‘Dairy’ Good Time: National Holstein Convention held in Kentucky

This year’s National Holstein Convention recently concluded and closed out the association’s 137th meeting—this year from Lexington, Kentucky.

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Members of the world’s largest dairy-cattle breed organization met late last month in Lexington, Kentucky for the National Holstein Convention. Bob Cervera has the story.

“Farmers work really hard—they don’t always get off the farm, so conventions can be a great time to reconnect with old friends and just meet new people with common interests,” said Holstein Association USA’s COO Lindsey Worden, explaining just one of the reasons for the event.

A first-time convention attendee, Ty Etgen runs a 100-head operation in Ohio. He says convention allowed him a breather that he appreciated.

“I know it takes a lot of people to put this on, but, yeah, it’s been great down here,” Etgen said. “We’ve been treated great. We went out driving yesterday—just the scenery! It’s totally different than what I’m used to at home.”

Etgen was also one of the many award winners recognized during the convention. He was named the Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder.

And while the convention is fun for all, it is an important time to conduct business for the Holstein breed, as well. For instance, Holstein Association USA’s board of directors is elected during the annual membership meeting.

“That’s what really makes our association strong —is by electing a great board of directors, giving our delegates a really good selection of members to choose from, and just a great, great set of people running for the election this year,” said Holstein Association USA President Jonathan Lamb, who also knows very well that the future of dairy depends on interest from the younger generation.

“One of the most proud moments I have in the Association is watching our junior programs and how well that they do,” Lamb said.

One example is Junior Member Madeline Hensel, whose participation in the Junior Holstein Convention contests helped her develop lifelong skills and a passion for the dairy industry.

“For me, my niche really was public speaking and the opportunities for learning,” Hensel said. “Quiz bowl, Jeopardy, and going to different workshops and meeting new people was truly where I found my place in the industry.”

“I’m really proud to work with all the different dairymen that come from all the different walks of life who prove that there’s a lot of different ways to dairy here in the United States,” Lamb said. “That diversity is one of our greatest strengths.”

This year’s convention is easy to sum up.

“We’ve enjoyed some beautiful weather—lots of activities for young and old,” Worden said. “We’ve had some competitions, meetings, business, and things like that. So, just overall, a really nice time.”

Next year’s National Holstein Convention will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit holsteinusa.com to learn more.

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