National DHIA Outstanding Service Award Winners

News Editor

Congratulations to Leigh Walton and Lillian Bacheller, Beltsville, Md., and Mary and Al Nichol, Deckerville, Mich. for receiving the National Dairy Herd Information Association’s (DHIA) Outstanding Service Award and the H. Victor Joachim Distinguished Leadership Award, respectively. The awards were given March 11, in St. Pete Beach, Fla., in conjunction with the association’s annual meeting.

Leigh Walton and Lillian Bacheller
Employees of the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory (AIPL), part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service, they work as information technology specialists. For more than 30 years, they have provided computer expertise to support USDA’s research program on the genetic evaluations of U.S. dairy animals, for which the primary data were records collected through DHIA. This award honors individuals who have dedicated service to improving DHIA and provided notable leadership to advancing DHIA.

During the early 1990s, Walton and Bacheller developed and implemented new AIPL editing routines. The former editing routines limited the accuracy of the national database of DHI records and hampered efficient data exchange and research. These revised edits allowed: 1) online access to USDA files by dairy records processing centers, breed associations, National DHIA, DHI affiliates, National Association of Animal Breeders and artificial insemination (AI) organizations; 2) daily or weekly editing of yield and pedigree data for early resolution of problems; {more….}

Mary and Al Nichol
The H. Victor Joachim Distinguished Leadership Award goes to a DHI dairy producer and/or spouse who has held a leadership position in DHIA or the dairy industry, and rendered outstanding and unselfish service for many years, along with a notable contribution to advancing DHIA in the United States.

From 2003-2007, Mary chaired the National DHIA Scholarship Committee, which annually provides up to 25 $500 scholarships to worthy students. Mary has also taken an active role in several cooperatives, serving as NorthStar DHI Services Advisory Committee vice president, Universal Lab Services Board president and vice president, Sanilac County DHIA board member, Sanilac County Farm Bureau board member and Michigan Milk Producers Association delegate.

Up until last fall, Mary and Al milked 80 cows and cropped 300 acres of alfalfa, corn, soybeans and wheat. They nurtured their land and crops, and jointly managed and operated their dairy farm for more than 40 years.{more….}

Source: National DHIA