In a surprise announcement made during the 4-H dairy show at this year’s Minnesota State Fair, Ruth Klossner of Lafayette was presented with the Bruce Cottington Friend of Dairy award.
Minnesota Milk Producers Association, the grassroots organization for Minnesota’s dairy industry, presents the award in select years to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty fostering the goals and ideals of Minnesota Milk through their own personal efforts. Additional criteria for the award includes involvement in Minnesota’s dairy industry, display of leadership, and community involvement.
Minnesota Milk awarded the first ever “Friend of Dairy” award to dairy enthusiast Bruce Cottington in 2006. Since then, the name of the award has been changed to the “Bruce Cottington Award” in honor of Cottington’s name and legacy. Recipients have included agricultural college officials, a state commissioner of agriculture, and industry leaders.
Klossner’s award was announced during the 4-H dairy show in the Coliseum while Ruth was at her usual post–taking photos of the champion, reserve champion, and purple ribbon 4-H animals. It’s a role she’s held for 38 years, dating back to 1983.
Being 4-H Livestock Photographer is something she looks forward to each year as she enjoys both the kids and the animals–and making memories for the 4-Hers to keep forever.
She photographs not only the 4-H dairy show, the dairy judging contest, and the Dairy Showcase, but the dairy and meat goat shows, the sheep show, the poultry show, the general livestock judging contest, and the lama show.
Klossner has been a supporter of “all things dairy” by being the announcer of the Nicollet County 4-H, open class, and FFA shows for many years, being a member of the county fair board, being president and secretary of the county Holstein association, and participating and recording many member events via photos and articles–both during and after her years as a county extension agent and newspaper reporter/editor.
Taking it to the national level, Klossner has co-chaperoned the Minnesota delegation to the National 4-H Dairy Conference–and assumed the role of the conference photographer the first year she attended.
Klossner is also the owner of the Cow Collector’s Mooseum in Bernadotte, just outside of Lafayette. The collection of cow-related memorabilia is open to the public at open houses and by appointment and holds the Guinness World Record as the largest collection of cow-related items with over 19,750 pieces.
During the state fair presentation, nominator Jean Annexstad of Norseland stated, “Ruth is known best for her love of dairy and youth. She supports them in so many ways. After an event, all of her photos are available on Facebook to be downloaded, shared, or used in social media. She says, ‘I take them for you.”
Besides her love of dairy, Klossner is involved in her community in many and varied organizations. They include Nicollet Public School, Lafayette Lions Club, New Ulm Farm-City Hub Club, Connecting Nicollet County, Nicollet American Legion Auxiliary, and Bernadotte Lutheran Church/Fields of Grace Parish. She has held many leadership roles and writes and publishes newsletters for three of the organizations. She is also a staff writer/photographer for River Valley Woman magazine and has been a writer for Dairy Star.
Klossner’s involvement in dairy goes back to her childhood, even before she was old enough to join 4-H. She grew up on a dairy farm just north of New Ulm, in Nicollet County. The farm had grade Holstein cattle, but Klossner convinced her parents to buy her a registered calf in 1960. Although that animal wasn’t any better than the farm’s grades, her first offspring, Klossner Princess Delight, went on to be a show ring winner–and an outstanding producer and brood cow.
After 11 years in 4-H, Klossner completed bachelor and master’s degrees at the University of Minnesota and worked in county extension work for 13 years, before becoming a newspaper writer/photographer/editor for 27 years. Although she retired 10 years ago, she proudly proclaims, “I flunked retirement in just a month” and has kept busy with the organizations and publications since then.
Source: The Journal