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Rob Waddell and Irene Osborne honored

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association presented two leadership awards during the closing luncheon of the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, held last Thursday in State College. The organization honored Rob Waddell, Townville, Pa., as the 2014 Charles E. Cowan Memorial Award recipient, and named Irene Benner Osborne, Millerstown, Pa., as the 2014 Distinguished Dairy Woman.

The Dairymen’s Association was initially formed in 1871 to promote the general welfare of the dairy foods industry in Pennsylvania. The organization has been presenting industry leadership awards for more than 50 years. The Cowan Memorial Award was introduced in 1976, and the Distinguished Dairy Woman’s Award in 1995.

“The awards are intended to recognize those who have made significant contributions to Pennsylvania’s dairy industry,” said David Smith, executive director of the Dairymen’s Association. “Both of this year’s recipients have distinguished themselves in their leadership, service and ongoing commitment to dairy in the commonwealth.”

Each year the Charles E. Cowan Memorial Award is presented in honor of Charles Cowan, who served as secretary and treasurer of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association for many years. The recipient of the award must demonstrate superior management capabilities and provide outstanding leadership qualities within the dairy industry.

Rob Waddell and his family own and operate Apple Shamrock Farms, a Crawford County “Dairy of Distinction” farm. Through slow and steady internal growth, their milking herd now numbers 500 animals on 1600 owned and rented acres. His involvement in the local community includes serving as an advisor for area dairy farm profit teams, as a past director of the county Farm Service Agency, and as a director of the Crawford County Conservation District.

Waddell has served as president of the Crawford County Farm Bureau and currently is on the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Board of Directors. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association and is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program Board, helping to fulfill its mission of growing the demand for dairy products. The Waddells also host numerous farm tours for consumers to learn more about the dairy industry.

The Distinguished Dairy Woman Award is presented annually to a dairy woman who has served the dairy industry. Irene Benner Osborne and her family operated a dairy farm near Millerstown, Perry County, until last year. She developed her interest in youth development at an early age when she was named a Pennsylvania and National Distinguished Junior Member.

Osborne has served as co-chair of the Pennsylvania Holstein Junior Convention and has been on countless planning committees for youth events. She also serves on the Holstein USA National Junior Advisory Committee and has developed numerous young dairy leaders as a dairy bowl coach and 4-H leader.

Osborne serves on the Pennsylvania State Holstein Board of Directors and is on its Executive Committee. Recently, she was named as a Trustee of the All-American Dairy Show Foundation, where she will lead fundraising efforts and make decisions about potential dairy youth programs. She has also served as a chaperone to the National 4-H Congress.