January 17, 2022 at 3:30 a.m.
The association’s top junior awards, the Wisconsin Outstanding Holstein Boy and Wisconsin Outstanding Holstein Girl, were presented to Brian “Mac” McCullough of Juda and Hannah Hockerman of Westfield.
McCullough, 20, is the son of Chris and Kathie McCullough. He is attending Madison Area Technical College and works as an electrician and on his family’s Rock-N-Hill-II dairy farm where they milk 55 registered Holsteins.
“It was pretty cool to be honored like that,” McCullough said of hearing his name announced at the awards banquet. “It was one of those things you don’t necessarily expect to happen.”
McCullough has spent his youth growing up and working on his family’s Green County dairy farm and has developed a passion for breeding top-quality registered Holsteins.
“I started out showing in the 10-and-under classes, and then I moved on to showing older heifers,” McCullough said. “I really enjoy the hands-on work with the cattle.”
That enjoyment has led McCullough to begin to hone his clipping abilities.
“When I got my driver’s license, I started doing more clipping and working for people at shows,” McCullough said. “I have met so many different people and have learned so much about that aspect of the industry. The people make it fun to do.”
McCullough encourages other youth to put their all into whatever path they chose to follow.
“You get out of life what you put into it,” he said. “The only thing that can hold you back from being successful is you. People are always looking for help, and if you apply yourself, you can gain traction. Our industry is reputation-based. Hard work gets recognized and is appreciated.”
Hockerman, 19, is the daughter of Greg and Dawn Hockerman. Hockerman is in her sophomore year studying agriculture education and dairy science at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, where she also plays on the school’s softball team.
“I was in shock when I realized they were talking about me; it was a feeling of disbelief,” Hockerman said of the award presentation. “It is something every Wisconsin Junior Holstein member dreams of. It is so rewarding to have all my hard work and dedication pay off like that.”
Hockerman was raised on her family’s 700-cow Marquette County dairy farm and began her junior career showing at the district show and participating in dairy bowl. She became active in the District 5 Junior Holstein Breeders and served as an officer in the group for several years before being elected to the state’s Junior Activities Committee.
“Being a JAC was a great opportunity for me to grow my leadership skills,” Hockerman said. “For me, it was about encouraging young people to be more active in our industry and to really think about the impact they can create.”
Hockerman’s plans include entering the field of agriculture education and continuing to mentor youth toward impacting the dairy industry.
“I was lucky to have some great role models within this industry, and I want to be able to be that person for someone else,” Hockerman said. “I credit Marci Walker with encouraging me to move beyond my comfort zone; first with dairy bowl, then with award forms and finally with running for JAC.”
Hockerman said she would advise other junior members to decide what they are passionate about and pursue that love.
“Life gets busy, but there is always time for your passion,” Hockerman said. “For me, it is agriculture and softball. Never be afraid to push your boundaries and your comfort zone. Do what you love even if it makes you busy.”
McCullough, Hockerman, Elise Bleck of Glenbeulah and Marissa Vosberg of Monroe were selected to represent Wisconsin in the National Distinguished Junior Member contest.
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