Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

I belong to... Hoof Trimmers Association: Mark Burwell

PD Staff Published on 10 October 2013


Age: 50



Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia

History of your hoof trimming business, in a nutshell: After going to hoof trimming school at Dairyland Hoof Care in Wisconsin, I started my business in May 2000 while living in West Virginia. ... Now almost all my work is in the Shenandoah Valley.

I trim around 15,000 cows per year on an Appleton Steel Ultra Chute purchased in March.

“If I wasn’t a hoof trimmer, I would be …” self-employed in some way. I really enjoy working for myself. I like having some control over my own destiny.

How long have you been a member of the HTA? Since 2000.


Why did you join HTA? To be on the cutting edge of information that’s available through the organization.

A little known fact about the HTA is … we have a list serve that is basically a chatroom. Members can ask questions or make comments that others respond to from around the world. If you have a problem, you’ll receive several answers from fellow trimmers to college professors.

My favorite representative or employee of HTA is … we have only one employee, Gail Oss. She is still my favorite. She brings new ideas to our members on a regular basis that strengthens our group, whether it’s about a more effective way to communicate or an idea that saves us money.

What the HTA does best is … gives our members an opportunity to learn from each other and see other parts of North America. We have our convention every 18 months at different locations. … At our conventions we have some of the most recent research information presented from around the world.

I feel valued as a member when … I have the opportunity to pay it forward. I have had so many helping hands in my life that I feel a calling to give back. The Hoof Trimmers Association has given me an opportunity to do just that.

An influential or interesting person I’ve met through the organization is … I have met several people from around the world. I can’t say that there is any one person that sticks out for me.


They are influential or interesting because ... they create their own destiny, not asking anyone for a handout and are grateful for their opportunities.

The dairy industry’s greatest opportunity is … nothing fancy, just plain good cow care. The saying is that the devil is in the details, and that is true in the dairy business. Everything from feed value to making sure her stall is the best you can make it is so important. ... Hoof care is tied to all aspects of the cow’s health and is a big piece of the puzzle.

I hope my hoof care legacy is … over the top honesty and integrity; that I always did my best, always did what was beneficial for the cow; that I brought something other than hoof care to my clients ... that I was always willing to help anyone in need; that I was always willing to pass on new ideas to other trimmers, and that I had an open mind and was willing to examine myself and my actions.

My advice to all dairymen/dairywomen is … select a hoof trimmer that is willing to continually learn. Today we have some great trimming schools available from Wisconsin to Idaho that give a super opportunity to learn the mechanics of the hoof all the way to the art of trimming. ... Do what is right for your cows and they will take care of you. PD

Hoof Trimmers Association
PO Box 8575
Missoula, Montana 59807
(406) 543-1823

Year founded: 1990

Members: In 38 states, 9 provinces and 15 countries

Providing hoof trimmers educational opportunities to improve hoof health by networking industry professionals.

HTA is a professional association founded to network hoof trimmers around the country, North America, and other countries as well as to advance the profession and foster the professional development of individual hoof trimmers.