Holstein Association USA Hosts Successful 2024 National Holstein Convention - Cowsmo

Holstein Association USA Hosts Successful 2024 National Holstein Convention

Holstein Association USA members recently gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah for this year’s National Holstein Convention, held June 24-27, 2024. Themed “Udderly Utah,” National Holstein Convention drew 700 attendees from across the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico.

“This is the first time Holstein Association USA has hosted the Convention and Annual Meeting. In the past, state associations served as our hosts,” said Holstein Association USA CEO John Meyer. “We’ve heard many positive comments about our new format and the Convention.”

Meyer continued, “As is the case at every National Holstein Convention, my favorite part of it is the people. It’s great to see old friends and meet new ones!”

On Monday, June 24, Holstein enthusiasts explored vibrant Salt Lake City. One group took the scenic route to Utah’s Antique and Classic Power Museum, admiring antique vehicles and a pioneer village. Another group delved into Utah’s rich history at This is the Place Heritage Park, enjoying demonstrations from historical interpreters, train rides, gold mining and more. Junior members heard an inspiring message and tested out obstacle courses at the Impact Ninja Gym, before joining the fun at This is the Place Heritage Park.

“One of the highlights of this year’s Convention was Holstein Horizons, a forum which is a new event that features interactive seminars featuring dairy industry experts,” CEO Meyer commented.

Holstein Horizons was held on Tuesday, June 25. The inaugural event was filled with enriching seminars covering a variety of topics within the dairy industry. Jeff King, Kings-Ransom Farm, New York; Todd Koch, TMK Creamery, Oregon; and Michael Turley, Rolling Lawns Farm, Illinois; spoke on a panel highlighting on-farm processing.

“I was really excited to see Holstein Horizons added to the Convention,” says Matt Hoff, a delegate from New Windsor, Maryland. “It was very educational. The producer panel was great and featured three very different on-farm creameries. Learning about up-and-coming things in the industry is always beneficial.”

The day continued with Dr. Arquimides Reyes, University of Wisconsin – River Falls, speaking about beef on Holstein opportunities. Dr. Roger Shanks of Holstein Association USA covered the history of genetics with a focus on inbreeding, then Dr. Tad Sonstegard, Acceligen, gave a forward-looking talk on genome editing. Holstein Association USA’s Dr. Jeffrey Bewley concluded the day with a cutting-edge technology insights from the WKU SmartHolstein Lab. Lisa Behnke, of World Dairy Expo, served as moderator for the day.

Attendees also enjoyed a variety of casual events focused on connecting with fellow Holstein enthusiasts. On Monday evening, some ventured downtown for Cutting Edge Connections, trying their hand at axe throwing while catching up with Holstein friends. On Tuesday, the Mountain View Mingle provided adults with the opportunity to socialize and engage in a few competitive rounds of dairy-themed trivia. The National Holstein Convention Sale, trade show, and Awards Luncheon rounded out the week’s activities.

National Junior Holstein Association members showcased their talents in various contests and met new friends during activities throughout the week. A special workshop on Monday evening featured past Distinguished Junior Member (DJM) finalists Andrew King, David J. Lentz, and Michele Ruby, who shared how their Junior Holstein experience helped shape them.

“The National Junior Holstein Convention is a fantastic opportunity for youth from across the country to get together, and not only to compete, but also network and make connections and memories that are going to last a lifetime,” says Junior Holstein Member and 2024 DJM finalist Courtney Glenna from Amery, Wisconsin.

138th Annual Meeting
Holstein Association USA’s 138th Annual Meeting commenced Wednesday, June 26. President Jonathan Lamb, CEO John Meyer, and CFO/Treasurer Barbara Casna gave reports on Holstein Association USA’s 2023 performance. The 2023 Annual Report, titled 20 Years of Growth, highlighted the progress and change Holstein Association USA has experienced in the past two decades.

Vice President John Burket spoke about the upcoming transition in leadership, as CEO John Meyer will retire on December 31, 2024, and current COO Lindsey Worden will succeed him as CEO on January 1, 2025.

Attendees also heard committee reports from the Holstein Association USA Board of Directors. Holstein Association USA recognized 40-Year Members, along with the 2023 Herds of Excellence and Star of the Breed. Dr. Jeffrey Bewley’s presentation on the CowSignals program emphasized the importance of understanding cows’ responses to management practices.

Three members retired from Holstein Association USA’s Board of Directors, including outgoing President Jonathan Lamb, Oakfield, New York. Dwight Rokey, Sabetha, Kansas retired as Region 7 Director and Steve Moff, Columbiana, Ohio retired as Region 3 Director.

Delegates had the opportunity to ask questions to board candidates on Wednesday afternoon and elections took place on Thursday morning. Re-elected for their second three-year terms on the board were: Region 2 Director Dean W. Jackson, Columbia Cross Roads, Pennsylvania; and At-Large Director Tony Brey, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

John Burket, East Freedom, Pennsylvania was elected as President and Dwight Rokey, Sabetha, Kansas was elected as Vice President. Elected for three-year terms on the board were: Paul R. Haskins, Butler, Ohio, representing Region 3; and Alfred Brandt, Linn, Missouri, representing Region 7.

The 2025 National Holstein Convention will be held June 23-26, 2025, in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information about National Holstein Convention, visit www.holsteinconvention.com.

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