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National DHIA Honors its First Recording Secretary, Laura Beane
May 5, 2015

COLUMBUS, OHIO (May 5, 2015) – National Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) recognized Laura Beane, Fort Atkinson, Wis., with the H. Victor Joachim Distinguished Leadership/Martin A. Wilson Memorial Award on March 10, in conjunction with the association’s annual meeting held in Columbus, Ohio. This award goes to an individual who has held a DHIA leadership position and/or has been dedicated to improving DHIA.

Laura’s late husband, Craig, served as National DHIA’s first president, starting in 1965. True partners in family and business, Laura took on the role of National DHIA recording secretary.

“Our dining room table served as my ‘office’,” recalls Laura. “I didn’t even have a file cabinet.” Laura took minutes at meetings and notes during discussions, wrote and published the newsletter, and corresponded with those involved in dairy cattle records, such as Extension dairy specialists, dairy farmers, breed association personnel and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials.

Craig spearheaded the effort to create National DHIA so dairy farmers could have a say in rules and policies. “Extension dairy specialists were making the rules and regulations; dairy farmers were paying the bills,” says Laura. “Dairy farmers should have a say in DHIA rules and policies.”

Laura credits Willys Gjermundson, former Agricultural Records Cooperative manager, Madison, Wis., for listening to dairy farmers and empathizing with their concerns. “He felt that dairy farmers ought to be involved in making rules and regulations that pertained to dairy cattle records,” says Laura. “Many of his Extension dairy specialist peers disagreed.”

Craig and Laura farmed west of Fort Atkinson on Holwis Farms for more than 50 years. During part of their career, they farmed with their son, Tom, and his wife, Kathy, milking 240 Holsteins and cropping 2,000 acres. They hosted Wisconsin Farm Progress Days in 1956, in cooperation with their neighbors Bill and Ted Ward, and their families. The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural & Life honored Craig and Laura with its Outstanding Service Award in 1971. World Dairy Expo named Laura the 1975 Dairy Woman of the Year.

 


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