Dairy youth ages 9 to 21 are invited to attend the National Holstein Junior Convention June 26 to July 1 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center during the 2022 National Holstein Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“It’s a time when the adults can get together for their annual business meeting and the youth can get together for activities such as quiz bowl, speech, jeopardy or scrapbooking,” Kris Gruenes said. “They are able to compete against various states in the country and connect with other youth.”
Gruenes is the Minnesota Junior Holstein Association advisor and chair of the National Holstein Junior Convention. She milks 3,200 cows and farms with her family on Twin Spruce Farm which has two sites in Richmond and Perham.
Also planning the junior convention is MJHA president Taylor Fester. He grew up on his grandpa’s farm, Co-Jo Dairy, near Grove City where they milk about 1,100 cows.
Typically, 450 youth attend the convention.
This year will be the 136th National Holstein Convention and the 51st convention for juniors.
“It’s held in a different state every year and in a convenient spot for everybody,” Gruenes said. “It’s pretty neat that it’s been going on that long.”
This will also be Fester’s first year at the National Holstein Convention.
“I’m excited to meet new people from across the country and go on farm tours,” he said. “I have had a great time planning the convention.”
The junior convention is an opportunity for youth to gather with others who have similar interests in dairy industry and the activities that go with it.  In addition to the contests, the meeting new friends and seeing old friends is the highlight of the convention.
For juniors, the convention will start with a welcome, dance and prize giveaway June 27 from 5:30-10 p.m. in the Galley Ballroom of the Ramada Hotel.
Anyone is welcome to view the contests that junior members participate in.  Dairy jeopardy and dairy quiz bowl are the most popular with many states sending individuals and teams to compete.  Banners, displays, scrapbooks, and speech are others that individuals compete in. The week concludes July 1 with an awards banquet where Holstein Association USA, Inc. presents awards for these contests.  Also that day they present their highest honor by selecting the six National Distinguished Junior Member Finalists.
“It’s really just a time when different states are able to come together and reminisce,” Gruenes said. “Junior Holstein members will represent their home states competing in the dairy jeopardy, dairy bowl and speech contests; interviewing for the selection of Distinguished Junior Member and Young Distinguished Junior Member, and have their banners, display boards and scrapbooks judged.”
On June 29, junior members will tour Trans Ova Genetics in Sioux Center, Iowa, and spend the afternoon at a waterpark.
“The tour will be about the genetics of animals and speakers will be sharing a positive message,” Gruenes said. “In today’s world, we need that.”
The day will conclude with an evening for both youth and adults. They will hear a speech from Chris Koch titled, “If I can.”
“He was born without limbs and travels around on a skateboard,” said Gruenes of Koch. “His message is that if I can, you can too.”
The following day will be the dairy quiz bowl contest and a data and innovations panel at 11:30 a.m. featuring Dan Carroll from STgenetics, Alicia Lamb from Oakfield Corners and Tim Ziemba from smaXtec Inc. The panel will be moderated by Josh Hushon of Cargill Animal Nutrition.
“The speakers will be talking about opportunities of technology in the dairy industry and the experiences students can obtain in attending a college,” Gruenes said.
Gruenes said her children always enjoyed the farm tours.
“They liked seeing different farm setups and meeting people from other states and getting to connect with them year after year,” she said.
Fester agreed.
“More connections, learning and different experiences always help you in the long run,” he said. “Youth also enjoy hanging out with people from Minnesota on the rides there.”
Gruenes and Fester encourage youth to get involved and meet people from across the country.
“Get out of your core group, participate in the activities and reach out to people who are not necessarily from your state,” he said.
Youth are to register for the convention by May 31 at www.2022nationalholsteinconvention.com.