Walkup Holsteins named to Va. Livestock Hall of Fame
HARRISONBURG, Va. — Walkup Holsteins celebrated its 142nd anniversary this year by continuing to follow its stated mission.
The state’s dairy industry added to the milestone by nominating farm owner Daniel J. Myers and his daughter, Teresa Myers Callender to the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame.
They were inducted into this prestigious group Sept. 28 at ceremonies at Virginia Tech.
“Walkup Holsteins is a family dairy farm dedicated to sustaining our families, our cattle, our community and our soils by practicing good stewardship of our God given talents, capital and opportunities,” the Myers family said in its mission statement.
“The well-known Holstein breeding establishment, Walkup Farm, combines the efforts of Dan Myers, Teresa Callender and their families,” the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association reported in making the nomination. “Well-known for quality genetics. They are even more well-known as farmers who have a passion for the dairy industry and are well respected by the community and their fellow producers.”
The father-daughter team talked about their farm in an interview in the kitchen of the farmhouse built by their ancestors in 1918.
“It’s hands on,” Teresa said of their dairy and its cows. “We are touching most all of them every day.”
She said the cows expect them at the barn long before milking time and come to them. As Myers and Callender walked up to the gate of one of the barns, they reached through the gate bars to touch and be touched by their humans.
Teresa said she and her mother Charlotte do the milking twice-a-day. The only help on the farm besides family members is a relief milker. There are about 120 cows in the herd.
Dan and Charlotte are the fifth generation of the family that traces its ownership back through generations to 1877. Teresa and her husband Don Callender and her brother D.J. Myers make up the sixth generation. Their children are the seventh to work on this family farm.
The Myers family has a well-defined division of labor as Chuck Miller of VSDA outlined at the induction ceremony.
“Dan, Charlotte and Teresa manage the dairy herd-breeding, milking and all aspects of animal care,” he said. “Don is responsible for maintaining the buildings, dairy and farm equipment. D. J. manages the crop production and fieldwork.”
Don and Teresa’s daughters, Kristina and Kelly, have off-the-farm jobs but pitch in on the farm when needed, Teresa said. When they were younger they were involved through 4-H and Junior Holstein projects. D.J.’s daughter, Anna is a sophomore at Bridgewater College.
Teresa said she has a keen interest in seeing that the dairy industry is understood by consumers. She especially wants them to know that milk comes from cows, not from plants.
“Noted for protecting and promoting dairy’s image, Walkup Holsteins was the first family-owned and operated dairy farm in the Southeast region of the U.S. to be featured by Dairy Management Inc. on its website that informs the general public about today’s dairy industry,” Miller said.
The family has also set forth their time-tested philosophies of caring for their Registered Holsteins and how they want to be perceived by consumers.
“Our dairy cows must be healthy and well-cared for in order to produce pure wholesome milk,” they said. “Our cows receive regular medical care, including periodic check-ups, vaccinations and prompt treatment of illness.”
The Myers family said their farming practices reflect their emphasis on conservation.
“No-till has replaced conventional tillage in corn for more than 20 years,” they wrote. “Now we are no-till planting most, if not all, of our crop production.”
They go beyond tillage in their efforts to be environmentally responsible.
“Chemical application is carefully planned and reviewed each year to provide desired results and minimize any personal or environmental damage,” they continued. “We follow our nutrient management plan to maintain and retain our most precious asset, our soil.”
The dry cow and bred heifer barn has been constructed to serve agriculture and to protect the environment, they report. It was built working with several governmental agencies including the National Resources Conservation Service.
The farm has long been a leader in the Holstein breed. Miller listed many of the cows that have contributed to the farm’s reputation within the breed in his presentation. One cow in particular is famous far beyond her home farm.
“From 1978 to 1982, Teresa showed the most influential cow ever bred at Walkup Holsteins, Walkup Astronaut Lou Ann,” he told industry leaders gathered in Blacksburg.
He said Lou Ann was born on the farm Jan. 19, 1976. She and her prolific progeny produced many outstanding cows and bulls over the years. “Walkup Astronaut Lou Ann’s influence worldwide made her one of the most famous cows of the last century,” Miller said. “Lou Ann’s legacy through her daughters on the international scene produced sires in the United States, Holland, Germany and France.”
All this contributed to Lou Ann’s lasting global influence resulting in her being named the third highest ranking female in Holstein International’s Cows of the Century.
When the Virginia Holstein Convention celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016 it named Lou Ann as one of the seven Virginia Cows of the Century.
As the Myers moved from the kitchen to the barns their thoughts were already turning from their past accomplishments to the next task. Milking time was rolling around once more.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925