Nine individuals have been nominated to serve in leadership positions of the national Jersey organizations―seven for the American Jersey Cattle Association and two for the National All-Jersey Inc. Board of Directors. Results of the elections will be announced during the organizations’ annual meetings in Bettendorf, Iowa, the last weekend of June.
Ballots were mailed to active members on Monday, May 25, 2021. Electronic voting for AJCA positions will open on May 26, 2021, at 8 am (EST) and close on June 24 at noon (CDT). Electronic voting for NAJ positions will open on May 27 at 8 am (EST) and close on June 25 at noon (CDT).
Jonathan Merriam, Hickman, Calif., has been nominated for President of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA). He currently is serving his third term as AJCA president.
Merriam grew up on the family dairy farm in Hickman and now works as the genetics specialist at Ahlem Farms Partnership in Hilmar, Calif. The 7,000-cow dairy owned by Carolyn Ahlem, Sabino Ahlem-Herrera and Roger Herrera milks cows on three dairies using several AJCA programs, including REAP and JerseyMate, and JerseyTags for permanent identification. Ahlem Farms Partnership is a charter investor in Project Equity and a contract advertiser with the Jersey Journal. The dairy is also a founder of Hilmar Cheese Company.
AJCA Director Nominee – First District
Jason Johnson, Northwood, N.H., has been nominated to serve as Director from the First District of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA).
A fourth-generation dairy farmer, he grew up in New Hampshire and earned a dairy management degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1996. He has managed dairies with diverse management styles in two countries and four states, including his home dairy and Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, Vt.
Jason is currently employed by Stonyfield Organic as farmer relationship manager. In this capacity, he is responsible for direct supply milk procurement, animal welfare, milk quality, and sustainability programs for the northeast milk supply. He works with several well-known Jersey establishments in New England.
AJCA Director Nominee – First District
Moira Tierney Poitras
Moira Tierney Poitras, Brimfield, Mass., has been nominated to serve as Director from the First District of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA).
She operates Poitras Jerseys and Sire Services with her husband, Scott, and their daughters, Katelyn and Madelyn. The Poitrases have operated the independent semen sales company for 12 years. The 16-head herd of Registered Jerseys has an appraisal average of 87.5% on 10 milking cows. Heifers are raised on the home farm. Cows are managed with herds owned by Peter Hawkes Jr., in Alstead, N.H., and Smyth’s Trinity Farm, in Enfield, Conn.
A favorite family pastime is showing cattle. Highlights from the 2020 show season include three Junior All American nominations in the contest sponsored by Cowsmopolitan. Hi-Poits Colton Teresa, Very Good-88%, garnered the award for Honorable Mention Milking Yearling.
AJCA Director Nominee – Third District
Lori Sollenberger, Everett, Pa., has been nominated to serve as Director from the Third District of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA).
Early in her Jersey career, Lori had a goal of representing breeders from her area on the AJCA Board of Directors. But when she sold a good portion of the herd and pursued cheesemaking, she put aside that goal. She assumed she no longer fit the mold of the conventional Jersey breeder sitting on the board. But with the growing interest in niche and artisan foods in recent years and the Jersey being the perfect cow to produce these value-added products, she revisited that goal and made the decision to run for Director.
AJCA Director Nominee – Third District
Joe Vanderfeltz, Lawton, Pa., has been nominated to serve as Director from the Third District of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA).
Vanderfeltz and his wife, Melinda, and sons, Kyle and Corey, milk 220 Jersey and 180 Holstein cows at VanFel-JM Dairy. VanFel Jerseys is enrolled on REAP and a contract advertiser with the Jersey Journal. The herd has a 2020 actual herd average of 17,703 lbs. milk, 854 lbs. fat and 697 lbs. protein on 160 lactations. Over the years, the dairy has consistently ranked among its peers for production. In 2019, it ranked among the top 10 in the nation for milk, fat, and protein in the category for herds with 80-149 cows. With the most recent appraisal, the herd includes 21 Excellent and 134 Very Good cows and has an average of 82%. The Holsteins average 27,500 lbs. milk, with component tests of 3.9% fat and 3.2% protein. Milk is marketed to Readington Farms Inc. in Whitehouse, N.J., a private company that supplies fluid milk for the ShopRite grocery chain.
AJCA Director Nominee – Fifth District
Bradley Taylor, Booneville, Miss., has been nominated to serve as Director from the Fifth District of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA). He is serving his first term as Director, having been elected to the position in 2018. He currently chairs the Finance Committee and is a member of the Breed Improvement Committee as well.
Taylor owns and operates Taylor Jersey Farm Inc. with his wife, Carla, sons, Lee, Carl and Holden, and parents, Royal and Marthell. The 150-cow Registered Jersey herd is enrolled on REAP, uses JerseyTags for permanent identification and is a contract advertiser with the Jersey Journal. Taylor Jersey Farm has a 2020 lactation average (m.e.) of 14,751 lbs. milk, 644 lbs. fat and 514 lbs. protein and an appraisal average of 82.6%, with 15 Excellent and 70 Very Good cows. The dairy is a member of Dixieland Jersey Sires and Liberty Jersey Sires. Milk has been shipped to Lone Star Milk Producers since October 2020.
AJCA Director Nominee – Ninth District
Ralph Frerichs, LaGrange, Texas, has been nominated for Director of the Ninth District of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA).
He served as Director from the Eighth District for two terms from 2009-2015. He was vice president from 2013-2015 and chaired the Development Committee as well. He also served on the organization’s Executive, Finance, Breed Improvement, Information Technology and Identification and Registration Committees.
Frerichs operates Frerichs Dairy Inc. with his wife, Faith, and his brother, Robert, and his son, Neal. His parents, Marian and the late Edgar Frerichs, got into the Jersey business in 1948 with a handful of Jersey cows, the first one a wedding gift for the couple.
NAJ Director Nominee – District 3
John H. Kokoski
John H. Kokoski, Hadley, Mass., has been nominated to serve as District 3 Director for National All-Jersey Inc. (NAJ). He is currently serving his fourth term as director, having been appointed to the position in 2007 when former director, David Chamberlain, was elected president of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA). John is also serving his third term as president of NAJ.
Kokoski is the fourth generation to farm the land initially purchased by his great-great grandfather in 1904. A 1969 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Kokoski took over operation of the farm in 1986 and phased out the vegetable and tobacco business to focus on dairying.
NAJ Director Nominee – District 2
Rogelio “Roger” Herrera, Hilmar, Calif., has been nominated for District 2 Director for National All-Jersey Inc. He is currently serving his first term as director, having been elected to the position in 2017.
Herrera manages Ahlem Farms Vista and Ahlem Farms Jerseys in Hilmar, Calif. He and his wife of 20 years, Teresa, have three daughters, Shea, Camille and Ella, who help in the operation of the dairies as well.
Born in Mexico, he emigrated with his family to the United States when he was four years old and grew up in Los Angeles, Calif. He pursued a career in law enforcement, working as patrol deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department for eight years.
All active members shown on the membership books of the Association on the date 50 days prior to the Annual Meeting (May 7, 2021) are eligible to vote for AJCA President and Directors. Persons eligible to vote for NAJ Directors (by district) are producer members, those who pay fees as established by the Board of Directors, and honorary members shown on the membership records of the corporation 60 days prior to the the Annual Meeting (April 27, 2021).
To vote electronically, you must have a unique email on file with the AJCA.