BOTKINS – A Fairlawn High School sophomore was chosen as the 2017 Queen of the Shelby County Dairyman’s Association at their annual banquet Thursday night.
More than 100 people attended the gathering held at The Palazzo in Botkins.
Elizabeth Pestke, 16, will reign as queen for the next year including throughout the Shelby County Fair. She is the daughter of Greg and Melissa Pestke.
Pestke is a member of the Perry Livestock 4-H Club in Perry Township. She is on the Fairlawn honor roll and is active in band and choir. She is a member of various honor bands and participates in the FFA dairy judging.
The group also recognized the top ranked dairy operations in three categories.
The top farms for Average Energy Corrected Milk (ECM) were Wehrland Farms Inc., of Fort Loramie, with 28,436 pounds; Steve and Marlene Steinke, of Anna, with 26,924 pounds; and, Trio Farms Inc., of Botkins, with 26,800 pounds.
The most improved herds for ECM were Steve and Marlene Steinke, of Anna, with an improvement of 748 pounds; Rick Maurer, of Kettlersville, with an improvement of 612 pounds; and Chris DeLoye, of Fort Loramie, with an improvement of 268 pounds.
The top herds for Lowest Average Somatic Cell Count were Chris DeLoye, of Fort Loramie, with110; Steve and Marlene Steinke, of Anna, with 114; and Schafer Dairy, of Russia, with 141.
Rick Fisher, a member of Wapakoneta area dairyman’s family, was the guest speaker. He spoke of traditions, love, and importance of dairy families.
He told of his birth when his mother, who was in labor, sat in a truck waiting for her husband to finish unloading the last load of hay. Not so appreciated at the time, Fisher looked back at his family’s work ethic learned on the dairy farm.
“It was my father’s way. You don’t leave a job until it’s done.”
He said 30 percent to today millennials still live with their parents. “They haven’t learned that lesson (work ethic), that you have already placed in your family.”
Fisher said less than 2 percent of today’s population is in production agriculture. “We are part of the smallest minority in this country, yet the entire world is waiting on us to deliver the goods.”
He said the industry can be frustrating as dairy farmers can’t control the weather, farm prices, and consumer changes. He urged the audience to cling to the proper perspective of farming when those times set in.
“We in this room know more than anyone else. Look at the number of young people here, you don’t see that at other industry banquets like this. You are sowing seeds into people that we are doing our job.”
Fisher said, “This younger generation here tonight knows the love of their parents, and see the work ethic in them. We know that you truly reap what you sow.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.