PHA honors Horace Backus with special award
|“His love of the Holstein cow and the respect for the people who have bred her has led him to be one of the most admired people in the industry,” noted PHA Executive Director Ken Raney, who presented the plaque to Horace Backus.|
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Horace Backus, whose unparalleled knowledge of Holstein pedigrees and history has influenced and impressed generations of Holstein enthusiasts across North America, was honored here last weekend with a very special award. The Pennsylvania Holstein Association (PHA) named him a distinguished supporter of the state’s Holstein industry.
As the well-known and highly respected octogenarian from Mexico, N.Y. was on his way to the podium to accept his unique plaque, every person in the ballroom affirmed the honor with a hearty standing ovation.
Ken Raney, PHA’s executive director, greeted the award recipient with a handshake and words of praise. PHA celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and Horace Backus has been a part of its history for well over 50 of those years.
“Contrary to what you may have heard, I wasn’t around when the Association started,” Horace joked, accepting his newly minted Distinguished Supporter Award. The presentation took place at the concluding banquet at last weekend’s Pennsylvania Holstein Convention, where Horace also was the keynote speaker.
“The Distinguished Supporter Award is to recognize an individual (not a dairy farmer/producer) who through their efforts have supported and enhanced the work and goals of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association,” Ken explained during his 3-minute introduction.
“The 2013 Pennsylvania Holstein Association Distinguished Supporter has been a true inspiration to many Holstein breeders in Pennsylvania and around the world. Horace Backus has been involved in the industry since his teen-age years, and has continued to share his expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm with Holstein breeders across the country,” Ken continued.
“He has been a sales manager, pedigree expert, author, breeder and industry leader along with being a husband and father. He has accepted each part of his life's role with an unwavering commitment to excellence and an interest to help others succeed in their endeavors.
“Horace has worked sales of all sizes and types in Pennsylvania for over 50 years; including herd dispersals, reduction sales, county and regional consignment sales, our major state sales and three national convention sales. He is known for giving his all for every sale, whether it is a $500 heifer calf or a $150,000 or more animal. Every animal gets his full attention and effort!
“By his own estimate he has read pedigrees at close to 3000 sales and helped prepare at least 5000 catalogs.
“Horace Backus has literally written books about the Holstein industry including the cows and people that have driven the industry for nearly 130 years. He has no doubt researched more pedigrees, attended more sales and looked at more cows in sale rings than most anyone living today. His love of the Holstein cow and the respect for the people who have bred her has led him to be one of the most admired people in the industry.
“Many Holstein breeders have had the opportunity to work with, listen to and learn from the experiences of Horace Backus. He has counseled many, whether he knows it or wants to admit to it, on how to be good stewards of the Holstein breed and our industry. By observing his work ethic and his ability to work with different types of individuals, many of us are better because we have paid attention and tried to emulate the way things ought to be done.
“We could literally write a book about the career of Horace Backus, with many, many first person stories about his work at a sale or his advice on purchasing an animal or how to advertise and promote an individual cow or herd, but we can simply end with a quote from the Holstein World, July 2007, that featured a dedication to Horace and a closing paragraph that included:
“A case can be made that our Horace Backus, more than any other single individual, has contributed to the growth in value of registered Holsteins throughout his career as a sales manager, pedigree expert, association leader and adviser to hundreds in the industry. He is the epitome of all that is positive in our business, knowledge, respect and enthusiasm, with unwavering integrity in every single instance."
“The Pennsylvania Holstein Association is please to recognize and congratulating Horace Backus of Mexico, N.Y. as our 2013 Pennsylvania Holstein Association Distinguished Supporter Award recipient,” Ken concluded.
And everyone in the room rose to their feet to show respect and appreciation for the award winner, whose friendship, expertise, dignity and integrity shine in exemplary fashion.