Pa. Holstein Convention will reflect on 100 years with ‘the power of the cow’
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- “The power of the cow” is the passion that calls Holstein breeders and enthusiasts, by the hundreds, to the 2013 Pennsylvania Holstein Convention here at the Pittsburgh Marriott North on Thursday, February 28 through Saturday, March 2.
The convention festivities begin with registration on February 28th, and will include the customary meetings as well as phenomenal touring opportunities Thursday and Friday, followed -- fittingly -- by Mr. Horace Backus as speaker offering 100 years of Pennsylvania Holstein history for the 100th Pennsylvania Holstein Convention dinner Friday night. The fast-paced three days of cow-powered passion then culminates with the Convention Sale on Saturday.
Beginning Thursday, Feb. 28, an extensive dairy bar and commercial exhibits will be available to convention goers from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. During this first day of the convention, a Holstein Association Board of Directors Meeting will be conducted from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
From 12:00p.m. until 4:30p.m., a tour of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning, and other historic Pittsburgh sites will also be available.
The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a Victorian greenhouse constructed in 1893 entirely of steel and glass. The creation of Henry Phipps, Jr., this historic greenhouse sits in the midst of Schenley Park -- one of Pittsburgh’s most expansive greenspaces -- and is hailed as an architectural and artistic centerpiece of the area.
Aside from striving to share the exquisiteness and importance of plants and the charm of the historic glasshouse structure, Phipps Conservatory also utilizes research to advance sustainability and ecological health in the region.
Another stop will be the 535 feet, 42-story tall Cathedral of Learning. Being the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere, the Cathedral is the central focus of the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus.
The Cathedral was commissioned by the university in 1921, with its first class conducted in 1931. The building exterior was completed in 1934, making the Late Gothic Revival building the second-tallest gothic-style building in the world (which is a rank held to this day).
In light of its massive height, the Cathedral of Learning contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows. Rooms in the basement through floor 40 are utilized for educational purposes. The uses of these rooms span the gamut: from theaters, to computer laboratories, and from classrooms to the Cathedral Café food court.
The convention tour will also provide an opportunity to explore the 29 Nationality Rooms on the first through third floors. These rooms were designed and donated by the differing ethnic groups which comprise the city of Pittsburgh. The Nationality Rooms are of museum caliber, yet 27 of the 29 are utilized daily by the University.
Please note: Tickets for this great tour are only $10 each.
There was a mistake on the original ticket order form. Pa.
Holstein Association encourages you to join this very interesting
tour for the $10 ticket cost.
From 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., the 100th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association will be held. Following the meeting, there will a short interlude, after which the Awards dinner and Junior Fun auction will begin.
Entertainment for the evening will be provided by comedian Jay Hendren, commonly referred to as “America’s Funniest Farmer”. Mr. Hendren travels the nation sharing his humorous farming experiences in a manner that the entire family can enjoy.
Friday, March 1, 2013 will begin with a well-stocked dairy bar, and a chance to peruse the commercial exhibits from 7:00-9:00am.
During this time (7:30-8:30am), there will also be the Holstein Association USA’s Region II meeting.
Immediately following the meeting, the bus leaves for the convention tour stops: Rynd-Home Farm, Rolling Spring Farm, and Ernst Seeds.
The first destination is Rynd-Home Farm. Of the many challenges which face currently face dairymen, one of the most prevalent is transitioning of dairies from one generation to the next.
This process takes much time and patience as family member responsibilities shift and change, with the next generation bringing fresh (and often differing) ideas regarding farm management. One such example of the incorporation of the next generation into a generations-old farm is the Rynd family of Cochranton, Crawford County, Pennsylvania.
Rynd-Home Farm has been a fixture in Northwest Pennsylvania since the farm’s original purchase in the late 1700s. Since that time, the farm has been passed from one generation to the next, with each generation coupling their own ingenuity and the technology available to make the farm more efficient and profitable.
For example, the Rynd family was milking a herd of 12-15 cows by hand in 1914, as well as completing field work with draft horses. In the years that followed, herd size was increased, an automated milking system was installed in the 1950s, a bulk tank was added, and three additions were built to the existing barn to accommodate 94 tie stalls.
