Thursday, July 14, 2016

National Holstein Convention Has Great Run in New York State

From the state Department of Agriculture and Markets:

Following the return of the National Holstein Convention to New York, state Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball on Tuesday highlighted the success of the conference, held in Saratoga Springs from June 27 to July 1.  

New York state, which was the birthplace of the National Holstein Association, last hosted the gathering more than two decades ago in Rochester in 1993. Since then, it has been held throughout the country.  

This year, the convention drew more than 1,000 industry professionals from Canada, Mexico and nearly every state in the U.S., including more than 400 youth.

“I was thrilled to take part in the National Holstein Convention this year, and proud to see New York’s important role in the Holstein breed on display. During this five-day event, farmers from all across the country were able to swap stories, find out what’s new in the industry, and to learn from the best," Ball said.

"And while they were here, they had the chance to experience all that Saratoga Springs has to offer. I look forward to the convention’s next return to the Empire State,” he said.

The National Holstein Convention is sponsored by Holstein Association USA, the world’s largest dairy breed organization and a nonprofit membership group that offers programs and services to the dairy industry. 

This year’s theme, “New York Charm: City to Farm,” was fitting given that a priority for the Department is to help connect New York’s farmers to new markets and provide as many consumers as possible better access to fresh, local agricultural goods, including our world-class milk and dairy products.

The convention provided members interested in breeding, raising and milking Holstein cattle the opportunity to go on farm tours, check out informational seminars, participate in contests and auctions and even buy animals at the cattle sale, which this years grossed nearly $2 million. The top selling cow came from Schuylerville, outside Saratoga, and sold for $180,000.

The convention also offered a wide variety of activities for Junior Holstein members, ages 21 and under, aimed at increasing their knowledge of the dairy industry, strengthening self confidence and building leadership skills. 

New York Junior Member Awards

During the convention, the Holstein Association recognized distinguished junior members. This award is the highest honor a Holstein Association USA junior member can receive. 

This year, Kayla Windecker and Jonathan King, were finalists for the Distinguished Junior Member and Young distinguished Junior Member awards.   

Five Junior Holstein members from New York also finished in the top rankings during four different dairy competitions.

·         Dairy Jeopardy

Based on the popular television game show, the contests tested the participant’s knowledge on a wide range of dairy-related topics.  Nearly eighty participants in the Dairy Jeopardy competition were divided into three age groups.  This year, George Andrew of Newark won third place in the Junior Division, and Stephanie Bishop of Delhi won third place in the Senior Division.

·         Prepared Public Speaking  
This year, 51 youth participated in the prepared public speaking competition. Stephanie McBath of Schuylerville claimed the top prize in the 18- 21 year old age group with her speech, “When in Rome, on an Italian Dairy Farm.”

·         Folding Display Contest
Fifty-seven entries were submitted in this year's Folding Display competition where participants create a free-standing display educating people about a dairy industry-related topic of their choice. The competition is divided into two categories -- Scientific and Creative. Shannon Sears of Schenevus won first place in the Senior Scientific Division with a display on “Hairy Heel Warts.”

·         Dairy Knowledge Exam
The Dairy Knowledge Exam participants put their knowledge to the test with a 25-question written exam. New Yorker, Christine Putman of Schuylerville finished second in the Junior Division.

In addition, New York ranked among the top five in both the State Banner and Digital State Scrapbook contests, and a team of New York youth made it to the final Senior Division Dairy Bowl.

Known as the “Cradle of the Holstein Breed,” New York state was the birthplace of the National Holstein Association in 1885 and home to the first registered Holstein herd, raised by Gerrit Smith Miller in Madison County, east of Syracuse. Today, the state’s Holstein breeders and owners offer substantial contributions to the dairy industry and the state’s economy.

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