A standing ovation of breeders applauded Joe and Mary K. Miller of Laura, Ohio, as they accepted the Brown Swiss Association's Distinguished Service Award at the breed's National Convention Awards Banquet in Frederick, Maryland, on July 8. In the name of Roger N. Neitzel, the Distinguished Service Award is given to a person(s) who has dedicated many years of service to the Brown Swiss Association. The Millers are the second recipients of the award. They have served in various capacities of the Brown Swiss Association at both state and national levels.
Joe has been the secretary/treasurer of the Ohio Brown Swiss Association for more than 35 years and Mary K. has advised the Ohio Junior Brown Swiss program for many years. They planned and co-chaired many committees, enabling numerous successful National Conventions in Ohio, including serving as convention co-chairs for the Lima convention in 2007.
Also, Joe served on the National Board of Directors for six years at which time, he chaired the National Youth Committee. After retiring from the board, Joe took on the role of National Youth Coordinator, which required him to organize national shows and youth contests. Just recently, he retired from this position, but remains on the Youth Committee.
They met at The Ohio State University and were married June 14, 1964. Then, in 1969, Joe and Mary K. purchased a farm in Darke County, where they milked Brown Swiss Cows under the prefix of Kinnderkay Swiss until October 1995.
With assistance from their daughter Anne Kloss, the Millers developed their 50-cow herd while breeding for type and production. In 1986, they were awarded the Ohio Progressive Breeder Award.
Joe and Mary K. said one of their proudest moments for the herd was when Anne won Grand and Reserve Champion of the 1989 Junior Show in Louisville, Kentucky, with home-bred daughter-dam pair Kinnderkay Changing Cheese 2E90 and her daughter Kinnderkay King Cream 2E90.
In addition to the show ring, the Millers have also achieved a lasting influence in the area of Youth Development Programs. According to his daughter Anne "Joe's dedication to positive youth development is inspiring."
As a 20-year 4-H club advisor, "Joe has set direction and support for the entire 4-H county program and been an earnest promoter of the dairy industry," she said.
"He is especially effective as a judge and instructor with Junior Fair shows in Ohio and Indiana," said Anne. "He has always encouraged showmanship, judging and grooming activities and contests."
In 2003, Joe was inducted into Ohio State Dairy Science Hall of Service. In 2007, he was accepted into the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame.
Mary K. has also lent a hand to youth development activities. As a 45-year teacher, she worked with FHA and Hero programs and has mentored a National FHA/Hero president and many state officers. She was past president of the National Association of Vocational Home Economics Teachers and still encourages FCCLA Programs by assisting teachers and planning yearly rallies.
Joe and Mary K. along with Anne, son-in-law Dave and grandsons Webb and Tyler are still active with the Brown Swiss breed. They still own 40 head of Registered Brown Swiss Cattle and are working on Kinnderkay's third generation of Brown Swiss owners and showmen. PD
—From Brown Swiss Association news release