Dairy idustry leaders from the Ozarks honored
Columbia MO–The Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation maintains and perpetuates the Dairy Hall of Honors in the Animal Science Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The MODHH Foundation provides an archive for the preservation of records and memorabilia of the Missouri dairy industry and honors leaders related to the dairy industry.
The 2015 awards were presented at an awards luncheon on the University of Missouri, Columbia campus on Feb. 5. A record breaking crowd of more than 90 people were in attendance.
2015 Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder Award
Keith Dixon of Phillipsburg, Missouri has been involved with dairying from a very young age. He helped his father with a small dairy farm in rural Cecilton, Maryland. After the family sold their cows and moved to town, Dixon worked when he could on neighboring farms.
He began college as a pre-vet student but switched his focus to Dairy Science, working towards his goal of owning his own herd of milk cows. After graduation from the University of Maryland in 1974, he took a job as a 4-H agent in Carroll County, MD—a very large dairy county. In that role he made connections with local dairymen which led to his milking cows. He milked with another family for a short while and then he and his wife moved to another farm to milk their own herd of Holsteins.
They build a quality herd of high producing, high type animals, garnering several herd production records over the ensuing years. Dixon’s children were interested in showing so he purchased and milked a few Guernseys alongside the primarily Holstein herd, including a Christmas gift in the early 1980’s named Jingle and Jingle’s subsequent offspring. The Dixon children showed both Holsteins and Guernseys.
Times were hard in Maryland and Dixon took a full time job with the University of Maryland as the Nutrient Management Consultant in Kent County, part of a pilot program.
In the early 1990’s, Dixon sold most of the herd but kept his Guernsey Jingle and a few Holstein heifers. He continued milking on the farm while working for the University. During the next ten years the Guernsey herd grew and the management focus shifted to intensive grazing. Cows were bred for type and high components, doing well in the barn and the show ring. By 2001 the herd had reached a rolling average of over 18,000 pounds of milk on grass, no silage. Dixon’s son Brett won numerous production awards with his cow Courtney, who made over 30,000M on grass. Several other cows would peak over 25,000.
In 1997, Dix-Lee animals came into their own. Dix-Lee Smokey Whiskey won Grand Champion at the junior show at the World Dairy Expo and was Reserve Grand Champion at the junior show at the North American. Dix-Lee Perfecto Fawna-TW was Grand at the junior show at Louisville. Thus began a long career in the spotlight for Dix-Lee animals in the Guernsey show scene.
Limited in Maryland for growth in farm size by location and high land prices, Dixon found a farm in Southwest Missouri. In March of 2002, along with his son Brett and daughter Katie, he began milking in Phillipsburg, Missouri. The Dixon family experienced a huge learning curve dairying in an area very different—yet similar, to the one left behind in Maryland. Breeding focus has continued to be on type: powerful cows with excellent feet and legs, wide deep bodies, and strongly attached udders that last. Dix-Lee cows are bred to be cows that milk well on grass with high components. Efficiency of converting grass and hay to high quality milk is Keith Dixon’s goal. He has used homebred bulls intensively. Initially, production took a major hit because of the move from Maryland, but has now climbed back to an FHA of 17,626M 796F 620P on the grazing farm.
Showing continues to be a top priority. Over the years, Dix-Lee bred and owned cows have been in the winner’s circle of state and national shows. Keith Dixon and his family take great pride in the fact that their show cows are home bred and are also the higher producing cows in their herd. Over 20 cows scored excellent in the 70 cow herd, ranging from 90 to a high of 94 points. Dix-Lee Tiller Joke topped the National Guernsey Convention Sale at $23,600 in 2007. She has gone on to be a tremendous brood cow and bull mother. She has several sons in AI and her daughters and granddaughters continue to excel in the show ring. In 2015, her granddaughter was Junior Champion at WDE and one of her sons sired the Reserve Junior Champion. Cows and bulls such as Dix-Lee Jester Freedom, Dix-Lee Kojack Fawn, son of Joke, have won multiple championships for years. Fawna, Joke and Fawn are all descendants of Keith Dixon’s original Maryland Guernsey Christmas gift, Jingle.
Dixon was president of the board of directors of the Maryland Guernsey Breeders’ Association prior to his move to Missouri, and has been president and a board member of the Missouri Guernsey Breeders’ Association for several years. He also served two four-year terms on the board of the American Guernsey Association. He has served faithfully on the AGA’s Promotion and Golden Guernsey committees for many years. His very proud of fostering and supporting his children’s love of Guernseys as well.
Keith Dixon is in partnership with his daughter Katie in their Missouri dairy farming operation, with help from his granddaughter Whitney. The farm is 100% Guernsey. Brett Dixon, his wife Jessica, and son have their own dairy where they milk Guernseys, Ayrshires and Holsteins. Son Travis chose to follow another profession but helps on the farm when he visits and supports the family’s interests in breeding, milk production and in the show ring.
Keith Dixon’s nomination was submitted by Dave Cochard of the Missouri Guernsey Breeders’ Association with multiple letters of support from dairymen such as Brian R. Schnebly, executive secretary of the American Guernsey Association, John O. Mozier, D.V.M., of Maryland, and Blaine Crosser, vice president of Select Sires, Inc.
