Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

July 12, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Highlights Success of National Holstein Convention During Its Return to New York State

Convention Held in New York for the First Time in More than Two Decades

New York Youth Win Top Prizes in National Competitions
Top Selling Cow Bred in New York 

Following the return of the National Holstein Convention to New York, State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today 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.

Commissioner Ball said, “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.  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.”

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 participate in farm tours, informational seminars, contests, auctions, and the cattle sale.  The cattle sale this year grossed nearly $2 million, with the top selling cow coming from a farm in Schuylerville, NY and selling for $180,000. 

The convention also offers 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 Awardees

During the convention, the Association also recognized distinguished junior members who have excelled in their Junior project work, involvement on their farm, and in their communities.  This award is the highest honor a Holstein Association USA Junior Member can receive.  This year, Kayla Windecker and Jonathan King, both of New York, were named 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 competitions: Dairy Jeopardy, Prepared Public Speaking, Folding Display Contest, and the Dairy Knowledge Exam.  Many of the competitors qualified at the state level before moving to the national competition.

  • 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 won third place in the Junior Division, and Stephanie Bishop won third place in the Senior Division.

  • Prepared Public Speaking  
    This year, 51 youth participated in the prepared public speaking competition.  Stephanie McBath 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 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, 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.  Today, the state’s Holstein breeders and owners offer substantial contributions to the dairy industry and the state’s economy.

New York’s dairy industry is the leading agricultural producer in the state. In 2015, our nearly 5,000 dairy farms produced 14.1 billion pounds of milk, approximately seven percent of the nation’s total milk supply, making New York the fourth largest producer of milk in the country.

2016 Press Releases