John Hess of JoBo Holstein Farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, had many reasons for getting involved in the All-American Dairy Foundation’s Cull for the Kids Campaign, but his grandchildren easily topped the list.  

Donations from the campaign will support the Premier National Junior Events, including the shows, judging contests, dairy management contest and showmanship contest, among other dairy leadership and learning opportunities.

In an industry that is seeing fewer farms transition to the next generation, Hess was able to bring four of his children into the JoBo operation. Together, they expanded the herd from 40 cows to more than 1,000 cows. Today, son-in-law Dale Brown, daughter Josie Riser, son John R. Hess and daughter Joy Widerman do the majority of herd management.

When Riser saw the information about the campaign, she knew it was something the family should do immediately, before “the letter got lost,” she joked.

“Our family has really enjoyed the All-American Dairy Show,” she said. “The kids love competing and doing showmanship, and we really enjoy connecting with other farm families.”

“There aren’t a lot of dairies left in our area,” Hess added. “That’s why it’s really important for existing farmers to support programs like the junior show.”

He is proud that his grandchildren make up 50% of the local county 4-H dairy club, but he wishes more youth had the same opportunity.

“Someone has to keep the dairy industry and farms going. The older generation isn’t going to be around forever,” he said. “And I think it’s time our generation quits taking a backseat and expecting others to financially support these youth programs.”

The Foundation couldn’t agree more. It recently launched its “Cull for the Kids” 100-Cow-Countdown to provide an opportunity for dairy farmers to “step up” and support the youth. To-date, AADF is 13 cows toward its 100-cow goal.

Each participant in the campaign will be provided a form to identify the cull cow and details for the trucker and sales barn about processing the check for the All-American Dairy Foundation. For convenience, a copy of this form can be found in this week’s Farmshine.

Executive Director Bob Heilman explains that the donation is tax deductible, and the donator will receive a receipt of the value of the animal sold at auction for tax-deduction purposes.

Follow the “Cull for the Kids” 100-Cow-Countdown Campaign on Facebook at and at

For participation questions and more information about the campaign or the AADF, contact Bob Heilman at 804.240.1539 or by email at