Foster, Allen named to Holstein Hall of Fame
Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade
Special Sections Editor
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Holstein Convention is a time to celebrate the Holstein cow and the accomplishments of the breeders and industry leaders of Pennsylvania. On Feb. 28, two long-time Holstein breeders were honored for their leadership — Rick Allen of Smock, Pa., and John Foster, Jr. of Petersburg, Pa.
Both showed their disbelief and excitement at joining many of their mentors as members of the Hall of Fame.
“To think my name is going to be on that wall with people I admire it just blows me away,” Allen said of the past award winners listed in the board room at the association headquarters.
“You have a passion to do something, and that passion can light a fire in you. But I am speaking to the choir, I think we have all experienced that passion.” Allen said passion, along with a commitment to faith, can result in great success.
Foster was equally awed at his selection and looked to his one granddaughter asking why she did not tell him about this honor beforehand.
“I had no idea this was coming,” Foster said of his selection. “Everything I do have, comes from God,” and shared his belief in taking care of the farm to the best of his ability.
Allen and Foster have been active in the state and county Holstein associations, have chaired regional Holstein championship shows, and have developed quality Holstein cattle.
Allen is the sixth generation to operate the family farm in Smock, Pa. He joined the family operation after graduating from Penn State in 1972. He operated the farm in partnership with his father Ralph and brother Ron. The farm grew from a 40-cow dairy to 130 cows. The herd has a rolling herd average of 23,081 pounds of milk, 848 pounds of fat and 732 pounds of protein. They have bred or developed 51 excellent-scored cattle. Allen said when he returned to the farm, the rolling herd average matched the volume of milk they made in one day on the farm today.
Rick and Ron started Allen's Haunted Hayrides in 1980, considered one of the first haunted hayrides in Pennsylvania.
Outside of the farm, Allen has been the Fayette County (Holstein) Show chair since 1976. Other activities include the county fair board, the Fayette County Conservation District Board, Farm Bureau, the county Extension board, and he is a member of the AgChoice Farm Credit board of directors. Allen and his wife Sandy have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Foster has lived his entire life on the family farm. While the dairy herd was dispersed in 2012, Ken Umble said “John remains the driving force behind Globe-Run Holsteins yet today, since their dispersal in 2012 they continue to develop the Globe-Run brand.”
When the herd was sold, it was garnered one of the top 10 highest sale averages for a farm dispersal in the country. The herd has been noted for quality cattle. Foster has bred more than 100 excellent scored cows, and set the twice a day milking, 365-day record with the cow, Globe-Run Formation Magic, producing 65,210 pounds of milk. They have also exported cattle to Canada, Mexico, Japan, Turkey and Columbia.
But, Foster did not start at the top, but at the bottom in the show ring according to Umble. Foster looked at pedigrees and sought advice from other farmers to improve.
Foster remembered many of the breeders that influenced his success in breeding top-quality cattle, most notably Obie Snider, a fellow Holstein breeder.
“I remember the first time I beat Obie Snider in the ring and he came over and congratulated me,” Foster said. Snider and others were willing to share advice when he was starting out his career.
He also thanked his son, Andy, for helping him to continue development of the herd until the herd sale. “I could not have done it without him,” he said.
Showing cows is a family affair at Globe-Run. They used the shows as a way to market their cattle. And, it was also a time for family. Foster and his wife Alice have five children and 14 grandchildren.
The family also hosted may judging teams, tours, judging schools and school tours at the farm.
Foster is also active in the local agriculture community. He helped to establish the local DHIA program and served on the county dairy promotion committee. He was the first farmer to receive Huntington County’s Outstanding Contributor to Dairy Award in 1973.
The 2014 Distinguished Young Breeder Award was presented to Douglas and Jennifer Boop from Millmont, Pa. Their farm, Heart & Soul Holsteins, was established with the purchase of the cow Garstlyn Broker Reba. Today, the farm has 84 registered Holsteins with a rolling herd average of 27,606 pounds of milk, 1,108 pounds of fat and 871 pounds of protein. The herd has 13 Excellent and 19 Very Good scored cows.
"Their philosophy is to breed for type and feed for milk," said Barry England before presenting the award. "Breeding a high producing cow with a pedigree filled with excellent dams is one of their greatest focuses."
The Boops, along with sons Doug and Matt, have earned many All-Pennsylvania, Junior All-Pennsylvania, All-American and Junior All-American awards with their Holsteins. They have has success in the show ring at many state and regional shows. In addition, they have served on many county and state committees and have hosted Holstein youth at their farm for judging schools.
“We strive to do the best we can do and the Holstein ties it all together,” Doug Boop said. He recognized his family for their continued support.
Herb Steele of Tunkhannock was also honored as the Distinguished Supporter Award. This award is presented to someone who is not a dairy farmer, but has supported and enhanced the work of the Holstein Association.
“Thank you, this is much appreciated,” Steele said during his short acceptance speech.
Ken Raney, association executive secretary, said that Steele has a 60-year career in the dairy industry. He started his career as a DHIA supervisor, but in 1953 he trained to be an AI technician and started inseminating cows with fresh semen. Shortly thereafter, he started his own bull stud, Golden Genes Inc., where he processed semen and inseminated cows. He was one of the first to freeze and commercially use frozen semen. He eventually was hired by Taurus Service Inc. as an area sales representative in 1978 working full time until 1999, and part-time from then until full retirement in 2012. Many breeders enjoyed working with Steele as they helped with herd matings and breeding decisions.
"His community involvement also centers around the Holstein cow," Raney said as he listed his activities and awards. Steele was a part of the group that revived the Kiwanis Wyoming County Fair in 1986. He is a founding member of the fair's dairy show committee. Steele also helped with the founding of the Northern Tier Holstein Championship Show. The Wyoming-Lackawanna County Holstein Club named Steele to their Hall of Fame in 2000.
The convention wrapped up on March 1 with its annual convention sale in the Snider Agricultural Arena on the Penn State campus. The sale had a strong showing according to the Holstein association with an overall sale average of $3,889 on the 85 lots of cattle and embryos sold at the sale. The live cattle sale average was $3,933 on the 83 lots.
Topping the sale was Golden-Rose Braxs Ripley-ET consigned by Golden-Rose Holsteins of Oxford, Pa. She was purchased by the Ripley Syndicate of Buhl, Idaho. The second highest selling animal was Penn-England Gifian 9905-ET from Penn England LLC of Williamsburg, Pa. The heifer was sold to Sheldon Martin of Sparta, Wis. Rounding out the top three was Ladys-Manor A RD Shanel-ET from Ladys Manor LLC of Monkton, Md. She was sold to Golden Oaks Farm of Wauconda, Ill.