Officers and directors of the USJersey organizations were elected during the Annual Meetings of the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) and National All-Jersey Inc. (NAJ) held on June 25 and 26, 2021 in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Jonathan Merriam, Hickman, Calif., was re-elected to a fourth one-year term as President of the American Jersey Cattle Association on June 25. The third generation of his family to breed and own Registered Jerseys, Merriam is the genetics specialist at Ahlem Farms Partnership, Hilmar, Calif., having previously worked in A.I. sire procurement, extension and education. He has served on the boards of the California Jersey Cattle Association and Jerseyland Sires and was co-chair of the 2016 National Heifer Sale. He was General Chair of The All American Jersey Shows & Sales in 2019, and served as chair of The All American Sale Committee in 2017.
Jason Johnson, Northwood, N.H., was elected to his first three-year term as AJCA Director from the First District, succeeding Tom Sawyer, Walpole, N.H.. A fourth generation dairy farmer, he earned a dairy management degree from the University of New Hampshire. Jason is currently a farmer relationship manager with Stonyfield Organic. He is responsible for direct supply milk procurement, animal welfare, milk quality and sustainability programs for the northeast milk supply. He and his wife, Heather, and children, Regan, Ryleigh, and Asher raise and breed their Johnsonacres Jerseys at their home in Northwood. He is currently serving as vice president of the New England Jersey Breeders Association.
Joe Vanderfeltz, Lawton, Pa., was elected to his first term as Director from the Third District, succeeding Mark Gardner of Dayton, Pa. 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. In 2019, the herd ranked among the top 10 of the nation for milk, fat, and protein in herd sized of 80-149 lactations. The family farms about 700 acres of corn and alfalfa as well, growing most of the forages for the herd. The couple was awarded the AJCA Young Breeder Award in 2003.
Bradley Taylor, Booneville, Miss., was elected as AJCA Director from the Fifth District. He owns and operates Taylor Jersey Farm Inc. with his wife, Carla; sons, Lee, Carl and Holden; and parents, Royal and Marthell. The 120-cow Registered Jersey herd is enrolled on REAP, the comprehensive service package of registration, Equity milk marketing support, type appraisal and performance programs offered by the AJCA and NAJ. Taylor is a member of the All American Sale Committee and was appointed to the AJCA Type Advisory Committee in 2017. He has served on the Southeast Area Council of DFA for eight years and served as secretary. He is the Vice President of Mississippi Jersey Cattle Club. Bradley also serves on the Dairy Research Advisory Council for Mississippi State University.
Ralph Frerichs, LaGrange, Texas, was elected to a three-year term as AJCA Director from the Ninth District, succeeding John Boer, Dalhart, Texas. Ralph previously served on the AJCA Board of Directors from 2009-2015. During that time he served as vice president from 2013-2015 and chaired the Development Committee earning him an ex-officio seat on the National All-Jersey Inc. board. He and his wife, Faith, brother, Robert and son, Neal, operate Frerichs Dairy Inc. The herd is home to 190 Registered Jersey cows, the Jersey Barnyard tourist attraction and Texas Jersey Cheese Company, producing all-natural Jersey cheese by hand.
Chairs of standing committees for 2021-22 are Bradley Taylor, Booneville, Miss., Finance; Joel Albright, Willard, Ohio, Breed Improvement; Garry Hansen, Mulino, Ore., Development; Karen Bohnert, East Moline, Ill., Information Technology and Identification. Albright will also serve as vice president for the coming year.
National All-Jersey Inc.
Following his re-election to the board to represent District #3 of National All-Jersey Inc. (NAJ) on June 26, John Kokoski, Hadley, Mass., was elected to continue as president by the Board of Directors. Kokoski has been a member of the NAJ Board since 2007. He heads up the family-operated Mapleline Farm LLC. The enterprise includes a 135-cow Registered Jersey herd enrolled on REAP and a dairy plant that processes and distributes a full line of Jersey milk products to grocery retailers, restaurants and university food service. Kokoski is a past director of the Massachusetts Cooperative Milk Producers Federation and has served more than 25 years on the New England Dairy Promotion Board.
Rogelio “Roger” Herrera, Hilmar, Calif., was re-elected to a second term as Director from District #2. 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. 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. Herrera was mentored in cattle breeding by the late Ed Fisher, who received the AJCA Master Breeder Award with Ahlem Farms Partnership in 2009.
Appointed to the NAJ Board of Directors as an at-large director by AJCA President Jonathan Merriam, was Sam Bok, Defiance, Ohio. Bok will succeed retiring director Cal Graber, Parker, S.D. He and wife Julie and children Wendy and Andy, own and operate Boks Jersey Farm, a 450-cow herd enrolled in AJCA’s REAP program. He is a delegate to the Board of COBA/Select Sires and represents his county for the Farm Service Agency. He served on the board for Defiance Landmark Inc. for nine years. Bok served on the AJCA Board of Directors from 2013-2019.
James Huffard, Crockett, Va., was re-elected as NAJ vice president and will serve as Finance Chair for the board.