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Tentinger Recognized with Iowa State Dairy Leadership Award
June 30, 2015

REMSEN — A Remsen, IA dairyman has been honored with the 2015 Iowa State Dairy Association Ralph Keeling Leadership Award.  The award recognizes Jim Tentinger for his leadership contributions to the dairy industry in Iowa and nationally.

Jim, who took over his father’s dairy herd in the 1970s, has 210 milking registered Ayrshires on his farm.

Jim, along with his wife, Sharon, and son Travis, raise alfalfa, corn and soybeans on the farmland.

Another son, Craig, lives in Wayne, Neb.

Besides their 200 registered milking Ayrshires, the Tentingers market dairy beef cattle.

Jim said it is an honor to be awarded the Ralph Keeling Leadership Award, which was established in 1967.

“I enjoy working with people who are in the dairy industry and share my interests in keeping Iowa a strong dairy state,” said Jim. “Iowa is fortunate to have dedicated organizations working with dairy producers to give them updated technology and training opportunities.”

Jim and Sharon live on the farm that has been in the Tentinger name since 1882.

The first Ayrshire cow came to the Tentinger farm in 1950.

He said his dad, Roman, bought the cow because of her color.

“Later he realized she was a gentle cow, calves easy, has higher butterfat and protein and ate less than the Holsteins on the farm,” Jim said.

The entire herd was switched to Ayrshires by 1976 when Jim took over the dairy herd.

He then began registering the cattle and became a member of the Ayrshire association.

In addition to the Tentinger family, Ten-Ayr Dairy has two full-time employees.

“Sharon helps with the milking when needed and takes care of the book work,” Jim said.

Cows at Ten-Ayr Dairy are housed in a free-stall barn, where they can move around, eat and drink, or lay in stalls at any time.

The cows lay on water mattresses which are topped with a small amount of sand to absorb moisture, according to Jim.

The barn is equipped with large fans, that turn on when the temperature is approximately 70 degrees, keeping the cows comfortable.

Side-curtains on the barn are raised and lowered as weather allows.

Cows are milked twice a day in a parlor that handles 18 animals at one time.

They are on a herd health program supervised by a local veterinarian.

Their diets are balanced by the farm’s nutritionist and cows are offered free-choice feed throughout the day.

At Ten-Ayr Dairy, the Tentingers grow their own alfalfa and corn and also finish their bull calves along with Holstein calves they purchase.

“It is good to be diversified in your operation,” Jim said. “Our cash crop is soybeans. This way we are not completely depended on current milk prices for income.”

Jim has taken an active role in the promotion of Ayrshires and the dairy industry through the years.

For the past 20 years, the couple has given ag tours of their farms to local school children and adult groups, showing them where the food chain starts.

Jim has been a member of the Ayrshire Breeders Association board since 2008 and on several of its committees during the past years. He is presently on the executive board.

Sharon is the treasurer of the Ayrshire Breeders Foundation Association.

Both Jim and Sharon are co-chairmen for the the Ayrshire World Conference, which will be held in 2016 in the United States and the National Ayrshire Convention in Iowa in 2017.

Jim is a past-president of the Iowa Ayrshire Club.

They have taken animals to the state and national Ayrshire sales.

Jim and his family have shown cattle at the state fair and local county fair.

Jim is now serving on the district and corporate board of Midwest Dairy Association.

He is also a board member of Iowa State Dairy Association, Cherokee County Rural Water Association and a past board member of the Plymouth County Farm Bureau.

Jim is a member of the Dairy Farmers Association, Western Iowa Dairy Association and the Iowa Cattlemen Association.

The Keeling Award is presented annually to an Iowan who has shown outstanding leadership in Iowa’s dairy industry.

This award is presented in honor of the late Ralph Keeling.

He operated a successful dairy farm and business, devoting much of his time and talents to progressing Iowa’s dairy industry.

By: Beverly VanBuskirk
Source: LeMars Daily Sentinel



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