WDE Recognition Awards

Nominations for the 2024 World Dairy Expo® Recognition Awards are being accepted through February 1, 2024. Expo is once again honoring dairy industry leaders in three different categories including Dairy Producer of the Year, Industry Person of the Year, and International Person of the Year. Organizations, academic staff, producers and others involved in the dairy industry are encouraged to nominate individuals to recognize their outstanding work and dedication to the dairy industry. Questions and applications should be sent to Lisa Behnke, lbehnke@wdexpo.com.

2024 Recognition Award Application

2024 Expo Recognition Awards are presented in the following categories:

Dairy Producer(s) of the Year: Presented to a dairy producer whose primary source of income is derived from his or her dairy farm. This producer excels in efficient production and the breeding of quality dairy animals while incorporating progressive management practices. Award recipient’s community, government, marketing and World Dairy Expo involvement will also be considered.

Industry Person(s) of the Year: This award is presented in recognition of an individual’s excellence in research, development, education, marketing, manufacturing or other fields, which are a part of an industry or institution that provides goods or services to the dairy industry. A resident of the United States, this award recipient may be an active dairy producer whose primary achievements are industry focused.

International Person(s) of the Year: Living primarily outside of the United States, the individual who receives this award will be recognized for his or her contribution to international research, development, education, marketing, manufacturing or other fields, which are a part of an industry or institution that provides goods or services to the international dairy industry.

Congratulations to the 2023 Recognition Award honorees!

Dairy Producer of the Year Industry Person of the Year International Person of the Year
Randy Kortus
Mainstream Holsteins, Jerseys and Ayrshires
Lynden, Wash.

Tom Morris
Tom Morris Ltd., Cattle CONNECTION
Amery, Wis.

Bonnie Cooper
Holstein Journal
North York, Ontario, Canada

Recognition Awards Banquet

World Dairy Expo Recognition Award recipients are honored each year during the Recognition Awards Banquet during World Dairy Expo. This event will take place on Wednesday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. in The Tanbark. A social hour will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in The Tanbark. 

For questions, please contact Lisa Behnke at lbehnke@wdexpo.com or (608) 224-6455. 

Dairy Producer of the Year
Randy Kortus, Lynden, Wash., Mainstream Holsteins, Jerseys and Ayrshires

Randy Kortus, Lynden, Wash., has built a dynasty of elite cattle genetics with his family’s herd, focusing on solid production cows while encompassing multiple breeds. Kortus and his family’s commitment to detailed and consistent herd management has provided each cow the opportunity to express her genetic potential, and it shows, as Kortus has developed 22 Dam of Merit cows, 41 Gold Medal Dam cows, and 13 cows achieving individual lifetime productions over 300,000 pounds of milk. He has also developed prominent sires in the Holstein and Jersey breeds, such as Mainstream Manifold and Mainstream Iatola Sparky. Beyond impacting the dairy industry through elite genetics, Kortus has committed over 25 years of service and leadership to Holstein Association USA and Select Sires, providing consultant services for herd owners and presenting seminars on a variety of dairy industry topics. Kortus has traveled to 27 countries on over 50 different trips, serving as a welcomed ambassador for the US dairy industry.

Industry Person of the Year
Tom Morris, Amery, Wis., Deronda Farm, Tom Morris Ltd., Cattle CONNECTION

A successful Registered Holstein breeder, educator, auctioneer/sale manager, publisher and industry leader, Tom Morris’ pedigree is as storied as any sale topper he’s sold. Morris and his wife Sandy, owners of Deronda Farm, developed more than 200 Excellent cows and held three complete dispersals during the 1980s, each boasting the highest average in the USA for the year. Owners and operators of Tom Morris Ltd., the couple has managed over 500 dispersals and consignment sales, including the World Classic at World Dairy Expo. Always an innovator, Morris helped launch the first 9-month Dairy Herdsman Technical College Program in the country, serving as an instructor for ten years. As owner/publisher of the Cattle CONNECTION, he connected buyers and sellers with the monthly dairy publication for 32 years. Morris is also a valued industry leader, currently serving as World Dairy Expo’s Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee chair and as Vice President of the Executive Committee.

