AJCA and NAJ Directors to be Elected

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).

AJCA President

Jonathan Merriam

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.

All three herds have herd averages over 17,600 lbs. milk (actual) and herd average JPIs over +21. Among herds with 750 or more cows, Ahlem Farms Jerseys ranks seventh for protein with an average of 18,753 lbs. milk, 870 lbs. fat and 713 lbs. protein on 1,713 cows. Ahlem Farms Partnership ranks 10th for fat with a herd average of 18,217 lbs. milk, 888 lbs. fat and 686 lbs. protein. The home dairy ranks #14 in the nation for genetic merit with a herd average JPI of +47 on 3,534 cows. Eighty-nine percent are genotyped.

Merriam grew up on 400-cow dairy farm in central California, where he and his family milked 250 Registered Jerseys and 150 grade Holsteins. His grandfather, William Merriam, established the dairy herd with Jerseys in 1929 and added Holsteins in the 1960s, when the creamery required their addition due to public concern about high fat milk.

As a youth, he was active in 4-H and FFA, where he earned the American FFA Degree. A highlight of his show career was exhibiting Supreme Champion at the California State Fair with a cow bred by James Pappas of Stardust Jerseys. He also exhibited cattle at The All-American Junior Jersey Show and helped with the All American Jersey Sale. He placed third in the National Jersey Youth Achievement Contest.

Jonathan has an associate’s degree in dairy science from Modesto Junior College. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo with a major in dairy science and a minor in agriculture business. He also received a master’s degree in dairy genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Merriam was selected for the California Agriculture Leadership program, a two-year leadership program with extensive training in leadership areas of health, communication and politics. The program included a week-long trip to Washington D.C. to meet with politicians to discuss agriculture issues and a three-week excursion to India and Nepal to share agricultural knowledge and experience with third-world countries.

Jonathan was general chair for the 2019 All American and sits on the board of Jerseyland Sires. Jonathan has served on the Hickman School Board, an elected position, for nearly 20 years, serving as president three times, gaining experience, and understanding in all aspects of public education, government regulations, negotiations, and staff evaluations. He helps coach the FFA dairy judging team, is a 4-H dairy project leader and volunteers to serve community through church and other civic opportunities.

Jonathan and his wife, Becca, have four children. Kathryn, 23, is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, where she earned a degree in English. She is a published author with her first novel, No Matter What, released last year and the sequel later this year. Reva, 22, is working as an emergency medical technician planning to be a nurse. Grace, 19, is a Certified Nursing Assistant and plans to also be a nurse. Nathan, 18, attends Spartan College in Tulsa, OK studying engineering. Kathryn, Reva, Grace, and Nathan have all received their state FFA degrees. Nathan attended the 2019 Jersey Youth Academy.

AJCA Director Nominee – First District

Jason Johnson

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.

He and his wife, Heather, and children, Regan, Ryleigh and Asher, raise a few milk cows and bred heifers and care for a small flock of chickens at the home farm in Northwood. They breed Registered Jerseys with a focus on style and balance and use his family’s childhood prefix, Johnsonacres.

Success with their breeding philosophy came most recently in 2019 with Johnsonacres Colton Behold. She was named Supreme Junior Champion of the New Hampshire Jersey Breed Show and Reserve Junior Champion of the Eastern States Exposition Junior Show and earned an Honorable Mention Junior All American award from AllBreed Access. The Johnsons hope to exhibit her in the 2021 National Jersey Jug Futurity.

Show ring experiences with animals like “Behold” are one of the joys of dairying for cattle breeders like Jason. He fondly remembers his first show calf, “Rosie,” who took him to the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., for the first time as a youth. She and Jason paraded show rings in the same era as her world-famous paternal sister, two-time National Grand Champion, Billings Top Rosanne. In an act of serendipity, Jason was presented with opportunity to build on “Rosanne’s” genetics nearly three decades later as herd manager at Billings Farm.

While at Billings, Jason helped to revive the breeding and show programs, with several cows standing in the same spotlight as the former Billings Farm resident. Among them were Billings Remake Bounty, Excellent-93%, Overall Premier Performance Winner of the 2008 All American Jersey Show, RJF Jamaica Rockstar, Excellent-95%, Reserve Grand Champion of the 2013 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and Billings Legion Mini Mi, Excellent-95%, Total Performance Winner of the 2013 Eastern States Exposition. Jason also developed the “B” cow family and revived the merchandising program at the farm.

