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Willows-Edge Holsteins to Host Annual WHA State Picnic August 2

BARABOO, WI - July 17, 2015...Willows-Edge Holsteins of New Richmond, Wis., will host this year's annual Wisconsin Holstein Association State Picnic on Sunday, August 2, 2015, as Wisconsin Holstein commemorates 125 years in business.

The picnic kicks off at 11:00 a.m. with brunch, open barn, a dairy judging contest, fun children events and a tag sale. Henk and Bonnie Van Dyk are offering 60 lots featuring a variety of cows from their high-type herd, which boasts a 111.8 BAA with 55 Excellent and 55 Very Good cows. Holstein breeders from across the state are invited to attend the picnic, which will also highlight a timeline with historic events from Wisconsin Holstein's first 125 years.

The Van Dyk herd has become a mainstay in the show circuit in Wisconsin since its entry into the Registered Holstein industry in 1978. The farm includes 960 acres with 600 tillable, complete with the Willow river, the inspiration behind the Willows-Edge name. The Van Dyks have the second highest BAA in the country for their herd size (and the highest in 2013 for herds over 100 cows) - an impressive feat for any Registered Holstein breeder.

Through the years the Willows-Edge herd has grown from within, with only occasional purchases. Careful herd management has played a key role. Henk and Bonnie's cull/death rate is very low, and all of these factors have allowed them to sell at least 40 head a year, with as many as 60 leaving in a 12-month span.

Willows-Edge filled two milking barns until 2009, and held a sale every other year until then, with their first on-farm sale hosted in 1996. Henk and Bonnie bought out John's interest in the farm in 1995. They started their sale series selling only Willows-Edge-bred animals that consisted of mostly milk cows, with some bred heifers and show heifers. Both barns held about 80 cows and when both barns were full, a sale was held.

Henk and Bonnie's daughters Jordan and Claire have been a part of the show circuit since age four, but are now phasing out as they pursue college and careers. Jordan is a graduate of Augsburg College with a degree in international business and finance, and is working in a provider analyst position for Owens and Minor. Claire will be a senior at Manhattan College in New York, and is studying finance and math. She will intern this summer at Morgan Stanley in NY, and still plays volleyball with her D1 scholarship. Henk's two other children live in Minneapolis and have families - Dan is a lawyer and Allison is a teacher.

The Willows-Edge herd is headlined by eight EX-94 cows, including signature ladies Willows-Edge Bolton Flicker and Willows-Edge Advent Malika. Flicker was the Grand Champion of the 2014 District 1 Holstein Show and produced just shy of 40,000 lbs milk with almost 2,000 lbs fat as a five-year-old. Backed by eight Gold Medal Dams, she has sons at Accelerated, International Protein Sires and Global Genetic Resources. Advent Malika is a four-time Nominated Junior All-American cow, with two Reserve Junior All-American honors to date. The Van Dyks also have over 35 All-American, Junior All-American and Red and White All-American nominations to date.

Henk and Bonnie have bred 329 Excellent cows, the last herd classification produced a BAA of 111.8% with 55 Excellent and 55 Very Good cows. The rolling herd average with 126 cows on 2x and no rBST includes 24,359 lbs milk, with 4.2 1034 fat and 3.08 750 protein lbs.

The Van Dyks are very excited to welcome Holstein breeders to northwest Wisconsin on August 2. They are only 13 miles from historic Stillwater, MN, and only 40 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul, home of the Mall of America, Como Zoo, Science Museum and summer sporting events. Picnic guests can look forward to samples and spirits from these sponsors, including Grassland Butter, award winning 45th Parallel Distillery, Best of the St. Croix Valley Redneck Juice from Sportsman's Bar, and an Artesian Cheese Table from Bass Lake Cheese Factory.

Bring the entire family and make a weekend in northwest Wisconsin! We hope to see you on August 2!

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