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National Dairy Shrine to honor 2015 award winners at WDE

Published on 30 September 2015

National Dairy Shrine (NDS) is pleased to announce the winners of the Guest of Honor, Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder, Pioneer, Progressive Dairy Manager and Graduate Dairy Production awards for this year.

These awards were designed to honor past, present and future dairy industry leaders that have contributed to strengthening and energizing the dairy industry.



  • Doug Wilson is the Guest of Honor, the highest recognition from the National Dairy Shrine. This award goes to an individual that has had a dramatic impact on the dairy industry and its future.

    Wilson, the CEO of Cooperative Resources International, has had a pre-eminent role in the dairy industry, not only for his company but for many allied industry organizations. During his more than 20-year association with CRI and its affiliates, the company has grown and prospered to 1,600 full-time employees.

    Wilson has served the industry in many roles and shared his communication and writing skills with numerous dairy groups. He has served in leadership roles at the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives and the National Association of Animal Breeders.

    Wilson has previously received recognition from World Dairy Expo, the American Guernsey Association, NAAB Service Award, the Cooperative Builder Award and the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Iowa State Dairy Science Department.

  • The NDS Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder is Ahlem Farms from Hilmar, California. The Ahlem Farm partnership operates three Jersey herds with more than 5,000 cows. The combined herds average 20,700 for milk, 973 fat and 768 protein.

    The American Jersey Association has ranked several of the females on the farm in the top 50 of the breed for Jersey Performance Index (JPI) and numerous cows and heifers in the top 200 JPI. The entire herd ranks in the top 25 percent nationally for JPI average.

    The Ahlems have sent numerous bulls to A.I. studs and have developed more than 2,800 cows with more than 100,000 pounds of lifetime milk production. William Ahlem served as a director of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and Dairy Management Inc.

    He is also one of the founding partners of the Hilmar Cheese Company and has been previously recognized with the Master Breeder Award from the American Jersey Cattle Association.

Through an anonymous selection committee, James Borcherding, Lowell Lindsay, Robert Rowe and David Schingoethe have been selected as National Dairy Shrine Pioneers. This year’s honorees will enter the National Dairy Hall of Fame.

  • James Borcherding, Decorah, Iowa, was a well-respected dairy journalist who served as the dairy editor for Successful Farming Magazine for 35 years.

    He was very active in numerous organizations like the American Dairy Science Association, Agricultural Editors Association and Farm House Fraternity. He served as a mentor for students, dairymen and dairy leaders. Borcherding’s counsel and wisdom were also sought by many individuals from other industries and disciplines.

  • Lowell Lindsay, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, served as a dairy sire analyst and director of sire procurement for United Breeders, which later became a part of the Semex Alliance.

    He was responsible for acquiring some of the most legendary sires in the industry. For more than 50 years, Lindsay was also one of the most respected cattle judges in the world, judging every major dairy show in North America and internationally.

  • Dr. Robert Rowe, Verona, Wisconsin, is a true pioneer in reproductive technology. His pioneering work on embryo technology directly led to today’s extensive and vibrant dairy genetics export industry. Today, the movement of embryos internationally has allowed the expansion of top genetics globally.

    Rowe has served various organizations like the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Optimist International, World Dairy Expo and the American Embryo Transfer Association.

  • Dr. David Schingoethe, Brookings, South Dakota, has been an outstanding professor at South Dakota State University for over 30 years. His research in dairy nutrition has been very beneficial to every dairyman.

    The students he mentored have gone on to leadership roles throughout the dairy industry. Schingoethe also had leadership roles in the American Dairy Science Association, the Federation of Animal Science Societies and dozens of South Dakota University and industry organizations.

The NDS Progressive Dairy Managers selected for this year are Iris Barham, Mt. Berry, Georgia (small-herd division) and Johan Heijkoop, Webster, Florida (large-herd division). This award is a $2,000 travel stipend to attend an out-of-state conference or seminar to learn new techniques to improve their dairy business.

  • Iris Barham is the manager of the dairy herd at Berry College. The Berry College Jersey herd has been in existence for more than 100 years and has been a leader in working on genomic testing.

    Barham supervises a student work crew that learns on the job and also supports their college education. Barham has found the time to work with the Georgia Dairy Youth Foundation, Dairy Farmers of America, Georgia Milk Producers, Southeastern United Dairy Industry Association and the Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Program.

  • Johan Heijkoop operates two dairies with 1,400 cows. The Milk-A-Way Dairy and K&H Dairy are semi-seasonal, modified grazing operations. The herds are 100 percent A.I.-bred, and he stresses efficient production, reproduction and low cull rates.

    Their health protocols are outstanding, and he is able to have extremely low herd somatic cell counts, even in the heat and humidity of Florida. Heijkoop has been active in Southeast Milk Inc., the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Marketing Inc. and the Florida Dairy Youth Advisory Board.

  • Heather Gregoire of Warren, Massachusetts, has been selected as the Graduate Dairy Production award winner.

    This $2,500 grant sponsored by Elanco goes to an active dairy producer who has graduated from college in the last nine years and has already demonstrated excellent dairy management ability and financial stability. Gregoire was involved in numerous dairy activities while getting her degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech.

    She accomplished several internships including Savage Leigh Holsteins, Riggs & Stiles Dairy, the Virginia Forage Testing Laboratory and the Virginia Tech Dairy. She traveled as much as possible to learn more about the dairy industry.

    Trips to North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Louisiana, California and World Dairy Expo all helped to reach her goals of being a top-level dairy manager. Immediately after college, she became a dairy manager for Green Acres Dairy in Delaware. She is now operating a dairy with her husband in Warren, Massachusetts.

The annual National Dairy Shrine Awards Banquet will be held on Oct. 1 in Madison, Wisconsin.  PD

Press release from National Dairy Shrine