Matt Henkes honored with national Holstein award
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 09/10/2012 3:01 PM
DES MOINES — As 4-H program summer assistant for Clayton County Extension, Matt Henkes helped finish up at the Clayton County Fair on Aug. 6. The next day, he hauled cattle to a neighbor's farm where he loaded them on a semi for the trip to the Iowa State Fair.
Once at the fair, he helped get his family's dairy cattle ready for the youth and open shows. He returned home Aug. 11, unpacked and got his things ready to head to Ames Aug. 14 for his senior year at Iowa State University where he is majoring in dairy science and minoring in agricultural education. Then it was back to the fair to work at the ISU Dairy Science Club's "I Milked a Cow" booth. Classes started Aug. 20.
After graduation, Henkes plans to return home to the family farm as the sixth generation.
In June he was one of six youth in the nation honored as a Distinguished Junior Member finalist by Holstein Association USA.
To apply, he had to complete a 60-page book detailing everything he's done as a Junior Holstein member. His book was selected to go to the national competition where he was one of 12 semi-finalists.
"We had to go through an interview process at the national convention," he said during an interview at the fair. "It was one of the most intense interviews I'd ever had. It was me and six judges in a room."
Henkes received a plaque, a pin and a lifetime membership in the Holstein Association USA.
"It was really exciting to be one of those chosen," Henkes said. "It meant a lot. It's one of the many things I've accomplished this year to cap off my final year as a Junior Holstein member."
He also received a $2,000 scholarship from the National Holstein Women's Scholarship Organization.
Henkes started showing in Iowa Junior Holstein when he was 9 and exhibited in kiddie calf shows when he was in kindergarten. One of the first calves he showed is still in his family's dairy herd.
"Lilly was born in March 2001 and she just calved again in June," Henkes said. "I received a production award at the National Holstein Convention because she produced over 150,000 pounds of milk. She calves every year and is a trouble-free cow."
Henkes had another exciting moment this spring when he received the Overall Judi Collinsworth Outstanding Junior Exhibitor Memorial Award presented by Holstein Association USA.
He owns 20 milk cows and 25 heifers. Most are Holsteins and Red and Whites, although he owns one Guernsey and three Milking Shorthorns.
Henkes said his parents, Trent and Leslie, and his grandma, Glenda Henkes, are his mentors.
"Because of them I was born into registered Holsteins and grew up with them," Henkes said.
His sister, Leah, has helped him in many ways, and he also credits his quiz bowl coaches Marilyn Steffens, Heidi deGier and Jeff Hammerand and his dairy judging coaches, his dad and Larry Landsgard. He won dairy judging honors in 4-H, while he was a student at Northeast Iowa Community College and at ISU. This fall the team will judge at Viroqua or Harrisburg and then at World Dairy Expo.