September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Herberg, Henkes among six Distinguished Junior Member finalists

By Heidi deGier- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Megan Herberg, St. Peter, Minn. and Leah Henkes, Luana, Iowa, were among six junior Holstein members honored as Distinguished Junior Member (DJM) finalists during the National Junior Holstein Convention Awards Luncheon held June 29 at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.
"It's a huge honor," Herberg said. "All 12 semifinalists and I'm sure a lot more kids that sent in applications from their state that didn't make the semifinals, they're all qualified. We're all in this for the same thing; our passion for the Holstein cow, not only what it's done for us in the past but probably more importantly, where it's going to go in the future."
Henkes received a big hug from her grandmother, Glenda Henkes and said words cannot explain how happy she was after hearing her name announced as a finalist
"I was completely shocked, I didn't expect it at all," Henkes said. "I was just so happy to be a semifinalist. There's so much work that goes into being a semifinalist. We all worked together all week and we've had a lot of fun together. I met a lot of new people and made life-long friends this week."
Also recognized as finalists were Jacob Brey, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Katie Hanehan, Stillwater, N.Y.; Benjamin Kinnard, Sturgeon Bay, Wis. and Maureen Lee, Johnson Creek, Wis. Being named a DJM finalist is the highest honor a junior Holstein member may receive and is based on outstanding work throughout their dairy project career. Each of the six finalists was presented with a special DJM pin and each will receive annual renewed membership to Holstein Association USA.
The six finalists were chosen from 12 semifinalists who were interviewed during the convention. The 12 semifinalists were selected based on an entry book that included the story of their junior Holstein work, information about their cattle, involvement in school and community activities and personal view questions.
"I put a lot of time and effort into the application," Herberg said. "The junior Holstein project is pretty much my life. It's my last year as a junior and I can't think of any better way to finish it off."
Herberg grew up on a grade Holstein farm and became interested in registered Holsteins at a young age, purchasing her first registered Holstein heifer when she was 10 years old.
"My older brother and I wanted to get more involved in showing and be a little bit more competitive," Herberg said about buying her first registered Holstein.
Herberg (21) said that her parents, Steven and Kathy Herberg, have been very supportive of her registered Holstein venture.
The Herberg family currently milks 60 cows and farms 1,000 acres. Megan and her siblings, Matt and Molly, own 25 registered Holsteins.
The most influential purchase that Herberg and her family have made was a heifer purchased from Budjon Farms in 2006.
"She was our first All-State cow and is becoming quite a brood cow for us," Megan said. "She had two daughters sell for $15,000 last Friday (June 25)."
Megan and her siblings breed cattle under the Lake-Prairie prefix, taken from the township they live in. The family started exhibiting their registered Holsteins locally, then the Minnesota State Fair and State Show and more recently at the World Dairy Expo (WDE). Megan spent four weeks this past winter with a registered Holstein breeder in Switzerland and attended the Swiss Expo, which is similar to the World Dairy Expo.
Herberg will be a senior this fall at the University of Minnesota majoring in animal science with an emphasis in dairy production and a minor in applied economics.
Megan said that she and Matt for sure and possibly Molly would like to return to the home farm and take over the operation.
"We would like to have all registered Holsteins and hopefully build a new freestall barn and milk more cows," Herberg said.
Herberg would like to continue working with what she loves, the registered cow.
"Whether it's somewhere in the Midwest or it takes me somewhere to one of the coasts or to Canada for a couple years, I'm not sure," Herberg said. "There's a lot to learn. I've had a lot of great experiences with some great cows and a lot of great people. I really love to learn. The only way you're going to get to the top is learning from people that are there."
Herberg credits Joe and Ev Stransky and Reid and Daria Stransky with much of her success in the registered Holstein business. She's shown with them for four years.
"I've learned so much from Reid and I owe them a lot," she said. "I would not be where I am today without their guidance. I hope I can help a youth someday like he's helped me."
Herberg said that she would love to have a barn full of heifers that she could lease out.
"Any kid that I can find that wants to be involved and wants to work hard at something that can offer such great rewards as the Holstein project, I would love to help them anyway I can," Herberg said.
Herberg has been a Holstein World intern for the past three years and plans to continue to write for the magazine on a part-time basis.
Henkes, who has attended 10 Holstein conventions over the years starting with the 2001 National Junior Holstein Convention in Iowa, competed in Dairy Jeopardy at her first convention.