Jason currently is the vice president of the New England Jersey Breeders Association. He has served as a director of the Vermont Jersey Breeders Association six years and was elected president and vice president as well. He has chaired the sale committee for the Northeast Jersey Breeders Classic and sat on the All American Sale Committee.

While in college, he helped to revive the university dairy club and was a member of the dairy judging team that competed nationally.

Among his proudest moments was receiving the A.C. “Whitie” Thompson Memorial Award at World Dairy Expo in 2015. The award is presented annually to honor a herdsman or showman who exhibits exemplary leadership and sportsmanship throughout Expo.

Jason’s desire to serve on the AJCA Board stems from his experience working on Jersey dairies in three New England states. He would like to be a voice for the herds from the Northeast. Though most are relatively small, they continue to be a relevant component of the ever-changing dairy industry.

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.

Another homebred favorite who has done well for her new owners is Hi Points-Concept Spunky Morgan {6}, Excellent-95%. She was named All American Junior Two-Year-Old for the partnership of Budjon, Peter Vail and Frank and Diane Borba, Lomira, Wis., in 2015. She was then tapped Grand Champion of the Midwest Spring Spectacular Show in 2019 for her current owner, Jason Luttrop of Lost Elm Jerseys, Berlin, Wis.

Moira grew up on Tierney Jersey Farm in Malone, N.Y. The dairy is currently operated by her brother-in-law and sister, Charles and Jennifer Tierney Bosley, with the help of her semi-retired father, Jack Tierney. Some of the genetics in Moira’s herd today trace to Tierney Jerseys. She was a 12-year member of 4-H. She participated in showmanship and dairy judging, winning the judging contest held at the Eastern States Exposition in 1995.

She earned an associate degree from SUNY-Cobleskill and an undergraduate degree in animal science from Cornell University in 1998. She was fitting chair of the Dairy Fashion Sale conducted by SUNY-Cobleskill and a member of the Cornell Dairy Club.

For 11 years, Moira worked with 2,600 dairy goats in a transgenic program. She was responsible for as many as 16 employees, farm wide animal nutrition and the kid rearing program, which included more than 1,000 kids. She also worked as a milk tester for Dairy One for three years. She tested for herds with varying management styles and sizes and gained valuable experience with the software programs Dairy Comp 305 and PC Dart.

A strong advocate for agriculture across New England, Moira is the current president of the New England Jersey Breeders Association (NEJBA) and has been the Jersey representative at the Eastern States Exposition for the past 20 years. She has served the Massachusetts Jersey Cattle Club as president and director and been a member of the show committee, where she helps to raise funds and promote the show each summer.

Moira manages and creates posts for Facebook pages for the NEJBA, the Massachusetts Blue Ribbon Calf Sale and Poitras Jersey and Sire Services.
She has been a coach for the Massachusetts 4-H dairy judging program for 20 years and has chaired the Massachusetts Blue Ribbon Calf Sale, which benefits the state’s dairy program, for many years. She chaired the All Breeds Fall Show in October 2020 and is heading up the Northeast All Breeds Spring Show, to be held in May. Both are held at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass.

AJCA Director Nominee – Third District

Lori Sollenberger

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.

Lori grew up on Ralaine Jersey Farm in Bedford County. Among her early memories are the odd-looking cross-bred calves that were the result of productive grade Jersey cows being bred to beef bulls. Her parents set a goal to phase out these animals and become a fully Registered Jersey herd. Over time, they reached their goal. And with the use of AJCA services like REAP and bulls from the young sire groups, they consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation for genetic merit and production. They regularly received the Norman Genetic Award, presented to Pennsylvania’s high herd for genetic merit, and sent Ralaine Paramount Peter to Accelerated Genetics.

Lori grew up on Ralaine Jersey Farm in Bedford County. Among her early memories are the odd-looking cross-bred calves that were the result of productive grade Jersey cows being bred to beef bulls. Her parents set a goal to phase out these animals and become a fully Registered Jersey herd. Over time, they reached their goal. And with the use of AJCA services like REAP and bulls from the young sire groups, they consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation for genetic merit and production. They regularly received the Norman Genetic Award, presented to Pennsylvania’s high herd for genetic merit, and sent Ralaine Paramount Peter to Accelerated Genetics.

