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World Dairy Expo 2019: Committed dairyman: Steve Maddox

Progressive Dairy Editorial Intern Courtney Moser Published on 25 September 2019
The Steve Maddox Family

Committed: feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, activity or job; wholeheartedly dedicated. (Oxford Dictionary).

World Dairy Expo’s 2019 Dairyman of the Year embodies this definition of what it means to be truly committed.

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It is evident Steve Maddox of RuAnn and Maddox Dairies is committed to all facets of the dairy industry – his family’s dairy operation, the larger dairy industry, genetic progress, family connections and World Dairy Expo.

Committed to dairying

Nestled in the heart of San Joaquin Valley, California, RuAnn Dairy was started in 1957 by Steve’s father, Doug Maddox. Steve’s upbringing and interest in dairying has turned into a lifelong commitment. His responsibilities expanded in 1980 when the Maddox family purchased a farm in Burrel, California, just 10 miles away from RuAnn Dairy in Riverdale, California. Here, they built Maddox Dairy, and although it began as a grade, commercial herd, Steve’s dedication to genetic advancement through embryo transfer transitioned the herd to 100% registered Holsteins.

The RuAnn Genetics show crew proudly displays top honors at the 2019 California State Holstein Show

Currently, Steve manages Maddox Dairy where 3,200 cows are milked. Meanwhile at RuAnn Dairy, Steve’s brother Patrick Maddox cares for 1,100 milking cows. While under two farm names, the brothers are close business partners in the purebred cattle aspect of their dairy operations.

Committed to the dairy industry

Steve’s commitment to dairying extends beyond his own dairy operation and into other sectors of the dairy industry. He was a member of the initial board of directors for California Dairies, Inc., to which both RuAnn and Maddox Dairies continue to ship milk, and he served as board secretary for 10 years.

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He also assisted in establishing DairyAmerica Inc., a producer-owned dairy cooperative in the U.S., formed to supply quality dairy ingredients both nationally and internationally. During his time with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) was created. Today, Steve is a committee member of the FARM Animal Care Technical Writing Group. In addition, he plays integral parts in the Dairy Sustainability Alliance, National Dairy Council and Dairy Management Inc. “I was raised to give back to the industry and represent it the way my father did,” Steve says.

Steve Maddox serves on the National Dairy Council, which created the Undeniably Dairy campaign

Committed to advancing genetics

Since the formation of Maddox Dairy, the farm’s goal has been to improve overall breed genetics. They have performed extensive embryo transfer work, and approximately half of the current milking herd pregnancies are embryos. Along the way, RuAnn and Maddox Dairies started progeny testing young bulls, which led to exporting cattle across the globe. “We’ve exported about 40,000 head of cattle to 35 different countries over the years,” Steve says. Over the past five years, they have continued to export their dairy cattle genetics through semen and embryos to places including South America, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Saudi Arabia.

Committed to family

As a role model in his family, Steve shares his love of the dairy industry with his children and grandchildren. “One of the things I appreciate about the industry is being able to work with family members,” Steve says. “Raising your kids and grandkids and being part of their lives every day while sharing your passion for the industry and cattle is certainly rewarding.”

On RuAnn and Maddox Dairies Facebook page, a video post from July exemplifies their family’s commitment to each other and the industry they love. Steve begins the video by asking, “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” Family members and employees of all ages then share some of their personal favorites as they celebrate national ice cream month. It is evident that family focus plays an important role in the continued success of the Maddox family and their dairies.

Committed to World Dairy Expo

The 53rd World Dairy Expo will again see cattle from RuAnn and Maddox Dairies. Steve anticipates 18 of their owned or boarded animals will make the 2,109-mile trek to Madison, Wisconsin. His commitment to exhibiting animals at World Dairy Expo stems from his belief that it is important to compare cattle and the results of breeding decisions. “Every animal that’s entering the ring has likely won somewhere, so you’re looking at the cream of North America,” Steve says.

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While showing is an important aspect of World Dairy Expo, Steve is also involved in the trade show. As a 12-year member and current vice chair of the national board for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), Steve often assists in their trade show booth as well.

Steve admits his favorite World Dairy Expo memory could be a showring highlight, but it’s actually the friendships he has formed along the way. “I don’t care where you’re from; if you’ve gone to Expo, you feel like you’ve come home. It’s just such a friendly dairy atmosphere,” Steve says. “It’s a place to compare notes, do a little business and build new friendships.”

His passion and dedication for the overall dairy industry likely contributed to his peers nominating him for World Dairy Expo recognition. This committed dairyman is well-deserving of the 2019 Dairyman of the Year award. “I don’t do all of this for honors,” Steve says. “It’s nice to be recognized and have people appreciate the time and effort you put into the industry. I’m very humbled by it. I love cows, I love the people who love cows, and I think that’s a good start of any friendship.”   end mark

PHOTO 1: Steve and his wife, Brenda (both seated), are pleased to have raised their children and grandchildren within the dairy industry. Photo courtesy of RuAnn Dairy.

PHOTO 2: The RuAnn Genetics show crew proudly displays top honors at the 2019 California State Holstein ShowPhoto by Cowsmopolitan, courtesy of RuAnn Dairy.

PHOTO 3: Steve Maddox serves on the National Dairy Council, which created the Undeniably Dairy campaign. Photo courtesy of RuAnn Dairy.

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