2015 Meritorious Service Award
2015 Meritorious Service Award
Ted Probert spent his early years living on his family’s dairy farm near Jasper and Carthage, Missouri. He learned the dairy business from the ground up with a wide variety of first-hand experience. Always interested in animals and farming, Probert was active in 4H and later, FFA.
While in college at the University of Missouri, he met his wife Pam—also a student. After achieving his Master’s Degree, he and Pam married. He accepted a sales position with an artificial insemination company named the Northern Ohio Breeder’s Association (NOBA), which has since merged to now be called Genex. After servicing a sales territory covering eastern Missouri, Probert moved to Ohio where he continued working for NOBA as the Coordinator of Holstein progeny testing.
In 1985, Probert made a career move, accepting the position of Dairy Specialist with MU Extension in the Hartville office. As a land grant college, the extension service is designed to share knowledge and research information with the local community. A year after moving to Hartville, Probert brought a farm in the area.
Ted Probert built a small herd of Holstein heifers for his daughter Kate to show. Kate Probert has earned five separate Junior All-American nominations.
While raising the dairy show heifers, Probert branched out his cattle venture to include a beef herd of registered Gelbvieh cattle. He uses a rotational grazing system with high quality forages to maintain his cow herd. Through an AI breeding program, Probert has developed and maintained premium animals. He sells breeding bulls and is a member of the Seed Stock Plus organization. At present, he has five bulls participating in a bull test in Northern Missouri.
Serving as MU Extension dairy specialist for nearly thirty years, Probert has worked closely with dairy producers, dairy youth and community leaders. One of his major programmatic efforts in recent years has been pasture-based dairy production. Missouri has experienced a fifty percent drop in the number of licensed dairy farms since the mid 1990’s. Rising input costs and fluctuations in the price farmers receive for milk have triggered this trend. Economic reality led producers to search for an alternative system of dairying whereby milk could be produced with less reliance of off-farm inputs. The pasture-based production system that Probert promotes offers a viable alternative.
Probert’s education programming in pasture-based dairying has targeted local, state and national audiences. His teaching focuses on four system components critical to successful pasture-based milk production: management of the cow, forage system management, facilities design and management, and providing a viable career path for dairymen.
Probert has always been interested in dairy cattle genetics. He has made dairy cattle breeding presentations to several international groups visiting the University of Missouri. Given his interest in dairy genetics, he was a natural to work with 4-H youth teaching the skills of dairy cattle judging and showing.
Probert serves a co-coordinator of the Missouri state dairy judging program, including the selection, training and coaching of Missouri’s state 4-H dairy judging team. Under his leadership, the 2013 team placed second at the Invitational Youth Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and sixth with two All-Americans at the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest in Madison, Wisconsin. As a result of their outstanding performance, the team was invited to compete internationally as a part of the 2014 International Dairy Youth Tour, placing second while competing in both Scotland and Ireland. Ted Probert has also served on the planning committee for the Missouri 4-H Cow Camp since its inception in 1997.
Besides his roles as MU Extension dairy specialist and farmer, Probert has been active in working with the Wright County Soil and Water Conservation Board, helping with their educational program. He also served as an Extension County Program Director in Wright County.
2015 Pioneer Dairy Leader Awards
Jerry R. King
Born in Butler, Missouri, Jerry King graduated from Adrian High School in 1953 where he served as FFA president and was honored as FFA State Farmer and FFA American Farmer. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture in 1957 from the University of Missouri. While in college, he served on the University’s Dairy Judging Team and was president of the Agriculture Club, vice-president of his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Sigma, and president of Ruf Nex.
Among his many notable endeavors, King will perhaps be remembered best as a dairy farmer, and proudly, as a State Representative for Missouri’s 125th District, serving from 1998 through 2004.
King began dairy farming with his brother-in-law, Edward H. Steele in 1957, milking 270 registered Holstein cows daily. They formed a family corporation in 1972: Steele & King Farms, Inc. Their motto was “We milk our show cows and show our milk cows.” King’s son Rick King joined the corporation in 1980 as a junior partner. In 1994, the Steele and King families were given the Missouri State Fair Family Recognition Award. The S&K prefix was widely known at home, at sales, and in the show ring. From 1974 to 1984, the farming operation also included a registered Angus and Simmental herd.
In addition to milk production, breeding, showing cows and farming, King and his partners were active in dairy related civic activities. The organization and operation of the Bates County Fair was of great importance to King, prompting him to serve as chairman of the organization committee in 1972, and continuing as president of the Bates County Fair Board, 1973-78. His involvement and contributions to the field of agriculture, dairy farming, and education in both, was extensive. At the local level, he was a 4-H leader from 1960-80.
Jerry King served on the board of directors and later as president of the Missouri Holstein Association. He was a member of the Holstein USA board of directors, where he also served as chairman of both the field operations and finance committees. He served on the board of the Mid-American Dairymen (Kansas City Division), the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Central Council Division 3, the executive committee of the Kansas City Area Dairy Council and as well, the World Dairy Expo board of directors.
