Two people from Wisconsin, along with two others from California and the Dominican Republic, will be recognized in October at the 2019 World Dairy Expo for their contributions and excellence in the dairy industry and in their communities.

Janina Siemers, business manager at Siemers Holsteins, Newton, will be honored as the Dairywoman of the Year. Randy Shaver, a UW-Madison professor in the Department of Dairy Science and Extension dairy nutritionist, will be honored as the Industry Person of the Year.

“I am speechless and incredibly humbled to receive this honor,” Siemers said. “When I first found out, I thought they’d made a mistake.”

Siemers was born and raised on her family’s dairy farm in California, where her parents instilled in her the value of working hard, doing your best and being happy with that at the end of the day.

She didn’t expect to find herself working in the dairy industry, but fate had other ideas when she met her future husband, Dan, while he was completing an internship in California during his studies at UW-Madison. He won the heart of the farmer’s daughter, Siemers said, and the two of them returned to Wisconsin to join his family’s dairy operation, now in its fifth and sixth generations.

When she joined the operation in 1995, Siemers was young and ambitious, and with a degree in business, she began taking care of “everything to do with paper” on the farm, including organizing employees, insurance and data entry as none of the documents had been computerized yet.

“The family entrusted me and I’m grateful for their trust with such big responsibilities,” she said.

Siemers now keeps track of 50 full-time employees, along with wearing many other hats at Siemers Holsteins, located on Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Green Bay. Her husband and his brothers own the farm together, milking 2,500 cows and cropping 5,500 acres.

She has been a 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl coach in her county for more than 10 years and is a school board member for the Howards Grove School District. The family also hosted Wisconsin Farm Progress Days in 1997.

While Siemers usually stays behind at the farm during World Dairy Expo each year, and has been happy to keep things going while others are away, she acknowledges this year will be different.

“It’s just an incredible honor,” she said. “And there’s no possible way this could have happened without the family and the trust they have for the next generation.

“This is where my passion always lied and this is what I love to do,” she added.

Randy Shaver was born and raised in western Pennsylvania on a dairy farm. He completed his bachelor’s degree in dairy science at Pennsylvania State University, his master’s degree in dairy science from the University of Maryland and his doctorate in dairy science from UW-Madison. While pursuing his Ph.D., Shaver conducted research for UW-Madison and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, which prepared him for an eventual career in dairy research.

From 1986 to 1988, Shaver worked in industry, then joined the faculty in the Department of Dairy Science at UW-Madison with a 75 percent Extension and 25 percent research appointment. He has educated industry consultants, feed professionals, veterinarians and dairy producers throughout the U.S., connecting academia to the dairy industry by carrying research out of the labs and into fields, farms and Extension offices.

During his time at UW-Madison, he has advised or co-advised 30 master’s and doctoral students and has authored or co-authored 104 peer-review journal publications, 182 scientific abstracts, 108 popular-press articles in industry trade magazines and 260 newsletter articles, Extension handouts and Internet publications. Shaver is a popular speaker at dairy industry conferences and workshops, presenting in 46 U.S. states and in more than a dozen countries, including Chile, China, Germany and Mexico.

Along with receiving the 2019 World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year award, Shaver has also been honored with the American Dairy Science Association’s American Feed Industry Association Award for Dairy Nutrition, as well as the association’s Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Award, DeLaval Dairy Extension Award and Nutrition Professionals Applied Dairy Nutrition Award. He was also recognized with the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Pound Extension Excellence Award.

Receiving the honor of World Dairy Expo’s 2019 Dairyman of the Year is Steve Maddox of Maddox Family Dairy, Burrel, Calif. Dr. Julio A. Brache Arzeno of Rica Group, located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will be honored as the Expo’s 2019 International Person of the Year.

These four outstanding dairy professionals will be recognized during the World Dairy Expo Dinner on Oct. 2 in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center. Banquet tickets will be available online at beginning July 1.

This year’s World Dairy Expo, scheduled for Oct. 1-5 in Madison, marks the 53rd year of the event that draws more than 65,000 people from all across the globe. It is the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show featuring dairy and forage seminars, world-class dairy cattle shows and more.