"I didn't do very well that first year, so that made me want to do more," she said. "Before attending junior Holstein conventions, I knew there were other opportunities, but I wasn't aware of how much fun they could be and how interesting they were. I had shown at the local fairs and I had done this and helped with that, but I didn't realize there was more to it."
"After Iowa, I realized how much there was to do," Henkes continued. "Iowa's junior team had won that year and I saw how fast they were on the buzzer and I really looked up to that team and knew someday I could do that, too. The next year, I was blessed to be the captain of our team when we won in 2002. Ever since then, I have been hooked on junior activities."
Henkes has also competed in Public Speaking and the Folding Display Contest and was a member of Iowa's 2009 National Champion Senior Dairy Bowl Team.
"Finishing my year out with a National DJM really means a lot to me because over the years I always watched the videos and I see who they are and now looking back on it, they are some of the most influential people in our association and they've gone on to do a lot of great things," Henkes said. "I just hope I can live up to the expectations of what all the other past DJMs have done."
Henkes (20) and her family operate Henkeseen Holsteins in northeast Iowa. Her family includes parents, Trent and Leslie Henkes and one brother, Matt. The Henkeses milk 60 registered Holsteins in a tie-stall barn and farm 150 acres of corn and alfalfa.
One of Leah's favorite chores on the farm is milking.
"We really have a lot of fun milking together," she said. "That's one of the times we spend most of our time together. We always have fun conversations in the barn."
Leah and her family go to eight shows a year including county, district, state, regional and national shows.
"I've shown some Black and Whites at Expo, but we have a lot of Red and Whites that we show at Expo and we've been pretty successful in the Red and White shows," Henkes said.
Henkes and her family are also very active in dairy judging. Leah's father is a coach for their county teams and both Leah and her brother have been on state championship 4-H teams and judged at the national 4-H contest at WDE.
"My dad has coached a lot of state dairy judging champion teams," Leah said. "I've learned a lot from my parents and they've really instilled in me what it means to be a farm kid, to make it fun to get up in the morning to do chores and whatever you're going to do during the day, it's going to be fun and if not, you're going to learn something from it."
"They've really been very good about letting Matt and I take very active roles in the leadership of our farm," Leah continued. "Even since we were 10 years old, Matt and I have had a say in everything we do at home. We always have family discussions before we do something."
Henkes has been a Holstein World intern since she was 16 years old when an article she wrote about dairy judging was published. She has done breeder profiles in Iowa as well as covering sales and shows in the state during her internship.
This fall Henkes will be a junior at Iowa State University majoring in dairy science and ag and life sciences education. Henkes plans to continue her education after graduation by seeking a master's degree in nutrition. This summer Henkes has been working with Dr. Lance Baumgard doing nutrition research at the ISU dairy farm.
"That's given me an opportunity to see what large dairies are like and the ins and outs of those operations," Henkes said. "A lot of it I had no idea what it was like since I grew up with a 60-cow tie-stall barn, so I'm learning about parlors and freestalls and how a large university works along with the aspect of the university with the challenges and exciting things that a university has to offer with a dairy farm."
Leah would like to return home to Henkeseen Holsteins and farm with her brother, Matt. She also has the ambition of teaching either high school agriculture and helping with the FFA program and 4-H or teaching nutrition at a community college.
"I'd like to thank the Holstein Association, both my state association and the national association for all the opportunities they've offered me," Henkes said. "I definitely would not be where I am today without the support of my parents, coaches, friends and the business people I've met throughout this association and many other associations related to dairy. Dairy really is my life and it's meant a lot to me to be part of the industry."
Mark Simon, a DJM semifinalist from Farley, Iowa, won the Kiss the Cow Contest for raising the most money of the 12 semifinalists during the convention for the Holstein Foundation. Simon's parents are Tom and Shirley Simon.
Charlie Hamilton of Cuba City, Wis., was honored as one of eight Young Distinguished Junior Members (YDJM). He is the son of John and Evie Hamilton.
The DJM program honors youth ages 17 to 21 and was started in 1922 and the YDJM program recognizes youth ages 9 to 16 and was begun in 2004. Both contests recognize youth who have excelled in their junior project work, involvement on their farm and in their communities.
[[In-content Ad]]


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

sep 23, 2023 @ 9:00am