Bill and Marion Barless, Janesville, Wis received the Distinguished Service Award given by the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) in ceremonies June 24, 2022, during the association’s 154th Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to individuals who have rendered outstanding and unselfish service for many years and thereby have made a notable contribution to the advancement of the Jersey Breed in the United States.
Bill and Marion Barlass have spent the past 35 years supporting and promoting the Jersey breed. In addition to breeding and owning a 525-herd, the couple have many involved with the Jersey industry both locally and nationally. Bill served as a director of the National All-Jersey (NAJ) board of directions for 14 years, the World Dairy Expo for 25 years, is a past vice-president and director of the Wisconsin Jersey Breeders Association, and has been on the Rock County Fair Board for 15 years. Marion served on the NAJ board of directors for 10 years, the Professional Dairy Producers board of directors, is a past president of the Wisconsin Jersey Breeders Association, as well as serving on the Producer Security and BST committees for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
To future the progress of the Jersey breed, the Barlasses have donated animals to support various causes including the Jersey Youth Academy, the AJCC Research Foundation, and the AJCA National Convention fund. Additionally, in the late 1990s, they were members of a group of Wisconsin breeders who donated animals to help reintroduce Jerseys to China.
They have hosted many visitors on their farm, both locally and internationally. Hundreds of 4-H and FFA members have toured the farm, as well as visitors from China, Kenya, Serbia, and several Latin America countries. Additionally, they have hosted agricultural exchange students from many different countries and employ local students through a work-to-school program.
The couple was named the AJCA Outstanding Young Jersey Breeder in 1984 and was awarded the A.C. Thomas Herdsman Award at the World Dairy Expo in 1994. Bill has won the WI Jersey Breeders Association Distinguished Service Award and the Senior Breeder Award. Marion was named the WI Farm Woman of the year in 1997 and the World Dairy Expo Dairy Woman of the Year in 2008.
The American Jersey Cattle Association was organized in 1868 to improve and promote the Jersey breed. Since 1957, National All-Jersey Inc. has served Jersey owners by promoting the increased production and sale of Jersey milk and milk products. For more information on its programs and services, visit USJersey or call 614/861-3636.