International Person of the Year
Bonnie Cooper, North York, Ontario, Canada, Holstein Journal

Bonnie Cooper of North York, Ontario, Canada, is a well-known, highly respected and trail-blazing journalist who has dedicated her distinguished career of over 45 years to chronicling Canada’s dairy cattle industry as Editor of Holstein Journal. Throughout her time at Holstein Journal, Cooper devoted her way with words to telling meaningful stories about industry challenges and successes, genetic advancements, cow families and shows and sales. Cooper also managed the distinguished All-Canadian contest. Although Holstein Journal ceased publication in March 2019, Cooper continues her passion for writing about the dairy industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of publications, both in Canada and around the world. Most notably, she wrote “Holstein Milestones at the Royal” in honor of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair’s 100th anniversary for Holstein Canada’s Info Holstein publication last fall. Cooper also continues to write and distribute throughout Canada a free, monthly Holstein Coming Events column called “Bonnie’s Holstein Dairy Events Listing”.

Past Recognition Award Winners

Dairy Producer of the Year

2023 Randy Kortus, Lynden, WA
2022 John Ruedinger, Van Dyne, WI
2020 Jim Ostrom, John Vosters and Todd Willer, Kaukauna, WI 

Industry Person of the Year

2023 Tom Morris, Amery, WI
2022 Shelly Mayer, Slinger, WI
2020 Steve Eicker, King Ferry, NY, & Connor Jameson, Tulare, CA
2019 Dr. Randy Shaver, Madison, WI
2018 Dr. Dan Hornickel and Dr. Chris Keim, Whitewater, WI
2017 Ben Brancel, Endeavor, WI
2015 Jim Dickrell, Monticello, MN
2014 Dr. Curtis P. Van Tassell, Beltsville, MD
2013 Dr. Ken Nordlund, DVM, Madison, WI
2012 Dr. Sheila M. McGuirk, Madison, WI
2011 Dr. H. Duane Norman, Fulton, MD
2010 Horace Backus, Mexico, NY
2009 Maurice Core, Columbus, OH*
2008 Dr. Michael Hutjens, Urbana, IL
2007 Steve Larson, Fort Atkinson, WI
2006 Gary E. Hanman, Kansas City, MO
2005 Maurice Mix, Brattleboro, VT*
2004 Peter Blodgett, Bensalem, PA*
2003 Calvin Covington, Ocala, FL
2002 Gregory Blaska, Sun Prairie, WI*
2001 David A. Wieckert, Middleton, WI*
2000 Miles R. McCarry, Deltona, FL*
1999 Roger L. Ripley, Baraboo, WI
1998 Dr. Neal Jorgensen, Luck, WI*
1997 David A. Morrow, State College, PA*
1996 Donald Storhoff, Baraboo, WI
1995 Richard H.L. Chichester III, Falmouth, VA
1994 W. Terry Howard, Madison, WI*
1993 Doug Wilson, Shawano, WI
1992 Leland Allenstein, Whitewater, WI*
1991 Robert McKown, Sandy Creek, NY*
1990 Richard E. Nelson, Brattleboro, VT*
1989 Arthur Nesbitt, Fort Atkinson, WI
1988 Eugene Meyer, Fort Atkinson, WI*
1987 James W. Crowley, Madison, WI*
1986 Robert Thayer, Madison, WI*
1985 Thomas L. Lyon, Shawano, WI*
1984 Willard G. Clark, Hanford, CA*
1983 Elmer Woelffer, Oconomowoc, WI*
1982 Robert E. Walton, DeForest, WI
1981 Glen H. Lake, North Branch, MI
1980 Harold E. Kaeser, Columbus, OH
1979 Robert H. Rumler, Brattleboro, VT*
1978 Truman F. Graf, Madison, WI*
1977 James F. Cavanaugh, Columbus, OH*
1976 Herbert L. Forrest, Washington, DC
1975 Kenneth A. Wallin, Shawano, WI
1974 Harold E. Calbert, Madison, WI*
1973 Harry A. Herman, Columbia, MO
1972 Glenn Pound, Madison, WI*
1971 David Parr, Little Rock, AR*
1970 William Knox, Fort Atkinson, WI*
1969 Truman Torgerson, Manitowoc, WI*

