BELLEVUE REPORTER – MADISON MILLER
For the week of June 26-July 1, approximately 1,200 dairy farmers and 50 cows lodged at the Bellevue Hyatt for this year’s National Holstein Convention. This annual traveling convention allows dairy farmers and their families from across the U.S. to meet and share their knowledge and interest of the Holstein breed.
The National Holstein Association is dedicated to the development of the Holstein breed and today, Holstein cattle dominate the U.S. dairy industry. Holstein Association USA maintains the records for all ancestry, identity, ownership and performance information on more than 22 million registered Holstein cattle.
This is the first year the National Holstein Convention has been held in Washington.
“We have been planning for the 2017 Convention for almost five years. We’ve worked hard to bring in partners and to make our guests feel welcome here in Washington — we are most excited to have our visitors tour Washington dairy farms and discover the things that make our state unique,” said Susan Van Dyk of the Washington State Holstein Association in a press release.
There were several events for the guests to participate in throughout the week, such as visiting local farm tours and tourist attractions, competitions and the holstein auction.
“It’s a huge event for the juniors [range from 8-21.] The juniors participate in displays, speech competitions, dairy knowledge quiz bowl and dairy jeopardy,” said Chair of the Board of Dairy Farmers of Washington Michelle Schilter.
“This is our next generation of farmers and so it’s a great opportunity for them to meet and mix with their colleagues and peers from across the country and just learn more about Holsteins and what makes this dairy cow such a special breed,” said Dairy Farmers of Washington CEO Scott Kinney.
The Dairy Farmers of Washington served as a key host for this year’s convention. Kinney described the week’s pinnacle event.
“One of the most exciting things about this convention is that there will be about 35-50 cows that are going to be brought in to be auctioned on Friday. If you can imagine, the Bellevue Hyatt and the ballroom filled with cows … it’s going to be quite a sight,” he said.
The Bellevue Hyatt has been great to work with for this event, according to Kinney.
“They were excited to host this as well. The cows will be housed in the parking garage and then brought up the elevator for the auction. These are very special cows, these aren’t your regular dairy cow — these are the top-of-the-line, top-notch bred dairy cows coming into Washington,” said Kinney.
The National Holstein Convention will be traveling to another state for next year’s meeting. For more information on the Washington State Holstein Association, visit www.washingtonholsteins.com or on Dairy Farmers of Washington visit www.wadairy.com.