The Pennsylvania Holstein Association is hosting the 2021 National Holstein Convention themed “Leading the Holstein Vision,” in-person for adults and juniors at the Marriott Lancaster at Penn Square in Lancaster, Pa., on June 20-24, 2021.
Distinguished Young Breeders Tour, Monday, June 21
Heart and Soul Holsteins and Jerseys – Owned by Doug and Jennifer Boop, along with sons Douglas and Matthew and Doug’s parents Gerald and Kathy Boop. They milk 42 cows in a tie stall barn with a bedded pack barn for the show cows. Their BAA is 113.9%, landing them at ninth in the nation, and they were recognized as the Pennsylvania Distinguished Young Breeder Award winners in 2014. The Boops also operate two 40,000-hen layer houses and a Trans Ova Satellite Center.
DryHouse Farm LLC – Owned by Michael and Maria Yoder with children Natalie, Paul, Grant, and Cade. They milk 220 Holsteins and farm 260 acres. The Yoders began farming in 2009 under the prefix Dryhouse-M, a spin on the original Dry-House herd which they purchased from Lester and Ray Yoder. Since, they have bred 35 Excellent and 217 Very Good cows, as well as owning 30 additional Excellent and 140 Very Good cows. The Yoders have also sent five bulls to A.I. service, and were recognized as the Pennsylvania Distinguished Young Breeder Award winners in 2016.
Millwork Holsteins – Owned by Joel and Sara Mills with children Bryanna, Isaac and Tabitha, the first-generation farm family milks 116 cows in a freestall/parlor set up. They have bred 32 Excellent cows since starting their herd in 2003, and breed for high components and milk production as well as high type. The Mills attribute Registered Holsteins to have added value to their herd, allowing them to run a profitable dairy business. They were recognized as both the national and Pennsylvania Distinguished Young Breeder Award winners in 2015.
Pennsylvania Breeders Tour, Wednesday, June 23
Breakfast at Brook Corner Holsteins – Owned by Reid and Diane Hoover and Brad, Amy and Brock Hoover, they milk 375 cows that are 100% registered in a facility built in 2012. There are 29 Excellent and 172 Very Good cows in the herd, and the Hoovers breed with a focus on production and health traits. They also have a group of show cows, including descendants of World Dairy Expo Champion Rosiers Blexy Goldwyn, who once called Brook-Corner home.
Mercer Vu Farm – Owned by the Hissong family, brothers Rod and Rick and their families, Mercer Vu milk 3,200 cows in a freestall/parlor facility. While mainly a commercial herd, the Hissong’s have utilized AI since the 1970’s, focusing on sound cows with combined fat and protein, good feet and legs, good udders and a solid mix of health traits. All replacement heifers are produced with sexed semen out of virgin heifers and first lactation animals, while all others are bred with beef.
Oakleigh Farm – Owned by Glenn and Karen Brake, who along with Glenn’s father Ed and children Katy, Matt and Jake, milk 120 registered cows. The Brakes had a barn fire in December 2019 and moved from 1950’s technology to 2020 technology with a new facility with robotic milkers, robotic feed and manure removal systems, and a compost bedded pack. The Oakleigh herd has a BAA of 106.2, with 13 Excellent and 37 Very Good cows. Their breeding emphasis is on A2A2 and polled bulls as service sires, with a goal to optimize production and efficiency in their new facility.
Amish to “English” Tour, Wednesday, June 23
Star Rock Farm – Owned by the Barley family, brothers Rob, Tom and Abe are the third generation at Star Rock, where they milk 1,630 Registered cows in a double-20 parallel parlor. There are 117 Excellent cows, two of which are EX94, and 1,608 Very Good cows which are housed in a sand-bedded freestall barn with a flush system. The Barleys believe they have been able to sell hundreds of cattle over the years because they are registered, high-type animals. Star Rock is offering a load (minimum 35 head) of fresh two-year-olds in the National Convention Sale that will be available for viewing while on the tour.
Chestrspring Holsteins – Owned by Ben and Fannie Kauffman along with children Steven, John, Lillian, Sammy, David, Mervin, Benji and Carolyn, they started their herd when they purchased a group of springing heifers from Canada in 2009. In the 52-cow tie stall herd, they already have 10 Excellent cows and 35 Very Good cows with many promising, unscored two-year-olds. The Kauffman’s first homebred Excellent cow now scored EX93 and still in the herd, traces back to one of the original bred heifers they purchased. They bred the Youth Grand Champion of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association Spring Show, Chestrspring Dreams Amy-ET, and her Solomon Senior 3-Year-old daughter and two VG86 full sisters are in the barn.
Cows to Cones Tour, Wednesday, June 23
Merrymead Farm Association – Owned by Rothenberger family, the fifth-generation farm processes, packages, and sells the milk from their Registered Holstein herd on-farm, along with heavy cream, buttermilk, half and half and ice cream. They also operate a year-round farm market where they sell locally-produced meats, produce, honey, baked goods, and other seasonal items.
September Farm Cheese – Owned by Dave and Roberta Rotelle, they started making cheese in 2007 every weekday, processing and packaging cheese in their state-of-the art cheese-making facility in store. They make specialty cheeses, cheese curds, and yogurt, and sell cheese gift baskets, as well as offer a full lunch menu in their store.
Klein Farms Dairy and Creamery – Owned by Layne and Beth Klein, the operation started with a milking herd which led them to making their own cheese and yogurt and opening the farm store in 2004. Son Jacob and his wife Amanda manage the cows, with a special interest in breeding and Holstein genetics. They opened a new dairy store in 2016 and their Happy Holstein Ice Cream shop where their 20 flavors of homemade ice cream are sold.
The complete convention schedule is located here. Events will feature the annual meeting, farm tours, general tours, and a golf outing. The national convention cattle sale caps off the event on Thursday, June 24, at the West Lampeter Fairgrounds.
Junior contests will include Distinguished Junior Member, dairy bowl, speech and Dairy Jeopardy. Off-site activities are planned for the junior members, as well.
Hotel reservations can be made at the Marriott Lancaster at Penn Square by calling 1-866-503-3786 (mention Holstein Convention for group rate) or online. Book rooms by June 1 for best rate.
Please note that all Center for Disease Control (CDC) health guidelines will be followed, including wearing masks at all events. For more detailed information about the convention, contact the Pennsylvania Holstein Association at 814.234.0364.