News Release

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

CONTACT: Katie Schmitt, Communications Manager, kschmitt@wdexpo.com
PHONE:      608-224-6455

World Dairy Expo Recognizes Global Dairy Leaders

MADISON, WIS. – World Dairy Expo® is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Expo Recognition Awards. Nominated and selected by their peers, these individuals have made remarkable contributions to the dairy industry and their communities. Honorees will be formally honored during the Recognition Awards Banquet at World Dairy Expo on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Banquet tickets will be available at worlddairyexpo.com beginning on July 1.

The 2022 Expo Recognition Award honorees are as follows:

Dairy Producer of the Year
John Ruedinger, Van Dyne, Wis., Ruedinger Farms, Inc.

John Ruedinger, Van Dayne, Wis., is a leader in the dairy industry not only on his own farm but in organizations supporting his community and the global dairy industry. Ruedinger has served in leadership roles that placed him in the room during the creation of Cooperative Resources International and URUS. On the farm, Ruedinger, his wife, Karen, and daughter and son-in-law, Jamie and David Zappa, operate Ruedinger Farms, Inc. together. The team’s 1,500-cow dairy has an average production of 90 pounds of milk and 6.75 pounds of solids per cow per day.

Industry Person of the Year
Shelly Mayer, Slinger, Wis., Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW), Mayer Farm, Folks Song Farm and Mayer Farms Beef

Shelly Mayer of Slinger, Wisconsin is synonymous with dairy industry leadership in Wisconsin. A dairy farmer, direct-sale beef producer and agri-tourism host, Mayer also works as the Executive Director of Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW). Through this organization, she has been on the leading edge of animal welfare, defining the founding parts of what is now the FARM program, maintaining customers’ confidence in the dairy industry, and providing dairy producers with resources to proactively manage challenges. Mayer’s commitment to the dairy industry was on full display in 2018 when she helped lead the team responsible for the creation of the $7.8 million Dairy Innovation Hub, a research institution in Wisconsin focused on cutting-edge dairy research.

International Person of the Year
Mark Comfort, Cardinal, Ontario, Canada, Udder Comfort, Comfort Holsteins and Comfort Tunis

Co-founder and co-owner of Udder Comfort, Mark Comfort from Cardinal, Ontario, Canada has been helping dairy producers around the globe improve animal care with his naturally based products since 1998. His testimonial driven marketing spotlights individual success stories centered around Udder Comfort from World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion exhibitors to commercial dairy producers in 21 countries. In the 1980s, Comfort played an integral role in establishing cross-border relationships between Canada and the United States through his company Transfer Genetics, which became TransCanada Select Sires and was sold to Select Sires in 2000. Comfort remains active as a dairy cattle breeder through Comfort Holsteins and has bred a #1 sire in Germany and Japan. He and his wife Bev are also sheep breeders with Comfort Tunis.

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The dairy industry will return to Madison, Wisconsin for the 55th event, October 2 – 7, 2022, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit worlddairyexpo.com or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube for more information.  

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