The Wisconsin Holstein Association's annual convention for members will be held Feb. 22-23 and is hosted by the Marathon County Holstein Breeders at the Stoney Creek Inn-Wausau in Rothschild.
The weekend's festivities will kick off at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, with the annual Holstein Association USA's Region 5 meeting, committee meetings, presentation of production awards and will conclude with the WHA Futures Sale, hosted by the Young Adult Committee (YAC). Outstanding choices will sell from the area's best cow families that night at 7:30 p.m., with a junior work auction to follow.
Dr. Gordon Atkins, senior clinical skills instructor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, will be the featured presenter on the morning of Feb. 23. Dr. Atkins will discuss "The Role of Conformation Evaluation in an Industry Dominated by Genomics" starting at 8 a.m. with a short question and answer session to follow.
Gordon graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1973 and has practiced dairy veterinary medicine in Alberta for the past 39 years. His main area of interest has involved all aspects of dairy herd health with particular emphasis on functional conformation, nutrition, cow comfort, milk quality, and reproductive performance. He is a Past President of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and is a past recipient of the A.A.B.P. Bovine Practitioner of the Year Award.
He remains active in the Holstein business as a breeder and exhibitor, is an official judge and member of the Type Classification Advisory Committee for Holstein Canada, and was awarded the Canadian Dairy Network Industry Distinction Award in 2009. His interest in genetics of functional conformation led to the production of a CD on this topic and his speaking and judging assignments have taken him from coast to coast in Canada and to over 20 countries internationally.
His teaching began in 2008 and has been recognized with numerous awards including the Pfizer Carl J Norden Distinguished Teaching Award. Gordon will identify areas where he feels remarkable improvement has been made as well as the areas that still require much work. As an official judge and long-time member of Holstein Canada's Type Classification Committee, he has a passion for breeding great cows but an unyielding conviction for ensuring that each conformation trait is evaluated in a way that ensures functionality and acceptance by the commercial breeder. He views Genomics as one of the greatest tools that the industry has ever had to advance the breed but raises a serious caution that it is not the only tool and we must be careful to not disregard many of the tools that have been so successful over the history of our breed.
The morning activities on Saturday will conclude with the WHA business meeting and Board of Directors elections. Following the meeting, recipients of Gold Medal Dams, Dams of Merit, 40 & 50 year members, as well as Wall of Fame inductees will be recognized at the Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.