International Person of the Year

2023 Bonnie Cooper, North York, Ontario, Canada
2022 Mark Comfort, Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
2020 Wijnand Pon, Garnwerd, Groningen, Netherlands
2019 Dr. Julio A. Brache Arzeno, Santo Domingo, DN, Dominican Republic
2018 Alastair Pearson, Beijing, China
2017 Derrick Frigot, Jersey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom
2015 Kevin D. Lang, Howick, South Africa
2014 Lowell D. Lindsay, Guelph, ON, Canada
2013 Pedro Hugo Testa, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2012 Dr. Abelardo Martinez, Tlalnepantla, Mexico*
2011 Mrs. Anne Perchard, St. Martin, Jersey, C.I., United Kingdom
2010 Mr. Tadanaga Komori, Hokkaido, Japan
2009 Dr. Jan Philipsson, Uppsala, Sweden
2008 Dr. Hubertus Diers, Altenberge, Westfalia Germany
2007 Dr. Juan A. Debernardi, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2006 Dr. Joao Floriano Casagrande, Barretos, SP, Brazil
2005 Shinichiro Nosawa, Tokyo, Japan*
2004 Gonzalo Maldonado Gomez , Bogota, Colombia
2003 Peter Padfield, Essex, United Kingdom
2002 James Thwaites, Taranaki, New Zealand
2001 Pieter Nicholas Pentz, Cape Town, South Africa
2000 Heinrich Meli, Switzerland
1999 Holger Moritz Hansen, Kerteminde, Denmark
1998 Jan Bierma & Han Hopman, Steins, The Netherlands
1997 Dr. (Miss) Amrita Patel, Vallabh Vidyanagar, India
1996 Robert H. Rumler, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, United States*
1995 Jake Chardon, The Netherlands
1994 John Edward Moffitt, United Kingdom
1993 Verghese Kurien, Calicut, India
1992 Roland Singy, Posieux, Switzerland
1991 Gonzalo F. Cevallos, Urueta, Queretaro, Mexico
1990 Julio R. Brouwer, Key Biscayne, Florida, United States*
1989 Lajos Szaleczky, Budapest, Hungary
1988 Giuseppe Santus, Brescia, Italy
1987 George Murray Clemons, Brantford, Ontario, Canada*
1986 Gunther Rath, West Germany
1985 Maria Stolzman, Warsaw, Poland
1984 Tsutomu Utsunomiya, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
1983 Gustav Wilke, Fockinghausen, West Germany
1982 Galo Plaza, Quito, Ecuador*

Dairy Woman of the Year 
(Award category has transitioned to Dairy Producer of the Year)

