National Dairy Shrine Announces 2015 Award Winners

May 14, 2015 09:36 AM
National Dairy Shrine Announces 2015 Award Winners

Source: National Dairy Shrine

National Dairy Shrine (NDS) is pleased to announce the winners of the Guest of Honor, Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder, Pioneer, Progressive Dairy Manager and Graduate Dairy Production awards for this year. These awards were designed to honor past, present and future dairy industry leaders that have contributed to strengthening and energizing the dairy industry.

Doug Wilson is the Guest of Honor, the highest recognition from the National Dairy Shrine. This award goes to an individual that has had a dramatic impact on the dairy industry and its future. Doug Wilson, the CEO of Cooperative Resources International, has had a preeminent role in dairy industry not only for his company but for many allied industry organizations. During his over 20 year association with CRI and its’ affiliates the company has grown and prospered now with 1600 full time employees.

Doug has served the industry in many roles and shared his communication and writing skills with numerous dairy groups. Mr. Wilson has served leadership roles at the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives and the National Association of Animal Breeders. Doug Wilson has previously received recognition from World Dairy Expo, the American Guernsey Association, NAAB service Award, the Cooperative Builder Award and the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Iowa State Dairy Science Department. Doug Wilson has truly helped to shape the future of the dairy industry with his leadership and vision.  

The NDS Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder is Ahlem Farms from Hilmar, California. The Ahlem Farm partnership operates three Jersey herd with over 5000 cows. The combined herds average ME is 20,700 for milk, 973 fat and 768 protein. 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 Ahlems 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.  

Through an anonymous selection committee, James Borcherding, Lowell Lindsay, Robert Rowe and David Schingoethe have been selected as National Dairy Shrine Pioneers. This year’s honorees will enter the National Dairy Hall of Fame and are an exemplary display of what this award is about.

James Borcherding, Decorah, Iowa was a well respected dairy journalist who served as the dairy editor for Successful Farming Magazine for 35 years. He was very active in numerous organizations like the American Dairy Science association, Agricultural Editors Association and farm House Fraternity. Jim served as a mentor for students, dairymen and dairy leaders. Mr. Borcherding’s council and wisdom were also sought by many individuals from other industries and disciplines.

Lowell Lindsay Guelph, Ontario, Canada served as a dairy sire analyst and director of sire procurement for United Breeders, which later became a part of the Semex Alliance.  He was responsible for acquiring some of the most legendary sires in the industry. For over 50 years Lowell was also one of the most respected cattle judges in the World judging every major dairy show in North America and Internationally.

Dr. Robert Rowe, Verona, Wisconsin is a true pioneer in reproductive technology. His pioneering work on embryo technology directly led to today’s extensive and vibrant dairy genetics export industry. Today the movement of embryos internationally has allowed the expansion of top genetics globally. Bob has served various organizations like the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Optimist International, World Dairy Expo and the American Embryo Transfer Association.

Dr. David Schingoethe, Brookings, South Dakota has been an outstanding professor at South Dakota State University for over 30 years. His research in dairy nutrition has been very beneficial to every dairyman. The students he mentored have gone on to leadership roles throughout the dairy industry. Dr Schingoethe also had leadership roles in the American Dairy Science Association, the Federation of Animal Science Societies and dozens of South Dakota University and industry organizations.

The NDS Progressive Dairy Managers selected for this year are Iris Barham, Mt Berry, Georgia in the small herd division and Johan Heijkoop Webster, Florida in the large herd division. This award is a $2000 travel stipend to attend an out of state conference or seminar to learn new techniques to improve their dairy business.


Iris Barham is the manager of the dairy herd at Berry College. The Berry College Jersey herd has been in existence for over 100 years and has been a leader in working on genomic testing. Iris supervises a student work crew that learns on the job and also supports their college education. Ms. Barham has also found the time to work with the Georgia Dairy Youth Foundation, Dairy Farmers of America, Georgia Milk Producers, Southeastern United Dairy Industry Association and the Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Program.  

Johan Heijkoop operates two dairies with 1400 cows. The Milk-A-Way Dairy and K&H Dairy are semi-seasonal, modified grazing operations. The herds are 100% bred A.I. and stress efficient production, reproduction and low cull rates. Their health protocols are outstanding and Johan is able to have extremely low herd somatic cell counts even in the heat and humidity of Florida. Mr. Heijkoop has active in Southeast Milk Inc, the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Marketing Inc and the Florida Dairy Youth Advisory Board. 

Heather Gregoire of Warren, Massachusetts has been selected as the Graduate Dairy Production award winner. This $2500 grant sponsored by Elanco goes to an active dairyman who has graduated from college in the last nine years and has already demonstrated excellent dairy management ability and financial stability. Heather was involved in numerous dairy activities while getting her degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech. She accomplished several internships including Savage Leigh Holsteins, Riggs & Stiles Dairy, the VA Forage Testing Laboratory and the Virginia Tech Dairy. Heather traveled as much as possible to learn more about the dairy Industry. Trips to North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Louisiana, California, and World Dairy Expo all helped to reach her goals of being a top level dairy manager. Immediately after college Heather became a dairy manager for Green Acres Dairy in Delaware. She is now operating a dairy with her husband in Warren, Massachusetts. Ms Gregoire has also found the time to work with youth dairy groups and loves to give back to the industry.

The annual National Dairy Shrine Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday October 1 in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about the banquet or about students, producers or industry representatives being recognized by National Dairy Shrine, please contact Dr. David Selner, Executive Director, at Information on the National Dairy Shrine mission or membership is also available online at Dairy enthusiasts are encouraged to become a part of the most important national organization honoring dairy leaders, saving our dairy heritage, and inspiring future dairy leaders.


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