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Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors recognizes 2022 winners

Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors recognizes 2022 winners

By  Julie Harker

The Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors recently honored its 2022 winners in a special ceremony, according to Gloria Johnson, executive secretary for the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors(opens in new window).

Tom Oelrichs of Mora is the recipient of the Dairy Leadership Award. Oelrichs is a fourth-generation dairyman currently producing Grade A milk on the 1,200-acre O-Rich Dairy Holstein farm in Mora. The 245-acre “home place” is designated a Century Farm, having been purchased by Oelrichs’ great-grandparents in 1903. He farms with his brother Randy and nephew Russ. They take pride in maintaining profitability through on-farm sustainability initiatives. Managing the dairy and cropping enterprises in a complementary approach allows the resources to be maximized. Oelrichs exhibits leadership in all roles he embodies, nominators said. He was pivotal in the creation of Missouri Dairy, providing a strong leadership presence as board chairman in 2020-2021, and he currently serves as treasurer. He has also served on several Dairy Farmers of America committees and currently represents Missouri as a member of the Midwest Dairy Promotion Board.

Ridge View Farm of Lancaster is the recipient of the Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder Award. Owned by Mike and Jennie Droste and their family, the Ridge View herd was built on many years of experience, with both Mike and Jennie raised on dairy farms. They are nationally known for their top-quality Ayrshire cattle. Ridge View consists of 370 acres in which about 150 acres of corn for silage and 80 acres for hay are grown. The milking herd includes 75 to 100 Ayrshires and 150 replacement heifers. They focus mainly on grazing their herd, and the cows receive total mixed rations year-round. Bulk tank average is 50 pounds with a 4.2 fat and 3.5 protein. The Drostes show their cattle at local, state and national shows. They have bred several All American and Reserve All American animals and have had Grand Champions at Missouri and Iowa state fairs, along with Supreme Champion at the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa. Mike and Jennie are also very supportive of their local fair and dairy show and are passionate about supporting the youth programs, nominators said. The Drostes have been members of the Missouri Ayrshire Breeders Association for many years.

Dave Drennan of Chesterfield is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Award. Dave was the first full-time executive director of the Missouri Dairy Association, serving in that capacity for more than 23 years, until 2019. His national experience in agriculture trade organizations, which was instrumental in guiding dairy programs in Missouri, included legislative, educational, organizational, promotional and production efforts. Drennan also founded a dairy meeting in Springfield that became the fourth-largest multistate dairy conference in the U.S., and he served as sales manager for the highly successful Heart of America Dairy Expo for seven years. Drennan also promoted the idea of a new dairy milking parlor and restaurant under one roof at the Missouri State Fair and was instrumental in raising $150,000 in private donations for the Gerken Dairy Center, which was built in 1999.

The late Sam and Ethel Messer of Cairo have been recognized with the Pioneer Dairy Leader Award. The Messers farmed for more than 70 years, exhibiting excellent-quality Guernsey cattle at local, state and national shows. At one point, they were milking more than 100 head of registered Guernseys at Timber Ridge Guernsey Farm in Cairo. The farm was recognized at the Missouri State Fair in 1997 as the Distinguished Herd of the Year. Sam and Ethel were active supporters of 4-H, serving as project and club leaders. In 2012, they were inducted into the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame. The Messers were also lifetime members of the American Guernsey Cattle Club. Sam Messer was one of the first artificial insemination technicians in the state of Missouri, traveling throughout most of northern Missouri to perform AI on cows, sows and goats for a multitude of people and was very sought after for his ability to breed cattle.

The Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation was established Dec. 9, 1988, following the merger of the Association of Missouri Dairy Organizations with the Missouri Dairy Association. The Foundation has two goals: to maintain and perpetuate a Dairy Hall of Honors to recognize outstanding leadership in the Missouri dairy industry, including excellence of achievement among dairy cattle breeders; and to provide an archive for the preservation of records and memorabilia of the Missouri dairy industry in cooperation with the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri.

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