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MHA Elects New Leaders to Board of Directors; Honors Award Recipients

The 2022 Minnesota All Breeds Convention took place March 11-12, 2022, and was hosted by the Kandiyohi Holstein Association at the Willmar Conference Center. The event welcomed dairy cattle enthusiasts for a weekend itinerary featuring Minnesota Purebred Dairy Cattle Association (PDCA) meetings, respective breed association meetings, award presentations and networking after a two-year hiatus from the in-person event.

For the Minnesota Holstein Association (MHA), the weekend was highlighted by the MHA Annual Meeting on Saturday, March 12. During the meeting, five new board members were elected or re-elected to fill seats vacated by expired terms, retiring or resigning board members. New or re-elected board members include:

  • Randy Gross, Lake Benton, MN
  • Luke Olson, Hutchinson, MN
  • Darrel Rennich, Bruce, SD
  • Eric Sonnek, Foreston, MN
  • Ashley Swenson, Nicollet, MN

The 13-member board also voted to fill the following leadership positions:

President: Randy Gross, Lake Benton, MN

Vice President: Kris Gruenes, Richmond, MN

Finance Chair: Ashley Swenson, Nicollet, MN

Executive Committee Members:

  • Nate Donnay, Glencoe, MN
  • Kris Gruenes, Richmond, MN
  • Darrel Rennich, Bruce, SD
  • Eric Sonnek, Foreston, MN
  • Ashley Swenson, Nicollet, MN

Retiring board president, Tracy Schaefer, was recognized for his outstanding service to the organization. Retiring board members Dale Rupprecht, Tim Stender and Karen Gorentz were also thanked for their time as MHA board members.

During the banquets on Friday and Saturday, the following Minnesota Holstein Association members were also recognized for exceptional accomplishments.

MN PDCA 2021 Distinguished Breeder Award Recipients:

Wayne and Kris Houdek, Wake-Up Holsteins, Caledonia, MN
Todd and Stacy Leiding and Shirley Fingerson, Shir-Man Registered Holsteins, Fountain, MN

MN PDCA 2022 Distinguished Breeder Award Recipients:

LeRoy and Susan Kurth, Michael and Kacie Kurth, Stewart, MN
John and Connie Donnay, Donnay’s Sunkist Acres, Glencoe, MN

2022 Person of the Year Awards, in Memory of Bernie Schmitz:

Ruth Klossner, Lafayette, MN
Amanda Bedtke, MHA Business Manager, Plainview, MN

Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Award:

Bill and Leah Kurth, Kurth-Kine Holsteins, Cosmos, MN

Longtime Meritorious Award

Jill Nelson, Olmar Farms, Sleepy Eye, MN

Minnesota Distinguished Junior Member (DJM) Applicants:

Jasenko Gavranovic, New Ulm, MN
Ashley Gruenes, Richmond, MN

Minnesota Young Distinguished Junior Member (YDJM) Applicants:

Shelby Swanson, Hutchinson, MN
Tyler Ratka, Cold Spring, MN

Golden Gopher Production Futurity XLV Winners

1st Place: Circle-Drive Solomon Greta, owned by McKenzie and Shelby Swanson and Tim Albrecht

2nd Place: Circle-Drive Solomon Gloria, owned by McKenzie and Shelby Swanson and Tim Albrecht

3rd Place: Circle-Drive Sirwood Gidget, owned by McKenzie and Shelby Swanson and Tim Albrecht

Kenny Mueller also provided a memorial presentation for the beloved Minnesota Holstein Association members and supporters who have passed away in recent years.

MHA eagerly anticipates an exciting summer of activities, which includes: hosting the Minnesota State Holstein Show from June 13-18 in Perham, Minn., and hosting the National Holstein Convention from June 27 – July 1 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

2022-2023 MHA Board of Directors

Front row (L to R): Nate Donnay, Darrel Rennich, Randy Gross, Kris Gruenes, Eric Sonnek, Ashley Swenson. Back row (L to R): Rebecca Groos, Lucas Plamann, Eric Houdek, Trevor Ekkel, Tracy Schaefer, Luke Olson, Chris Schulze.


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Minnesota Holstein Association was organized in 1910 for the purpose of improving and promoting the Holstein breed of dairy cattle. The MHA consists of 950 members and is open to all persons interested in Holstein cattle. The South Dakota Holstein Association recently joined Minnesota Holstein, and they have the same membership privileges. Our mission is “To enhance the lives and profitability of all dairy producers and enthusiasts by providing opportunities for education, marketing, recognition and socialization.”