Dairy industry honors leaders

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Four individuals have been nominated and selected by their peers to receive the 2009 World Dairy Expo Recognition Awards.

“These four legendary leaders have been hitting home runs for the world-wide dairy industry,” says World Dairy Expo General Manager Mark Clarke. “They have created dairy records that will be hard for future producers to beat. We are proud to honor them for being the vision and support that keep this industry strong.”

The four recipients will be honored at a special “Dinner with the Stars” event on Sept. 30, as part of World Dairy Expo activities in Madison, Wis.

The four award winners are:

Industry person of the year: Maurice Core

Maurice Core has led not one, but two distinguished careers in the dairy industry.

For 37 years, he served the American Jersey Cattle Club in various capacities, retiring as the executive secretary and CEO in 1993. Even after his retirement, he was not ready to take up a hobby; instead, he spent 11 years as the executive director of the National Dairy Shrine. 

It’s obvious from talking to him that he takes a lot of pride in the youth scholarships that have been founded in his name. They include the Maurice E. Core Youth Fund at the Jersey Cattle Club and the Core Scholarship Fund at the Dairy Shrine. 

Among his goals at both the Jersey Cattle Club and the Dairy Shrine was to encourage and help young people, including scholarships and judging contests. “I always tried to make myself available to help,” he says.

His devotion to youth may be traced back to the help he received from others while he was a youth.

“I had the opportunity to grow up on a large livestock farm in southern Iowa,” he says. While in high school, he was recruited by members of the agriculture faculty at Iowa State University. While at Iowa State, was a member of the dairy judging team, which won national honors as the best collegiate dairy judging team in 1951. Because of the experiences he had at Iowa State, and the people he met there, he decided to spend his career in the dairy industry. His first job out of college was herdsman at a dairy farm in Cary, Ill., and then he went to work for the Jersey Association in 1956.

Dairyman of the year: David Hileman  

David Hileman is being honored for his leadership and innovation.

He has served on the boards of Atlantic Breeders, Federated, Genex, and CRI. He helped develop the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, and served on that state’s Dairy Task Force at the invitation of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture. He is currently working with Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Dairy Alliance Team to organize and facilitate dairy producer discussion groups.

He owns Hilecrest Farms in central Pennsylvania, a 700-acre operation with 450 milking cows and a rolling herd average of 26,500 pounds of milk.

“I have been very fortunate that I have been able to live my dream,” he says, adding that all he has ever wanted to do — since the time he was in 4-H — was be a dairy farmer.

Three management philosophies have contributed to the success of his farm over the years:

  • Recognizing those assets that have the most potential for profit, and then maximizing them. Certainly, those assets have included the cows and the milking parlor. “I always felt it made a whole lot of sense to run that parlor and harvest milk as many hours a day as possible.” He milks 3X and runs the parlor 22 to 23 hours a day.
  • “I tried to be an early adapter of new technology when it became available,” he says. “I would learn as much as I could about something new and then envision how I could use it to my advantage.” For instance, he was an early adapter of the Lifetime Net Merit selection method for sires.
  • Everyone is blessed with certain gifts, and Hileman believes that organizational skills are among his. He has always kept good production records and been pretty adept at keeping the people around him on a tight time schedule. 

He lists among his most satisfying achievements the “opportunity to visit and learn from so many wonderful people who are part of this dairy industry.” 

Dairywoman of the year: Daphne Holterman

In 1992, she and her husband, Lloyd, had 86 cows and operated out of a tie-stall barn. Today, the farm has 850 cows (roughly 750 in the milking herd) and houses them in free-stall barns.

That kind of growth doesn’t happen by accident. Daphne and Lloyd love working with cows; they blend in the skills of other people around them, and they aren’t afraid of taking some calculated risks. 

At the couple’s farm in Watertown, Wis., one of Daphne’s duties is the calf operation. It is perfect place for her to apply her attention to detail. She is very particular about keeping the calf barn clean, along with providing lots of clean bedding and fresh water.

Her attention to detail also comes in handy with the farm’s bookkeeping operation.

It’s been satisfying for Daphne and Lloyd over the years to see their now teenage daughters be active in the farm operation, as well as many of the young employees who have come to work there. In 1999, she and Lloyd brought Tim Strobel into the business partnership.

Daphne and Lloyd like being around people who can give them new ideas and fresh perspectives. Daphne has learned much serving on the board of the local hospital in Watertown. It also gives her a chance to speak up for the health needs of the rural community.

“I have been speaking up for agriculture in many different ways,” he says. That includes writing letters-to-the-editor, speaking to groups and hosting tours at the dairy.  “I never say ‘no’ to a tour,” she says, because she wants people to know where their food comes from and that farmers care a lot about the animals and the land.  

In early- to mid-August, the farm hosted the local Lions Club, inner-city children from Madison, Wis., and Chicago and two influential state legislators. 

Earlier in her career, Daphne spent 11 years at a public-relations firm, which helped her hone her communications skills and also bring some new perspectives back to the farm.

International Person of the Year: Jan Philipsson

Philipsson, head of the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, is being celebrated for his success in developing improvements in dairy cattle genetics worldwide.



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