The 2018 A.C. “Whitie” Thomson Memorial Award was awarded to Mike Holschbach of Heatherstone Enterprises in Baraboo, Wis., at the 2018 World Dairy Expo. The award honors a herdsman or showman who exhibits exemplary leadership and sportsmanship throughout the show.
Holschbach has spent his life involved in the Holstein industry. Growing up on an internationally recognized farm, where his father was the herd manager, Holschbach had the opportunity to work with some of the finest Holsteins in the breed.
As a youth, he won national dairy judging titles in 4-H, FFA and Intercollegiate contests. In 1981, he became an accredited judge and since then, has judged shows across the United States as well as Europe, Mexico and Brazil. Holschbach has served as his county’s dairy judging coach for more than 15 years and was honored to have two state championship teams.
Holschbach worked his way through school by fitting cattle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science. In 1977, he was recognized as Wisconsin’s Outstanding Holstein Youth and runner-up for the National Dairy Shrine Student Recognition Award. Upon graduation from UW-Madison, he became an associate with Alvin R Piper at International Holstein Sales and Services in Lake Mills, Wis.
With a desire to breed and develop their own high quality Holsteins, he and his wife returned to and eventually purchased her family’s dairy farm operation, Heatherstone Enterprises in Baraboo, Wis. Heatherstone hosted the first annual Sauk County June Dairy Month Breakfast, two PDCA judging conferences, the Wisconsin Holstein Centennial Picnic and the National Holstein Convention Sale as well as many annual tours. In 1997, they were honored with the Wisconsin Distinguished Youth Holstein Breeder Award.
Holschbach served on the Board of Directors at World Dairy Expo for nearly 20 years, served as President of the Board of Directors from 2008 to 2015 and has attended World Dairy Expo all 52 years.