Richard “Dick” Keene, award winning dairyman and world-renowned dairy cattle judge, passed away peacefully at his home in Gilbertsville on July 25, 2014.
Born Sept. 30, 1935, to the late Marjorie (Macumber) and Joseph Keene, Dick spent a lifetime dedicating himself as a Holstein breeder and enthusiast, accredited dairy cattle judge and a friend and ambassador to the dairy and agriculture industries.
After graduating from Cornell University in 1957, Dick worked as a field man and classifier for the National Holstein Association. In 1960, he returned to the home farm with his father, Joe and eventually became owner and operator of Keeneland Farm in Gilbertsville.
He devoted nearly half a century to breeding and developing many outstanding generations of excellent cows and cow families on the farm. At one point there were five cows in the herd with the Keeneland prefix that had tremendous longevity and each produced over 200,000 pounds of milk. His careful selection of high typed sires along with his meticulous management skills made Dick one of the most prominent Holstein Breeders in New York State.
He and his family enjoyed exhibiting cattle at the local, county and state level for many years. The Keeneland prefix was frequently associated with many Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor awards. In 1997, a devastating fire at Keeneland Farm resulted in a herd dispersal.
After garnering top honors at the national collegiate dairy judging contest in Waterloo, Iowa, Dick proceeded to establish himself as a well-known, highly respected and distinguished national and international dairy cattle judge. He was the youngest person to ever judge the Holstein Show at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., and is the only person to have judged that show five different times and the Royal Canadian Exposition twice. Dick considered himself privileged to have judged numerous shows across the country and around the world. His personal integrity and honesty as a cattle judge along with his great eye for cattle earned him the distinction of “the greatest judge to enter any show ring, whether it be at the State, National or International level.”