DHI programs still on the increase


SAN ANTONIO — For the fourth consecutive year, the number of U.S. dairy cows on Dairy Herd Improvement programs increased — from 4.071 million cows in 2003, to 4.415 million cows in 2007.

National Dairy Herd Improvement Association President Mark Adam shared this news with delegates, managers and guests during the association’s annual meeting, held March 12-13 in San Antonio.


The cow numbers represent 8.4 percent growth, which occurred during a time span of volatile dairy economics and declining U.S. dairy cow population.

Adam reported that a recent dairy business analysis summary showed that the average expense for Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) records is now less than 0.5 percent of all expenses on the average dairy.

However, these records account for business decisions that affect 42 percent of the total dairy expenses and 84 percent of the average dairy farm’s income.

“The DHI system provides programs and opportunities for all sizes of dairy operations,” stated Jay Mattison, the association’s CEO and administrator.

Whether a dairy has five cows or 5,000 cows, Dairy Herd Improvement records offer accurate, detailed, concise and proper information to economically manage that dairy business.


Delegates to the annual meeting elected the following individuals from their respective regions as board members.

Eastern Region:

  • Dan Sheldon, Salem, N.Y., was re-elected to a three-year term.

Central Region:

  • Bruce Dokkebakken, Minnesota Dairy Herd Improvement Association manager, was elected to a three-year term and replaces Mark Adam, NorthStar Cooperative manager.

Western Region:

  • Susan Lee, Idaho Dairy Herd Improvement Association manager, was elected to complete the vacant manager position on the board.
  • Jon Tollenaar, an Elk Grove, Calif., dairy producer and San Joaquin Dairy Herd Improvement Association president, was elected to a three-year term, replacing Greg Marrs of Colorado Dairy Herd Improvement Association.

Other board members include: Steve Hershey, Lancaster Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Manheim, Pa.; Lee Maassen, Dairy Lab Services, Maurice, Iowa; Richard Kimball, Vermont Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Spencer, Mass.; Kent Buttars, Rocky Mountain Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Lewiston, Utah; Bob McKaig, Indiana State Dairy Association, Logansport, Ind.; James Zimmerman, Dairy One, Ithaca, N.Y.; and John Clay, Dairy Records Management Systems, Raleigh, N.C., as the Dairy Records Processing Center ex-officio board member.


At the board reorganization meeting, the following officers were elected for 2008-2009: Dan Sheldon, president; Lee Maassen, vice president; Steve Hershey, secretary; and James Zimmerman, treasurer.

The 2009 National Dairy Herd Improvement Association annual meeting will be held the first week of March in Boise, Idaho.


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