Bred over 75 cows with Gold Medal or Dam of Merit designations. Numerous Rockalli-bred bulls have been in active AI service. In 1974, a bull calf born on the farm was the first registered Holstein resulting from an embryo transplant.

1993 - John Stuart Rowe

Davis, California. He and his family own and operate Innisfail, one of the nation's most successful Milking Shorthorn herds, with 225 head averaging over 15,000 lbs. milk and classification score of 84.3. He served as an official classifier for the breed, served two, separate six-year terms on the Board of Directors and three years as President. Judged numerous major shows.

1992 - Walter and Dan Ranney

Corona, California. This father-son team developed Excelsior Farms into a business that includes nearly 1500 dairy cattle, an AI business and their own sire sampling program. Milking herd of 670 Holsteins averaged over 22,000 lbs. milk. Herd has been on official test for over 50 years and has been classified nearly as long.

1991 - Howard Voegeli

Monticello, Wisconsin. Bred one of the nation's finest Brown Swiss herds. Started by his grandfather in 1895, the herd numbered over 200 head. Exported embryos to most European nations plus many other countries. A subsidiary merchandising business offered complete export service.

1990 - Myron "Mike" Lancaster

Lynden, Washington. Developed his Olympic View herd into one of the best Guernsey herds in the nation. Served on the American Guernsey Association Board for nine years and as President in 1988-89. Won 1983 Klussendorf Trophy. Was a well-respected judge. Herd was on official test and type appraisal for more than 25 years.

1989 - F. Roy Ormiston

Brooklin, Ontario. Owner of Roybrook Farms, one of the most highly regarded Holstein herds in the world. Ormiston developed the herd with deep linebreeding and equal emphasis on type and production. Roybrook bloodlines had worldwide impact through sales of bulls, females and semen.

1988 - Hope Scott

Villanova, Pennsylvania. Owner and manager of Ardrossan Farms, long recognized as one of the top-producing Ayrshire herds in the nation. During the past 78 years, this herd has bred 124 cows with more than 100,000 lbs. of lifetime milk production and 21 Ardrossan-bred bulls have entered AI service.

1987 - John Bishop VI

Columbus, New Jersey. Supplied genetically-superior Ogston-bred stock and successful breeding philosophies to the Jersey breed. His famous Ogston herd ranked second for national milk production in 1984, for 100-199 cow herds. Of the 15 high PTI bulls in Jersey history, four have Ogston dams. The AJCC honored Bishop with the 1985 Master Breeder Award.

1986 - Dr. David Smokler

Lancaster, Texas. Was the primary force behind Holtex Farm, one of the most prominent Holstein breeding herds in the United States. Primarily homebred, over 100 females have lifetime production over 100,000 lbs., including two over 200,000 lbs. Many Hotex-bred bulls have been in AI service.

1985 - Nelson Gardner

Bridgewater, Virginia. Founder of Rocby Holsteins. Over 100 Rocby-bred bulls have entered AI service. Herd has been on official test over 30 years; classified since 1959. Served as Holstein Association director and held numerous dairy positions in Virginia. Received Holstein Assn. PBR award 13 times. Herd numbers over 400 head.

1984 - C. Scott Mayfield

Athens, Tennessee. Jersey breeder whose herd of over 400 Jerseys has been on official test for 49 years and has been classified for 33 years. Bred Milestones Generator, the bull most consider "turned the breed around." Bred over 30 plus-proven bulls. Bred over 40 cows producing 100,000 lbs. milk and/or 4,000 lbs. fat. Active in numerous breed promotional activities.

1983 - Edward A. Reed

Lyons, Kansas. Born and raised and lived on Thonyma Farm his entire life. Herd was on official production test since 1928, and has been classified for 45 years. Over 100 Thonyma-bred bulls were sold to AI. Bred over 20 Gold Medal Dams and Gold Medal Sires along with over 50 females and 20 males classified "Excellent." Bred the only seven generation group of "Excellent" females all carrying the same prefix.

1982 - Elroy Borgwardt

Valders, Wisconsin. Owner and operator of Sunnyside Dairy Farm. Bred an outstanding herd for both production and type. Nearly 100 bulls sold to AI. Herd has been on official test and classified every year since 1951. Borgwardt's goal is to breed cows that have a balance between production and type and that will live very long, trouble-free, productive lives.

1981 - Mrs. A. G. Rankin and Sons

Faunsdale, Alabama. Developed one of the Jersey breed's top "seedstock" herds on their 3,000-acre Cedarcrest Farm. Bred numerous outstanding show cows that also made Jersey Hall of Fame production records. Herd numbers over 1,300 head, 98% of which are homebred. Herd has been classified for 36 years. The Rankins received the AJCC Master Breeder Award in 1980.

1980 - Robert F. Thomson, Jr.

Springfield, Mossouri. Active at Robthom Holstein Farm all his life and developed it into one of America's great breeding herds. More than 50 "Robthom" sires have been proven, including 42 "plus" and 30 in AI. The herd has been on test for 30 years, classified 40 years and developed 41 Gold Medal animals.

1979 - Max and Kip Herzog

Father-son owners and operators of Sleepy Hollow Dairy, Petaluma, California. Their Holsteins have been on official herd test since 1928 and on the classification program since 1944. Their herd consistently made the top five Honor List herds in the nation.

1978 - Colonel and Mrs. H. George Wilde

The first husband and wife team as well as the first Jersey breeders to win this award. Their High Lawn herd at Lenox, Massachusetts, is predominently home bred. Over 100 High Lawn bulls are plus-proven for production. The Wildes pioneered such dairy practices as zero-grazing, mow-cured hay and year-round silage feeding.

1977 - Wallace N. Lindskoog

Developed his Arlinda Holsteins, Turlock, California, into an outstanding production herd and the source of some of the finest genetic seed stock for the Holstein breed. The Sire Summary for 1977 listed 59 Holstein sires with the Arlinda prefix. Not included in this count was one of the great AI sires of all time, bought in dam by Lindskoog, Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief.

1976 - Al, Nick, and Henry La Franchi

Developed Oak Ridge Ayrshires, Calistoga, California, one of the top herds of any breed. Their herd had a record of consistent improvement through the last 25 years which they credit to careful records and official test. More grand champions and All-Americans have come from Oak Ridge than any other Ayrshire farm.

1975 - Donald S. Collins

Put together his Collins-Crest Holstein herd, Malone, New York, a few at a time, beginning in 1942 with four registered and 11 grade heifers on a rented farm. Collins-Crest has since produced 16 All-American and Junior All-American nominations. Of these was Collins-Crest Ivanhoe Triune J(EX-96), a 1,020-pound fat producer and the highest scored daughter of Osborndale Ivanhoe.

1974 - Lee Housley

Started Ridgeway Farm, Riceville, Tennessee, in 1945. Some of his better known animals were Housleys J Champion, used in AI, and Fox Run A.F.C. Faye (EX-95.5), champion milk and fat producer of the Guernsey breed. He was president of the Tennessee Guernsey Breeders Association and served on many committees for both the Tennessee and the American Guernsey Breeders.

1973 - W.R. (Dick) Brooks

Developed one of the most widely recognized herds in Holstein history at Paclamar Farms in Louisville, Colorado. The herd produced many outstanding AI sires prepotent for excellent type and high production. He developed two, Excellent-97, All-American, Gold Medal Dams--Harborcrest Rose Milly and Snowboots Wis Milky Way.