RAGERSVILLE -- Outstanding dairy herds were recognized, new royalty was crowned, and updates were given on current legislation of interest to farmers during the 2012 Tuscarawas County Dairy Farmers banquet Feb. 23 at the Zion United Church of Christ, Ragersville, with 131 dairy farmers and guests attending.

Top dairy herds, in both official and unofficial, categories, were recognized for production of milk, fat or protein, and presented plaques or certificates. The unofficial category was added in 2004.

Also receiving plaques were most improved herds, high lifetime cows and low somatic cell count herds.

Plaques were resented to the following:

High herd in milk production, official - (100 cows or less), D and S Dairy Farm (Loran Schlabach of Dundee) for 23,523 pounds of milk for 53 cows; (101 and over) - Putt Dairy Farms of 311 Ragersville Road NW, Sugarcreek, for 29,492 pounds of milk for 281 cows.

High herd in milk production, unofficial,(100 cows or less) Ray Mutti, 892 Stonecreek Road SW, Stone Creek, for 22,497 pounds of milk for 50 cows; (101 and over) Jim and Marcia Loveday of 6273 Winklepleck Road NW, Dundee, for 27,096 pounds of milk for 140 cows.

High herd in fat production, official - (100 cows or less)-Steel-Lane Holsteins (Nathan Steel ) for 1,027 pounds of fat for 10 cows; (101 and over) - Specht Farms Ltd., Tim and Brian Specht families of 3370 Ragersville Raod SW, Sugarcreek, for 1,129 pounds of fat for 280 cows.

High herd in fat production, unofficial, (100 cows or less) Ray Mutti, for 975 pounds of fat; (101 and over) - Mutti Dairy Farms of 3326 Stonecreek Rd SW, Stone Creek, represented by the Vernon Mutti family, for 926 pounds of fat for181 cows.

High herd in protein production, official, (100 cows or less), Steel-Lane Holsteins for production of 737 pounds of protein; (100 cows and over) -Putt Dairy Farms for 890 pounds of protein.

High herd in protein production, unofficial, (100 cows and under)- Ray Mutti for 716 pounds of protein; (101 cows and over) Jim and Marcia Loveday for 782 pounds

Most improved herd, official, Specht Farms Ltd., for an increase of 1,351 pounds of milk.

Most improved herd, unofficial, John L. Sigrist, 10316 Kohr Rd. NW, Dundee, for an increase of 524 pounds of milk for 114 cows.

Burky Farm, LLC of Sugarcreek was recognized for having the official high lifetime cow, while Ridenour Farms (John and Ben Ridenour) of Angel Valley Rd. SW , Stone Creek, had the unofficial high lifetime cow.

Steel-Lane Holsteins had the official low somatic cell count of 49,000, while Ray Mutti had the unofficial low somatic cell count of 105,000.

Certificates were presented in a number of other categories for Holstein, Jersey and Brown Swiss cattle.

A total of 46 Tuscarawas County herds are currently on official and unofficial test. Of this number, nineteen are official herds. Their county averages for 2011 are 24,504 pounds of milk, 883 pounds of fat and 736 pounds of protein.

Brian Winters, general manager, DHI Cooperative Inc., reported that Putt Dairy Farms is listed among the Elite Herds (top 5 percent) in the state of Ohio for the production of milk, fat, and protein for both Holstein and Jersey breeds.

Other Elite herds recognized were Bill Deetz of Sugarcreek for milk and protein; Burky Farm LLC, for milk; Specht Farms LTD, for fat and protein and Steel-Lane Holsteins, for fat, all Holstein herds.

Brett Stoldt, Regional Sales Representative for DHI Cooperative, Inc. assisted with the presentation of DHI awards.

Charles Finton presented scholarships, on behalf of the dairy farmers committee, to county youth who are currently studying in an agricultural-related field.

Receiving scholarships were Kayla and Kaitlyn Hinds, daughters of Kevin and Gladys Hinds, Chris Finton, son of Charles and Lisa Finton and Stacie Steel, daughter of Terry and Colleen Steel.

Guest speaker, Allison Ryan, industry relations manager for the American Dairy Association, Mid-East, gave information on how the organization promotes the sale and consumption of dairy products,

She showed videos that were produced for the "Meet Ohio Dairy Farmers" campaign. She also stressed the importance of combating misconceptions, and educating parents, school officials and health professionals on the importance of keeping chocolate milk in schools.

"When flavored milk was not an option in schools, it was found that overall milk consumption dropped as much as thirty-five percent," she said.

Mercedes Sisson, 19, daughter of Kristi Sisson and Christian Haas of the Bolivar area, was named senior dairy princess, while Victoria Deam, 11, was named junior dairy princess. Victoria is a daughter of Neil and Jennifer Deam of Sugarcreek. They were crowned by their predecessors, Liz Beller and Gabby Heter, respectively.

The senior dairy princess has been a member of Milkmakers 4-H Club for five years. "I have always shown Holsteins in 4-H and their ages have ranged from the smallest calf to the largest heifer. This is my final year in 4-H and I have not yet decided what my project will be."

"I want to be dairy princess for many reasons, among them being able to pass on some of the information I have learned about the dairy industry to others. I like helping people, and being able to give newer members tips on how they can do a better job of showing their animals."

Mercedes graduated from Tusky Valley High School in 2011.

While in high school she was a member of the Rotary Interact Club and also did PSEO, attending college classes while in high school to get a jump start on their college education.

The princess began college classes in October, studying to be a managing cosmetologist at The National Beauty College . She is scheduled to graduate in August 2012.

"I have also been working for my uncle, Jim Rowe, at Jimita Holsteins for the past three years. I had always wanted to work for him, and when I turned 16 I started. I feel like I have learned so much mor when I am at the farm doing hands-on work."

Victoria is a sixth grader at Miller Avenue Elementary and she has been a Garaway PeeWee cheerleader for three years. She is secretary for the Ragersville Kountry Buddies 4-H Club She has shown Holstein heifers at the Tuscarawas County fair for three years and is a member of the county dairy judging team.

"I have shown Holstein dairy heifers at many different places, such as NAILE in Kentucky, the Ohio State Fair, the Spring Dairy Expo, and District 3 and district 7 Holstein shows, "she said. "Showing dairy has always been a part of my life and I hope to continue it for a long time."

"All my life I have dreamed of being a dairy princess, and I believe I can be a good representative of the Tuscarawas County Dairy Industry, "the princess concluded.

Ohio Farm Bureau Organization Director, Michele Specht, discussed the Department of Labor proposal regarding the employment of youth in agriculture. She said that the Farm Bureau as well as 70 other agricultural organizations oppose the DOL proposal, and feel it should be re-drawn.

She urged those in attendance to join Farm Bureau to keep up with proposed state and federal legislation and to represent their interests with legislators.