WI National Dairy Shrine Museum

At the National Dairy Shrine Museum in Wisconsin guests can take a step back in time on America’s dairy farms.

The National Dairy Shrine is an organization committed to preserving the history of the dairy industry — and ensuring its successful future. Executive Director Mike Opperman says the two go hand in hand.

“You can’t have a solid future unless you know where you’ve come from, and we certainly are able to do that,” said Opperman. “I think providing that foundation for growth is important.”

During the recent World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, the National Dairy Shrine hosted its annual awards banquet, where they recognized outstanding dairy leaders for their contributions to the industry.

Opperman again: “Through the recognition of the great dairy producers, the great industry folks that we have, I think that helps set us up for understanding what a positive future looks like and what advancements should be and hopefully we can be a part of that going forward.”

Among the award winners was John Meyer, Holstein Association USA CEO, who was the 2021 Guest of Honor.

“I had the pleasure of receiving the National Dairy Shrine’s Guest of Honor Award,” Meyer said. " So that was a special night and it was great to see so many of the other Holstein people being honored at the National Dairy Shrine Banquet.”

Bob and Kay Zwald of Bomaz Farms near Hammond, Wisconsin, were humbled to receive the Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder Award for 2021. It’s among the highest honors for dairy cattle breeders from around the country.

“My wife and I, Kay, are thrilled to receive this award,” gushed Zwald. “We feel it’s a really big honor. I remember coming to Dairy Expo 40 years ago as a young dairyman and a high school kid and thinking, wow, these guys are great. And so I don’t feel like I’m in that league, but it’s an honor to be there. And I feel glad to represent the industry as a cattle breeder. And I’m glad that we could supply some of the genetics to promote the breed to further improvement.”

The National Dairy Shrine also awarded about $45,000 in scholarships to college students with a passion for dairy.

Mike Opperman says he hopes “that when people see Dairy Shrine, they see that it’s a vibrant organization – that it’s an important part of the industry and that in supporting the industry that we’re encouraging future leaders. We’re honoring current leaders who have made their mark in the industry, and we’re also preserving the past so that we can build that foundation for future growth.”

Story courtesy of Holstein Association USA