The National Holstein Convention is coming to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 20 to 24, and the host Pennsylvania Holstein Association has announced the farm tours that will be part of the event.
Distinguished YoungBreeders Tour
Monday, June 21, Ridge and Valley Region
Heart and Soul Holsteins and Jerseys, Millmont: The Boop family milks 42 cows with a tie-stall barn with a bedded pack for the show cows.
The farm’s breed age average is 113.9%, ninth in the nation, and the Boops received the Pennsylvania Distinguished Young Breeder Award in 2014. The Boops also operate two 40,000-hen layer houses and a Trans Ova satellite center.
DryHouse Farm, Belleville: The Yoder family milks 220 Holsteins and farms 260 acres. Since 2009, they have bred 35 Excellent and 217 Very Good cows, as well as owning 30 additional Excellent and 140 Very Good cows.
The Yoders have sent five bulls to artificial insemination service and received the Pennsylvania Distinguished Young Breeder Award in 2016.
Millwork Holsteins, Thompsontown: Joel and Sara Mills, first-generation farmers, milk 116 cows in a freestall/parlor setup. They have bred 32 Excellent cows since starting their herd in 2003, and breed for high components and milk production as well as high type.
They won both the state and national Pennsylvania Distinguished Young Breeder awards in 2015.
Pennsylvania Breeders Tour
Wednesday, June 23, South-Central Pennsylvania
Breakfast at Brook-Corner Holsteins, Lebanon: The Hoovers milk 375 cows in a facility built in 2012. There are 29 Excellent and 172 Very Good cows in the herd, and the Hoovers breed with a focus on production and health traits.
They also have a group of show cows, including descendants of World Dairy Expo champion Rosiers Blexy Goldwyn-ET, which once called Brook-Corner home.
Mercer Vu Farm, Mercersburg: The Hissong family milks 3,200 cows in a freestall/parlor facility. The Hissongs have used artificial insemination since the 1970s, focusing on sound cows with combined fat and protein, good feet and legs, good udders, and a solid mix of health traits.
All replacement heifers are produced with sexed semen out of virgin heifers and first-lactation animals, while all others are bred with beef.
Oakleigh Farm, Mercersburg: The Brake family milks 120 registered cows. After a 2019 barn fire, the Brakes rebuilt with robotic milkers, feeders and manure removal. They use a compost bedded pack.
The Oakleigh herd has a breed age average of 106.2%, with 13 Excellent and 37 Very Good cows. The Brakes focus on the A2A2 gene and polled bulls as service sires.
Amish to “English” Tour
Wednesday, June 23, Lancaster Area
This tour will also visit New Holland Agriculture.
Star Rock Farm, Conestoga: The Barley family milks 1,630 registered cows in a double-20 parallel parlor.
There are 117 Excellent cows, two of which are EX94, and 1,608 Very Good cows, which are housed in a sand-bedded freestall barn with a flush system.
The Barleys believe they have been able to sell hundreds of cattle over the years because they have registered, high-type animals.
Chestrspring Holsteins: Ben and Fannie Kauffman started their herd when they bought a group of springing heifers from Canada in 2009. In their 52-cow tie-stall herd, they already have 10 Excellent cows and 35 Very Good cows with many promising, unscored 2-year-olds.
They bred the youth grand champion of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association Spring Show, Chestrspring Dreams Amy-ET.
Cows to Cones Tour
Wednesday, June 23, Southeastern Pennsylvania
Merrymead Farm, Lansdale: The Rothenberger family processes, packages and sells the milk from its registered Holstein herd in an on-farm store. The family also produces heavy cream, buttermilk, half-and-half, and ice cream.
September Farm, Honey Brook: Dave and Roberta Rotelle process and package cheese in their state-of-the art cheese-making facility at their store. They make specialty cheeses, cheese curds and yogurt, and sell cheese gift baskets. They offer a full lunch menu.
Klein Farms Dairy and Creamery, Easton: Layne and Beth Klein make cheese and yogurt in a farm store they opened in 2004. Son Jacob and his wife, Amanda, manage the cows with a special interest in breeding and Holstein genetics.
The family sells 20 flavors of homemade ice cream.
Attending the Convention
The convention, postponed from last year because of the pandemic, will be based in the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Besides the farm tours, the event will include the national Holstein annual meeting, sightseeing tours, a golf outing and youth competitions.
The finale will be the cattle sale on Thursday, June 24, at the West Lampeter Fairgrounds.
Masks must be worn at all events.
For more information about the convention, call the Pennsylvania Holstein Association at 814-234-0364 or go to 2021nationalholsteinconvention.com