King became an approved Holstein judge in 1970, and his judging took him to national and state fairs throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. He also worked with the United State Foreign Agriculture Service and the Holstein Association USA in Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru. King served on the advisory committee of the Missouri State Fair and he volunteered overseas in a cooperative assistance assignment to Russia, an effort to help dissolve collective farms in 1994.
His extensive involvement in not only agriculture programs and education, but local and statewide community organizations, helped him become elected in 1998 to the Missouri General Assembly, where he represented the 125th district. His committee memberships included the committees for Elections, Children, Families & Health, Retirement, Agriculture, Conservation, State Parks and Mining. He was later appointed to the National Beef Board by the Secretary of Agriculture in 2004, and was appointed to the Missouri State Fair Commission by the Governor.
Jerry King was honored throughout his life with awards in recognition of his extensive civic efforts. Among them, MU Alumni Citation of Merit, Butler Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year 1974, and in 1981, he received a Missouri Chamber of Commerce Appreciation Award. In 1995, Steele & King Farms was honored with the Distinguished Breeder Award from the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation. In 2000, he was named a Missouri Farm Bureau Friend of Agriculture. In 2004, he was recognized by the MU Ag Alumni Association as the University of Missouri, College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Alumnus of the Year.
King was a member of the Butler First Christian Church, where he served as elder, deacon, and chairman of the board of directors. In 2012, he was named Elder Emeritus. A member of the Butler Lion’s Club, he also held memberships in the Missouri Cattlemen and the National Cattlemen’s Association.
Jerry R. King was born January 7, 1935 in Butler, Missouri. He was the son of Richard H. and Mary Irene (Showalter) King. He passed away in 2013, survived by his wife Jeanette, son Rick, daughters Julie and Jana, and four grandchildren.
Affectionately known as “Papa Hood” by his students and the community, W.H. Hood, prepared many young Pleasant Hope vocational agriculture students for the roles they would play throughout their lives. Besides teaching the curriculum, Hood supported and inspired his students as a mentor, counselor and visionary. He taught them lessons in investing for the future, public speaking and most significantly, striving for excellence.
Hood led many Pleasant Hope FFA dairy cattle judging teams to compete at the district and state levels. His 1958 team scored so highly that they were chosen to represent Missouri in the National Dairy Cattle Judging competition, taking second place. Noel and Lloyd Boyd were members of that team.
In 1976, Hood’s dairy judging team won the national contest which led to the Pleasant Hope team representing the U.S. in the International Dairy Cattle Judging completion in Europe. In 1977, they won the World Dairy Judging contest at the Royal Welsh Show in the United Kingdom. To prepare for the international level of competition, Hood took the team to Europe to study breeds prior to the competition. They traveled to various locations, learning about the qualifications set for the different breeds. They went to Friesland to study Holsteins, the English Channel islands of Guernsey and Jersey to study the cows with those namesakes, and Wales to study the Ayrshire.
Teaching for thirty-four years, Hood had a huge impact on the community that lasted for decades. The new Pleasant Hope Vocational Agriculture building has been named in his honor. He was known to be tough by expecting excellence from his students, but he also gave them the tools to achieve excellence. In addition to teaching at Pleasant Hope and coaching the dairy judging teams, W.H. Hood taught night classes for returning veterans after the war.
In his nomination letter, William Auston Erwin wrote that W.H. Hood taught him key business and life skills. Hood worked with Erwin to enable him to buy his first registered heifer. Under Hood’s guidance, in 1974 he put together $1,200 from hauling hay and milking neighbor’s cows. Erwin stated that Hood walked him through the process, resulting with that heifer ultimately winning as the Southwest Missouri Junior Champion.
Subsequently, Erwin purchased other Holsteins enabling him to pay his way through college, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Computer Science and Business Administration. Erwin credits W.H. Hood for teaching him the skills to achieve his lifetime goals, remembering him as a remarkable person. “He knew just how far to stretch a student for them to reach their fullest potential—to help them believe in themselves and achieve their dreams.” Erwin was a member of the 1977 team that won the World Dairy Judging Contest in Europe.
Through Hood’s leadership, mentorship and friendship, he encouraged many students such as the Lloyd and Noel Boyd, Larry Laney, Duane Weatherly, Chuck Gettle, Stan Sechler and Mark Highfill to reach their goals.
In support of Hood’s nomination for the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Pioneer Award, dairy writer and historian Dr. John Underwood wrote, “Papa Hood did not care if you were the superintendent’s son or from the poorest family in town, he treated each student equally and was responsible for many of their later successes in life. People still talk about “Papa” Hood in reverent tones,” said Underwood. “Hood knew how to teach, and instilled in his students his expectations of excellence. His final legacy was the impact he had on hundreds of FFA students at Pleasant Hope, as well as the national and international recognition he brought to the state.”
W.H. Hood earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree in Dairy Management at the University of Missouri. His son, Dennis Hood is a well-respected large animal veterinarian in Bolivar and his grandson, Bruce Hood, D.V.M., specializes in small animals. Bruce Hood owns and operates the Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Bolivar, originally founded by his father Dennis.