Holstein Breed Celebrated at National Convention

The Holstein cow was recently in the spotlight as the breed hosted the 2019 National Holstein Convention. Dairy producers from across the country gathered in Appleton, Wisconsin, for the annual meeting of all things Registered Holstein®.

Wisconsin. America’s Dairyland. And a most-fitting location for the 2019 National Holstein Convention.

More than 1,200 Registered Holstein breeders and their families recently celebrated the breed’s committed people, the cow’s genetic advancement, and the future generation of Holstein leaders.

Holstein Association USA CEO John Meyer…

“One of the great things, we talk about the wonderful black-and-white cow, the Holstein cow, that is the world’s most efficient, productive dairy cow, but it is about people, too. We had representatives from 38 different states, 19 different countries, which I think is an all-time record, as far as overall attendance. So it’s always a great time to get reacquainted with old friends, and then meet new ones. There’s a lot of lifetime relationships that are made here.”

The week-long convention, hosted this year by the Wisconsin Holstein Association, was packed with educational events and business meetings to chart a course for the future.

Participants enjoyed tours of Registered Holstein farms in the surrounding area, and had the opportunity to visit the all-new Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center.

Jeff King, from New York…

“I enjoy the interaction with other dairy producers, especially people that are also really invested in the Holstein cow and Holstein genetics — and that means a lot for me. And hopefully I can take some of that back to my home dairy, and try to improve my own business.”

A stand-out portion of this year’s convention was the National Genetics Conference, which featured innovative researchers, industry professionals and breeders at the leading edge of dairy cattle genetics and genomic technology.

Dan Weigel, research director with Zoetis, explains….

“We are limited by our imaginations, I guess. It is a pretty important thing to look back and talk about, ‘What have we learned?’ And think about where we are going, and what we need to be doing differently to make sure our cattle are healthy, happy and as productive as possible.”

Encouraging the next generation of Holstein leaders was also a top priority. Junior Holstein members competed in a variety of life-skills contests, including Dairy Jeopardy, quiz bowl and public speaking.

Sarah Thomas of North Carolina…

“I would say for youth that attend the National Holstein Convention, what they get out of it are the connections, the life-long friendships and especially the network that you’re able to grow.”

“We are all united by the Registered Holstein cow. That’s why we are here. You can use that to connect to people, and to talk to them and to make friends. I will forever be grateful for that.”

That was Brock Irwin of Illinois. The Holstein breed’s greatest strength lies in the hands of its people. Those who will carry on the tradition for generations to come.