The Wisconsin Holstein Association's annual convention takes place Feb. 22-23, and is being hosted by the Marathon County Holstein Breeders at the Stoney Creek Inn-Wausau in Rothschild.
The weekend's festivities will kick off at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, with the annual Holstein Association USA's Region 5 meeting, committee meetings, presentation of production awards and will conclude with the WHA Futures Sale, hosted by the Young Adult Committee (YAC).
Choices will sell from the area's best cow families that night at 7:30 p.m., with a junior work auction to follow.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Gordon Atkins, Senior Clinical Skills Instructor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, will be the featured presenter on the morning of Feb. 23.
Dr. Atkins will discuss "The Role of Conformation Evaluation in an Industry Dominated by Genomics" starting at 8 a.m. with a short question and answer session to follow.
Gordon graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1973 and has practiced dairy veterinary medicine in Alberta for the past 39 years.
Gordon's main area of interest has involved all aspects of dairy herd health with particular emphasis on functional conformation, nutrition, cow comfort, milk quality, and reproductive performance.
He is a past president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and is a past recipient of the A.A.B.P. Bovine Practitioner of the Year Award.
He remains active in the Holstein business as a breeder and exhibitor, is an official judge and member of the Type Classification Advisory Committee for Holstein Canada, and was awarded the Canadian Dairy Network Industry Distinction Award in 2009.
His interest in genetics of functional conformation led to the production of a CD on this topic and his speaking and judging assignments have taken him from coast to coast in Canada and to over 20 countries internationally.
His teaching began in 2008 and has been recognized with numerous awards including the Pfizer Carl J Norden Distinguished Teaching Award.
Gordon will identify areas where he feels remarkable improvement has been made as well as the areas that still require much work.
As an official judge and long-time member of Holstein Canada's Type Classification Committee, he has a passion for breeding great cows but an unyielding conviction for ensuring that each conformation trait is evaluated in a way that ensures functionality and acceptance by the commercial breeder.
He views genomics as one of the greatest tools that the industry has ever had to advance the breed but raises a serious caution that it is not the only tool and we must be careful to not disregard many of the tools that have been so successful over the history of our breed.
The activities on Saturday morning will conclude with the WHA business meeting and Board of Directors elections. Following the meeting, recipients of Gold Medal Dams, Dams of Merit, 40- and 50-year members, as well as Wall of Fame inductees will be recognized at the Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.
Beginning at 1 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to tour Nor-Way-Pete/Four-of-a-Kind dairy in Eland, and Matthiae Dairy Farms, Inc. of Marathon,
Nor-Way-Pete is owned by Andy, Mary and Chad Peterson and the herd includes all animals owned by the Four-of-a-Kind Partners. Herd manager and part owner of Four-of-a-Kind is Dan Cnossen.
The herd is home to five 94-point cows with a total of 190 cows classified and an August 2012 BAA of 108.3. The current rolling herd average for 256 cows on 3x milking is 30,585 pounds of milk, 4.0 percent fat test, 1,214 pounds of fat, 3.03 percent protein and 925 pounds of protein.
Matthaie Dairy Farms, Inc is a fourth generation, family-owned farm ran by Maynard, Jason, David and Michael Matthiae families. The farm consists of 1,200 acres of owned and rented land with a 140-cow milking herd in a tie-stall barn with 21 Excellent cows, 55 Very Goods, 57 Good Plus and two Good with a RHA of 28,690M 3.85% 1106F 3.0% 877P.
The Matthiaes raise all their bulls and heifers and sell about 75 breeding bulls each year as well as send another 10 bulls to A.I.
At the annual banquet Saturday night the WHA Service Award recipient, Distinguished Younger Dairy Breeder and Distinguished Breeder will be recognized. A live auction will be held that night to benefit the Brad Fust Scholarship fund and the Junior Holstein Association. Businesses from Marathon County and the surrounding area have contributed items for the auction.
American Wood Fibers, Swiderski Equipment, Meyer Manufacturing, Tom & Gin Kestell, Bonnie Mohr, George Waldvogel Family, Tom Morris, Bob's Catering, Synergy Dairy, Twin-B Dairy, Jason Mell, Dream Team Holsteins, Milkyhill Sales, Edgar Korner Kitchen, Trans Ova, Rick & Peggy Daluge, Trans Ova and Kalahari Resorts have contributed to this special auction.
A dessert auction will also be held to benefit the WHA Scholarship fund. A live band will conclude the evening and is sponsored by the Marathon County Breeders.
Registration forms for the Wisconsin Holstein Convention can be found at www.wisholsteins.com or in the January Wisconsin Holstein News for those interested in attending. Registrations received by Feb. 1 will benefit from lower meal prices.
The Futures Sale catalog will also be available February 1 online, or to receive a hard copy, contact the WHA office at 800-223-4269.