By MELISSA HART
HILLSDALE, Mich. — Dairymen were honored and bowling balls juggled Jan. 5, at the annual Hillsdale County Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) Awards banquet at the Dow Center on the campus of Hillsdale College.
Dairy producers from Hillsdale and Branch counties were honored for their hard work and dedication on the farm. After dinner, the two counties’ DHI held their annual meeting, reviewing the secretary’s minutes and treasurer’s report. What followed was an introduction of all the sponsors of the banquet and a report of the Hillsdale County 4-H program.
With the business done, comedic variety performer Tim Salisbury of St. Johns, Mich., entertained the audience with his juggling and balancing feats. He juggled apples, hammers, bowling pins and bowling balls in between balancing a bike on his forehead, along with a bowling ball, in addition to various other tricks.
Audience participation was included in his act as he convinced Jonesville dairy producer Steve Denning and local Farm Bureau Insurance agent Brent Leininger to assist in juggling toilet paper and a plunger.
The awards were next on the agenda, as DHI technician Jim Place handed out the hardware. The first award was for the highest-producing herd milking two times a day and it went to Stanley Ferris of Somerset, with the award sponsored by Countryside Vet Clinic, also of Somerset.
The high herd award for three times a day milking went to Steve and Doug Denning of Jonesville, with County National Bank of Hillsdale sponsoring the honor.
The High Jersey Herd award went to Susan Green of St. Johns, with her cows being housed at Easterday Farms of Camden. The award was sponsored by Greenstone Farm Credit Service. Green also earned the High Jersey Cow award sponsored by Jack L. Smith Agency of Hillsdale.
The High Individual Cow award for three times a day milking went to Preston Farms of Quincy for their cow 2633, which had a record of 36,449 pounds of milk and a dollar value of $6,300. The award was sponsored by J&M Dairy Equipment of Hillsdale.
The High Individual Cow award for two times a day milking went to Chris and Jeremy Brenner of Litchfield, for cow number 301 that had a record of 35,176 pounds of milk and a dollar value of $5,294. The award was sponsored by Hillsdale Feed Co., of Hillsdale.
The Brenners also won the High Lifetime Cow award for cow number 80, which had a lifetime production record of 286,891 pounds of milk, 9,040 pounds of butterfat and 7,663 pounds of protein over nine lactations. The award was sponsored by Leininger Farm Bureau Insurance Agency of Hillsdale.
The Milk Quality award was sponsored by Litchfield Grain of Litchfield, and was awarded to Ted and Jonathan Keenan of Pittsford.
Stanley Ferris of Somerset had a double win, with the herd with the greatest increase in one year and the herd with the greatest increase over five years. The awards were sponsored by Maxon Milk Hauling, Inc. of Pittsford and the Michigan Milk Producers Assoc., respectively.
Kaitlyn Mann of Camden finished up the awards by being named the Outstanding Young Dairy Person. This award was sponsored by NorthStar Cooperative in Lansing.
The evening concluded with a report from NorthStar DHI representative Jenny Sheridan.