Over the course of time, the farm passed to the partnership of brothers Dennis and Jim Rynd, who then opted to open the partnership to allow Dennis’s son Brooks to become a partner in 1996.
Realizing the existing facilities were no longer able to accommodate the number of cattle at Rynd-Home, the partners took a proactive approach. Rather than renovating the existing barn, the Rynd family decided that it would be more beneficial to build an entire new facility in which to house and milk the herd.
Through the help of Penn State Extension, the Center for Dairy Excellence Dairy Profit Team, AgChoice Farm Credit, and others, the Rynds were able to design and construct a 200-cow freestall barn and a double-10 parlor. After a mere five months, the cows were moved to the newly constructed facility, attesting to the benefits of a well planned facility through the overall herd lactation average increase of 5,000 pounds (from 23,000 to 28,000).
The family believes this increase in production can be attributed to increased cow comfort, a more regulated feeding system, three-times a day milking, as well as an overall increase in efficiency throughout the dairy.
Though moving into the new facility has provided its share of learning curves, the Rynds are pleased overall. One of those learning curves, which has since been addressed, was a high overall average days in milk and high percentage of open cows.
Realizing the farm did not have the manpower necessary to observe heats for the entire milking string, the Rynd family opted to install the ai24 Heat Detection program offered by Semex. Since its installation, Brooks noted that he has grown to trust the program 100%. He refers to the program’s accuracy in identifying open cows and cycling cows as “astonishing.”
When asked what cows have played a pivotal role in the genetic progress of the herd, Brooks notes that Silver-Mist Jed Booze Ex-90 and Rynd-Home Valiant Cutie EX-91 GMD DOM left an indelible impact upon the Rynd-Home herd (Cutie is almost certainly best known as the dam of Osdel-Endeavor Bova Cubby EX-94).
Current sires being used in the herd include Braxton, Picolo, Aftershock, Zelgadis, Lheros, and many of the Judges Choice young sires available from ABS.
The changes Rynd-Home Farm has undergone emphasizes the importance of generational transition. Each member of the family provides imperative insight and perspective -- whether constructing a new facility or simply working through the challenges faced on the dairy every day.
Through it all, the Rynd family also realizes it is crucial to learn from the lessons of the generations before, as they attempt to make the best decisions for their families and the future of Rynd-Home Farm.
Rolling Spring Farm
The second tour stop is Rolling Spring Farm. Charles Bean is a name easily recognized, both for his years of involvement with the Pennsylvania Holstein Association and for the tremendous group of Holsteins that he has bred and acquired.
Though admired for his continual service both locally (having served for more than 15 years on the Venango County Holstein Board) and at the state level (having served on the Executive Board for 3 years), Charlie’s careful decisions regarding herd development have resulted in the tremendous group of cows they are currently working with. This attests to his fervor for breeding an exceptional herd of Holsteins, which excel in both production and type. It is through this careful attention and planning that Rolling Spring has become a household name.
Nestled in the hills of Northwest Pennsylvania, Rolling Spring is owned and operated by Charles and Denise Bean, as well as their children Matt, Steven, and Heather. Well recognized and respected cows that have called Rolling Spring home include Spice, Essence and Exquisite, with their descendants continuing each family’s tradition of excellence.
Of these exceptional cow families, the cow to first garner widespread attention was Rolling Spring Emy Spice 5E-95 DOM, an MJR Blackstar Emory daughter out of Rolling Spring Prelude So-ET VG-88 x Conant-Acres Mark Shelia-ET VG-85 GMD DOM.
Spice was a family favorite, with both Matt and Steven having shown her. This deep affection is evidenced by the fact that Spice still resides on the farm, enjoying her retirement at the age of 17.
Though Spice was the first cow to draw widespread attention, Charlie went in search of another brood cow in the early 2000s. Having attended a sale in Wisconsin in his search (but finding nothing which seemed appropriate), Charlie decided to stop at Budjon Farms to tour their facilities.
While there, a several week old calf captured his attention. Charlie was so taken with the calf that he purchased a portion of Budjon-JK Dur Esquisite-ET. Though it may not have seemed like a life changing decision at the time, purchasing into this young cow would forever alter the Bean family’s life.