2019 Janina Siemers, Newton, WI
2018 Jeannette Sheehan, Rochester, MN
2017 Marilyn Hershey, Cochranville, PA
2015 Rosalie Geiger, Reedsville, WI
2014 Pam Bolin, Clarksville, IA
2013 Karyn S. Schauf, Barron, WI
2012 Mary Shank Creek, Hagerstown, MD
2011 Donna Myers, New Windsor, MD
2010 Liz Doornink, Baldwin, WI
2009 Daphne Holterman, Watertown, WI
2008 Marion Barlass, Janesville, WI
2007 Deborah Lee Reinhart, New Holstein, WI
2006 Janet Shank Stiles, Boonsboro, MD
2005 Donna Sharp, Bath, SD
2004 Cris Peterson, Grantsburg, WI
2003 Linda Hodorff, Eden, WI
2002 Rita Kennedy, Valencia, PA*
2001 Judy Iager, Fulton, MD
2000 Berneta Snider Gable, New Enterprise, PA
1999 Deanna Stamp, Marlette, MI
1998 Mary Lou Topp, Botkins, OH
1997 Joann Hartman, Waterloo, IL*
1996 Harriet M. Brown, Hastings, MN*
1995 Barbara Spoon, Broken Arrow, OK*
1994 Bonnie Jo Ayars, Mechanicsburg, OH
1993 Joyce Bupp, Seven Valleys, PA
1992 Joan Brown, Hughson, CA
1991 Myrna Sue Jones, Marshall, WI*
1990 Norma Lyon, Toledo, IA*
1989 Beatrice Moons, Chino, CA
1988 Esther Welch, Polk, OH
1987 Imogene Woodside, LaCenter, WA
1986 Virginia Boyke, Fond du Lac, WI*
1985 Doris Hetts, Fort Atkinson, WI*
1984 Ardath DeWall, Shannon, IL
1983 Gloria Conant, Richmond, VA*
1982 Alice Oosterhof, Mt. Vernon, WA
1981 Audrey Sickinger, Cato, WI*
1980 Ann Randall, Balsam Lake, WI
1979 Arlene Becher, Berne, IN*
1978 Jocelyn Rhein, Brownsville, WI*
1977 Joyce Whitis, Stephenville, TX*
1976 Barbara Hasfurder, Eminence, KY
1975 Laura Beane, Fort Atkinson, WI*
1974 Jane Skogman, Cambridge, MN
1973 Virginia Benton, Lebo, KS

Dairyman of the Year
(Award category has transitioned to Dairy Producer of the Year)

2019 Steve Maddox, Burrel, CA
2018 Pete Kappelman, Two Rivers, WI
2017 Charles Ahlem, Turlock, CA
2015 Hank Van Exel, Lodi, CA
2014 James S. Huffard III, Crockett, VA
2013 Velmar Green, Elsie, MI
2012 John B. Fiscalini, Modesto, CA*
2011 Alan, Jim, David & John Koepke, Oconomowoc, WI
2010 Donald Bennink, Bell, FL
2009 David Hileman, Tyrone, PA
2008 Charles, George, Tom & Mark Crave, Waterloo, WI
2007 Frank Regan, Waukon, IA
2006 Louis E. “Red” Larson, Okeechobee, FL*
2005 Marvin Nunes, Windsor, CA*
2004 Donald T. Peterson, Cashton, WI
2003 Tom Camerlo, Florence, CO*
2002 Wally Lindskoog, Turlock, CA*
2001 Richard* & Gerald Coyne, Avon, NY
2000 Howard Voegeli, Monticello, WI*
1999 Niles & Elmo Wendorf, Jr., Ixonia, WI
1998 Samuel Minor, Washington, PA*
1997 Robert “Bob” Giacomini, Point Reyes Station, CA
1996 John Selz, Humbird, WI*
1995 Richard Clauss, Hilmar, CA
1994 Obie Snider, Imler, PA*
1993 Clarence Boyke, Fond du Lac, WI*
1992 Jack Hardesty, Berryville, VA*
1991 Donald V. Seipt, Easton, PA
1990 David Younger, Yorktown Heights, NY*
1989 Richard Shade, Rockton, IL
1988 Norman Barker, Pratt, KS*
1987 Russell J. Wirt, Lewiston, MN*
1986 W. Charles McGinnis, Mountville, SC*
1985 Eugene Nelson, Union Grove, WI*
1984 David G. Smokler, Lancaster, TX*
1983 John L. McKitrick, Plain City, OH*
1982 G. Joe Lyon, Toledo, IA*
1981 William A. Powell, Princeton, MO*
1980 Lyle F. Viney, Evansville, WI*
1979 Keith King, Oneida, IL*
1978 Ivan K. Strickler, Iola, KS*
1977 Wesley N. Sawyer, Waterford, CT
1976 Lyman D. McKee, Madison, WI*
1975 Edward A. Reed, Lyons, KS*
1974 Avery A. Vose, Antioch, IL*
1973 J. Homer Remsberg, Middletown, MD*
1972 Louis Longo, Glastonbury, CT*
1971 John Moser, Louisville, KY*
1970 Melvin Sprecher, Sauk City, WI*