In 2005, several issues converged to create a difficult financial position and the herd was dispersed. With the few cows that were left behind, Lori began a new marketing venture: raw milk farmstead cheese made from milk produced by Hidden Hills Jerseys and marketed using the Hidden Hills Dairy label. Today, she produces six varieties of raw milk cheese in a licensed, on-farm creamery from milk produced by 15 cows. Most of the cheese is sold to restaurants and stores in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Old Gold, an aged gouda style cheese, has a growing following as a finishing cheese on pizza. It is shipped as far as Vermont and Texas.

Lori recently began participating in REAP again and will soon market cheese with the Queen of Quality label. Cows are rotationally grazed during the grazing season. The farm also makes grass hay from 150 acres of fields.

Through cheesemaking, Lori was introduced to a new segment of the dairy industry. She has entered cheese competitions and hosted cheesemaking classes at the creamery. She was a member of the steering committee that established the Pennsylvania Cheese Guild and a charter member of the organization.

Lori has been active with Jersey programs and events as well. She has served the Pennsylvania Jersey Cattle Association as president, director, and youth program coordinator. She received the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2015. She has also served on the All American Junior Show Committee and was the Jersey representative on the board for the Pennsylvania All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pa.

She is active with Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Lori is a member of the organization and has been an education coordinator in the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program on a temporary basis.

Off the farm, Lori has extensively served the Church of the Brethren. She has been a teacher and youth leader and chaired boards at the congregational and district levels. She has also been a moderator for the middle Pennsylvania region. At the denominational level, she is a former vice chair and acting chair of the Ministry and Missions Board and represented the denomination on the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches. She was appointed to delegations visiting Church of Brethren work in North and South Korea.
Lori is married to Rex Knepp. They have two adult children; daughter Morgan and son Brad.

She notes it would be a privilege for her to represent Jersey breeders from the area on the AJCA Board of Directors.

AJCA Director Nominee – Third District

Joe Vanderfeltz

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.

The youngest of eight children, Joe grew up on a registered Holstein farm in Missouri. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1991 with a degree in dairy science. He had a 17-year career in A.I. with the former Sire Power of Tunkhannock, Pa. (now Select Sires). While with Sire Power, he worked with the organization’s mating program and the public relations department.

His love for Jerseys deepened when he married Melinda in 1995 and joined her parents, David and Marilyn Quick, in the operation of their Registered Jersey herd. They partnered with the Quicks until 2001, when Joe and Melinda assumed sole ownership at the passing of Melinda’s father. Joe also worked part-time as an appraiser with the AJCA. Joe and Melinda received the AJCA Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2003.

Since purchasing the farm, they have made numerous additions and improvements to the facilities. Today cows are milked in a double-six step-up parlor. They are housed in a two-row freestall barn that was built in 2002 and subsequently expanded. Dry cows and close-up cows are raised in the tie-stall barn that was previously used for milking cows. Calves are raised on the farm from birth through weaning. They are then sent to a pair of local calf growers, where they are raised until confirmed pregnant, then brought back to the home farm.
The family farms about 700 acres of corn and alfalfa hay as well, growing most of the forage needs for the herd.

Joe is a member of Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Montrose, Pa.

Both Kyle, 19, and Corey, 16, have been active in agriculture programs for youth. They especially enjoy showing and judging cattle. Following college, Kyle plans to return home to partner with his parents in operation of the farm.

AJCA Director Nominee – Fifth District

Bradley Taylor

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.

Taylor grew up on the family farm, which has been in operation since 1966, and graduated from Mississippi State University in 2000 with a degree in animal and dairy science.

For four years after graduation, he worked off the farm with Jersey Marketing Service as part of the crew for sales like the Deep South and Southeast Heifer Growers South Sale and the All American Jersey Sale, where he met Carla, an AJCA-NAJ Area Representative at the time. Taylor also donated his service for the 2005 National Heifer Sale in Washington, Pa., which generated funds for the AJCC Research Foundation.

Taylor Jersey Farm also regularly consigns to leading Jersey sales, including the National Heifer Sale, the All American and several regional sales. The Taylors will host the second Southern Selection Sale this May at Taylor Jersey Farm. They hosted the inaugural event in May 2017. The Taylors also merchandise cattle privately, selling most bulls calves as herd sires for dairy farms across the southeast.