A Durham daughter of the three time All-Canadian and four time All-American nominee Budjon-JK Encore Electra 2E-95, Esquisite hailed from the exceptional brood cow Krull Broker Elegance 2E-96 GMD DOM. Given the successes of her dam, granddam, and full sister (2008 Reserve All-American 4-Year-Old Budjon-JK Durham Embrace Ex-95), Esquisite was destined for greatness.
She excelled in every area, scoring Ex-92, being named a Gold Medal Dam and Dam of Merit, as well as being nominated All-American Senior 2 Year Old in 2006. Despite her many achievements, Esquisite’s most lasting impact appears to be through her daughters.
Esquisite’s flushes resulted in the much acclaimed Rolling Spring G Essence-ET. Knowing that she was special, the Bean family elected to place Essence under the watchful eye and excellent care provided by Budjon Farms in Wisconsin when Essence was a springing heifer.
Little did anyone realize what Essence would become, nor that her introduction to the colored shavings would result in a 7th place finish in a strong Senior two-year-old class at the 2008 International Holstein Show. In successive years, Essence continued to develop, being named Grand Champion of the Midwest National Spring Show in 2010. She followed this title with a 4th place finish in the four-year-old class at Madison in 2010, resulting in an All-American nomination.
When reviewing her achievements as a whole, Essence is truly the epitome of Charlie’s desire to breed cows which excel in both production and type, as Essence is scored EX-95 with a production record of 4-03 2x 365d 38,160 4.1 1547 3.3 1249.
Additionally, she is one of a rare few who can boast an 8th generation EX and 4th generation All-American Nominee. Yet Essence is proving her importance as a brood cow, with many daughters having garnered some form of All-PA recognition, as well as having achieved 2nd Produce of Dam at the 2012 Eastern National. Additionally, the HM All-PA and 2012 Reserve Junior Champion at the PA Spring Show is a daughter of the great Essence: Rolling Spring Sanchez Ella.
Though the impact Rolling Spring-bred Holsteins leave on the breed is yet to be realized to its fullest extent, Charlie and Matt’s love of beautifully balanced cattle (coupled with their development of the Essence family) ensures that Rolling Spring will leave a remarkable impact on the Holstein industry.
The final Friday tour destination is Ernst Conservation Seeds. Though the name may cause tour-goers to cringe from the lack of cattle to view, Ernst Seeds provides a unique opportunity.
Ernst Seeds does not simply produce seeds on a mass scale, rather, it is a company dedicated to providing high quality native seeds and plants, bioengineering, and conservation application instruction for the entire East Coast (with the inclusion of Canada), and portions of the Midwest.
The touring include the original (and main) facility of Ernst Seeds where the majority of the naïve seed production begins (though there are also production facilities in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida).
For over 20 years, Ernst Conservation Seeds has been establishing, testing, managing, and harvesting differing seed types. Switchgrass is the plant type Ernst has the most experience with. This particular grass has been dubbed a potential alternative energy source, with Ernst Seeds having aggressively pursued differing energy diffusion alternatives.
A biomass briquetter was purchased in 2008, and is currently producing switchgrass and combined biomass briquettes on a limited basis. These briquettes have been used in greenhouses, schools, power generation facilities, as well as a limited group of residential buildings. This is just a sample of the multiple facets of the Ernst Conservation Seeds facility which will be expounded upon during the tour.
At 7:00p.m. Friday evening, the Convention Banquet will begin. In addition to the Hall of Fame, Pioneer, and Young Breeder Award presentations, Mr. Horace Backus will be the keynote speaker, offering his reflections of 100 Years of Pennsylvania Holstein history.
On Saturday, March 2, the 2013 Holstein Convention concludes with the Convention Sale. The sale is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m., with pre-sale hospitality offered from 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Steve and Paula Lesney have graciously offered their farm as the sale location, making it quite accessible (being located approx. 20 minutes from the Marriott and just off Route 422 and 19). The sale is scheduled to offer 65 head of live cattle, 10 first choice females, as well as several embryo packages.
Given all that has been scheduled, the 2013 Pennsylvania Holstein Convention will be a most memorable occasion. Be sure to join us February 28-March 2, 2013 in Cranberry Township!