Dairy Shrine Announces Pioneer Award Winners - Cowsmo

Dairy Shrine Announces Pioneer Award Winners

Four pioneers of the dairy industry will soon join the ranks of past Dairy Shrine award winners. The Pioneer award recognizes four industry leaders each year who have made significant contributions to dairy throughout their lives. The 2022 winners are Scott Armbrust, Jack Hardesty (posthumously), Tom Morris and Charlie Will.

Scott Armbrust, DVM, President and Owner of Paradocs Embryo Transfer, Inc. was raised on a registered Holstein farm near Omaha, NE. He grew up showing and judging Holsteins and went on to develop and co-own some of the top cows in the world, including Ripvalley NA Bell Tammy-ET, Lawcrest Rotate Mindy, Amlaird Lee Alice-ET, Harvue Roy Frosty and Butz Butler Gold Barbara-ET.

Armbrust was a pioneer of bovine embryo transfer (ET), beginning his work in the field with Dr. Ken Colier in 1977. After early career work with two Wisconsin veterinary clinics, he left the general dairy practice in 1982 to specialize in the ET business by starting Paradocs Embryo Transfer, Inc. A major portion of the business today is coordinating and exporting embryos to Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and more.

Armbrust has broadened the impact of his work by training veterinarians from around the world in ET techniques. He provides internship and mentor experiences for potential veterinary students and international students and trainees, and his work in genetics and ET is recognized around the world. Armbrust is an active member of the American Embryo Transfer Association, having served in several leadership roles with the organization throughout his career. He is currently working towards expanding foreign embryo markets by serving as Committee Member and past Chairman of the Export Cooperator Committee. He remains actively involved in Iowa State University, where he graduated in Dairy Science in 1971 and completed veterinary school in 1975.

John “Jack” Hardesty of Harvue Farms had entrepreneurial ambitions and dreams of dairying from a very young age. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, he owned his first Holstein at ten years old. Upon graduation from high school, Hardesty’s dreams came true: his father and he started Harvue Farms on March 1, 1950. The barn that started with 23 Holsteins in Berryville, VA, is still in use today.

Although Hardesty’s career was solely dedicated to Harvue Farms, he was involved personally and professionally in numerous industry and community organizations. As Chairman for the Board of Supervisors for Clarke County, VA, he traveled to England to see examples of how they planned and used their land. He returned home to apply what he learned, initiating the idea of agricultural land use planning.

Harvue cattle, with a pair of Paclamar Astronaut daughters, first earned All-American status in 1981. Harvue Farms also had the first Elevation daughter to make over 30,000 lbs., attracting dairymen from the west and overseas and sparking the spread of Harvue genetics. Hardesty also applied his forward thinking in pushing studies that would lead to bottling milk in small, plastic bottles for kids and for those on the go.

A list nearly as long as Hardesty’s community and industry involvement is the list of leadership positions held and awards won. Most notably, he earned the Dairyman of the Year award at World Dairy Expo in 1992. Harvue Roy Frosty was crowned Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo in both 2009 and 2010. Frosty goes back to one of Hardesty’s very first cows.

Hardesty passed away at age 82, remaining involved on the farm until the end. His sons and grandson operate Harvue Farms today, carrying on his legacy of outstanding dairy genetics with humility, faith and a strong work ethic.

Tom Morris was born into a family whose herd of registered Holsteins received numerous honors as show winners and All-Americans. Morris quickly paved his own way in the dairy industry, distinguishing himself as a showman, fitter and dairy cattle judge early in his 4-H and FFA careers. His college experience included both UW-River Falls and UW-Madison, where he further developed his interest in dairy judging. In 1971, Morris was named the high individual of the Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest.

Morris began his career with International Holstein Sales & Service. Concurrently, he became an instructor at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical Institute. Shortly after his marriage in 1975, he and his wife, Sandy Mayer, established Deronda Farm. In 1982, Tom Morris Ltd was formed as a sale management business. The Morris family has managed the World Classic at World Dairy Expo since 1989, along with several other noteworthy sales. Morris also designed and launched The Cattle CONNECTION in 1990. The publication, now owned by Holstein International, continues to drive connections between cattle buyers and sellers across the country.

Morris has been instrumental on countless boards and committees throughout his career. He was a driving force behind the new World Dairy Expo pavilions and established the Merle Howard award for the top junior exhibitor at the show. Throughout his career, Morris mentored over 250 students, coached two winning Junior College teams at the National Dairy Cattle Congress, managed more than 500 Holstein auctions, and served as an auctioneer in nearly 40 states, Canada and Europe. Morris is described by his peers as “best-in-class, a risk taker with calculated and successful results and a trailblazer in everything he endeavors.”

Charles Will is best known for the top Holstein genetics he brought to the world during his 43-plus year tenure with Select Sires. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1973 and has dedicated his career to procuring bulls that would improve genetics for generations to come. Currently retired from his position as Dairy Sire Analyst, Will is credited with acquiring 7H980 Walkway Chief MARK, 7H1118 Arlinda ROTATE, 7H1897 To-Mar BLACKSTAR, 7H2236 Emprise Bell ELTON, 7H5157 Regancrest Elton DURHAM and 7H6417 O-Bee MANfred Justice. This collection of bulls boasts complete packages: high production and outstanding type, thousands of Excellent daughters, millions of units sold, and improved calving ease and productive life.

During his tenure with Select Sires, Will also delivered thousands of seminars and presentations around the world. His wisdom reached 49 states and 18 foreign countries, where he was often asked to judge cattle shows as well.

Will is active both in his local community and the dairy community outside of Select Sires. He has served as FFA President, President of the County Fair Board, Church Council member and as the Taylor Township Zoning Inspector. His decades of knowledge and experience also extend to NAAB, the Holstein Association, World Dairy Expo, Holstein International Magazine in Holland and the Simmental Association.

Nominator Bernie Heisner says, “Charlie constantly learned and listened for new ideas to advance genetic progress. When genomics came along late in his career, he embraced it. Charlie worked with breeders to secure the highest genomic young sires for use in the Select Sires system.”

Armbrust, Morris, Will, and the family of Jack Hardesty will receive the Pioneer awards at Dairy Shrine’s Awards Banquet on Monday, October 3rd in Madison, Wisconsin. Portraits of each winner will then be displayed in National Dairy Shrine’s Dairy Hall of Fame and Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. For more information about the Dairy Shrine, the banquet or this year’s award winners, please contact the Dairy Shrine at [email protected] or visit their website.

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