Taylor Jersey Farm has sent 13 bulls to A.I., including TJF Visionary Regency, the most heavily-used sire of sons in 2016. Several others trace to Vantage Lemvig Mamme, a cow owned in partnership with Lynn Lee, Smyrna, Tenn. The Excellent-90% “Mamme” has four records over 22,000 lbs. milk and a best record of 4-4 305 3x 27,440 4.8% 1,316 3.6% 996 84DCR. She has 79 registered progeny.

The Taylors also enjoy showing Registered Jerseys. Bradley has been an exhibitor at the Mississippi State Fair every year since 1980 and has shown in the Mississippi Jersey Futurity each year since 1984. The Taylors exhibit cattle at several county fairs each year and have also shown at The All American Jersey Show.

Bradley currently chairs the AJCA Type Committee and serves on the All American Sale Committee as well. He is a former board member for Dixieland Jersey Sires and vice president of the Mississippi Jersey Cattle Club.

He served the Southeast Area Council of Dairy Farmers of America for 10 years, including the office of secretary. He sat on the board of the Mississippi American Dairy Association for seven years and currently serves on the Dairy Research Advisory Council for Mississippi State University.
He and Carla received the AJCA Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2013.

AJCA Director Nominee – Ninth District

Ralph Frerichs

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.

The herd was enrolled in the Genetic Recovery program in the 1970s and today is a fully-registered herd of 120 milking cows. Frerichs Dairy has been enrolled on REAP since its inception and contributed to Project Equity since 1988. The farm is a member of Dixieland Jersey Sires Inc. and has contributed to the AJCC Research Foundation.

The Frerichs family has been actively involved in educating the public about dairy farming through the Jersey Barnyard. The hands-on barnyard exhibit provides self-guided and guided tours to local residents, tourists, schools and groups, with opportunity to pet and feed a variety of farm animals, milk a cow by hand, venture through a hay maze and learn about other farm activities. They expanded their business to include Grade A raw milk, pastured eggs, grass fed beef, organic chicken and pastured pork. The farm store is packed with domestic and imported cheeses and local farm goods to support other farmers in their value-added endeavors. The Frerichs family is constantly evolving their farm business to provide food for local niche markets.

They also operate the Texas Jersey Cheese Company. For 10 years, Ralph and Faith made the all-natural Jersey cheese by hand. Today it is made by others so the couple can concentrate on other aspects of the farm. Their cheese is sold locally and online. It is their dream to bring tours to the cheese-making aspect of the business as well.

Frerichs Dairy is home to the well-known “Belle,” television star and “spokescow” for Blue Bell Creameries. “Belle” has appeared in many commercials and traveled extensively promoting Blue Bell ice cream. “Belle” and her herdmates have starred in 11 commercials for Blue Bell ice cream. The farm’s Jerseys have also appeared in commercials for Astro Yogurt and Promised Land Dairy.
Frerichs, a graduate of Texas A & M University with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science, has served as the Texas Jersey Cattle Club president, vice-president and director and sat on numerous committees. He was a co-chair of the 1994 National Heifer Sale and served on the All American Sale and Youth Committees and the Jersey Jug Committee.

He has participated in the Young Dairy Leader Institute and received the Texas DHIA Master Dairy Producer Award. Robert and Faith were recipients of the Young Jersey Breeder Award in 1988 and have participated in AMPI’s Young Cooperative Program.

Frerichs served on the Fayette County Dairy Committee and was a 10-year coach of the Fayette County 4-H dairy judging team, which placed in competitions at the state level.
He coached youth soccer, was a member of the Grange ISD Task Force Planning Committee and served St. Paul Lutheran Church as councilman. Frerichs is a past sponsor for the church high school youth program.

Ralph and Faith are parents to Neal and Allison Frerichs and the late Bradley Frerichs.

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.

Mapleline Farm has direct marketed milk from its Registered Jersey herd since 1995. Initially, milk was processed and bottled off-site and sold in a small retail store at the farm. A wholesale delivery business then grew out of the demand for all-Jersey milk, especially in the local restaurant scene which loved cooking and baking with premium Jersey milk. In January 2004, the farm constructed its own processing and bottling plant, bottling in both glass and plastic.

Today, Mapleline Farm’s milk can be found throughout the state of Massachusetts, in grocery and specialty food stores, restaurants, coffee shops and institution dining services. Mapleline Farm milk is a certified “Queen of Quality” All-Jersey product, and proudly displays the “Queen of Quality” logo on its returnable glass bottles. Its chocolate milk has been featured by many food editors and recently named “Best Chocolate Milk in Massachusetts.”

The herd of 110 cows is enrolled on REAP, a contract advertiser in the Jersey Journal and a member of New England Jersey Sires. The herd has a 2020 AJCA lactation average (m.e.) of 18,907 lbs. milk, 1,006 lbs. fat and 690 lbs. protein on 114 lactations and an appraisal average of 83.6% after the January 2021 appraisal. Cows are milked in a double-seven, rapid-exit parlor and housed in free stalls. Mapleline Farm routinely consigns animals to The All American Jersey Sale, the Massachusetts Blue-Ribbon Calf Sale, the National Heifer Sale, and the New England Spring Sale.

Mapleline Farm has been named a Dairy of Distinction by the Massachusetts Farm Bureau for 10 years and was recognized as a Century Farm by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources in 2004. Mapleline Farm has been featured extensively in articles and tours sponsored by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service because of its conservation efforts and nutrient management plan. The farm also installed a total of 150-kilowatt solar generating system that went online in October 2016. In 2019 the University of Massachusetts presented Mapleline Farm with its “Sustainability Award.”

Kokoski has sat on the New England Dairy Promotion Board and served the organization as director for more than 25 years. He has been a member of the Massachusetts Cooperative Milk Producers Federation and sat on its board for several years. Kokoski is past president of the Massachusetts Jersey Cattle Club and the New England Jersey Breeders Association. He has served as chair of the New England Spring Sale.

NAJ Director Nominee – District 2

Roger Herrera

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.

He and his family moved to the family farm, Ahlem Farms Jerseys, in Hilmar in 2009. He joined the partnership of Ahlem Farms Vista and Ahlem Farms Jerseys, which are expansions of the foundation farm, with herd owners Bill and Carolyn Ahlem and his brother, Sabino, a year later.

Milk is shipped to Hilmar Cheese Company, the largest single-site cheese plant in the world.

Both Ahlem Farms Vista and Ahlem Farms Jerseys are enrolled in REAP. The herds milk a combined 4,600 Registered Jersey cows. Ahlem Farms Jerseys has a 2020 AJCA actual herd average of 18,753 lbs. milk, 870 lbs. fat and 713 lbs. protein on 1,713 cows, ranking seventh in the nation for protein among herds with 750 or more cows. Ahlem Farms Vista has an actual herd average of 17,657 lbs. milk, 857 lbs. fat and 671 lbs. protein on 2,968 cows. Both herds rank among the top 25% in the nation for genetic merit, with respective herd average JPIs of +21 and +39 following the April 2021 genetic evaluations. More than 110 cows rank among the top 25% for JPI or Genomic JPI. More than 65% of the milking cows in each herd have been genotyped.

Herrera was mentored in cattle breeding by the late Ed Fisher, who received the AJCA Master Breeder Award with Ahlem Farms Partnership in 2009. The dairies have an active embryo transfer program to grow the herd’s most elite genetics and boost the overall genetic level of the herd. The herds continue the tradition of the foundation herd by breeding high-scoring, high-producing, long-lived cows. Ahlem Jersey Farm is home to seven Excellent-94% cows: Ahlem Iatola Finesse 32754, Ahlem Iatola Tiffany 32553, Ahlem Action Harmony 33374, Ahlem Sultan Dusty 33653, Ahlem Ace Brittany 33913, Ahlem Ace Equal 33806 and Ahlem Blackstone Eve 36184.

Ahlem Farms Vista and Ahlem Farms Jerseys have also continued the tradition of placing Registered Jersey bulls in nearly every major A.I. organization and consigning to elite Jersey sales, including the All American Jersey Sale, the Pot O’Gold and the National Heifer Sale.

The dairies are actively involved with Jerseyland Sires and use JerseyMate to assist with mating cows and heifers.

Though raised in Los Angeles, Herrera always yearned for small town life, which is what he got when he moved to Hilmar and began a career managing a herd of Registered Jersey cattle.

Election Details

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.