More than 900 people are expected to attend the 2012 National Holstein Convention June 27-30 in Springfield.

The convention brings together people interested in breeding and developing the ideal cow.

A new tool available to Holstein breeders is genomics,  a technology whereby we discover specific parts of DNA that are associated with desired traits of the cow, said Barry Steevens, chairman of the National Holstein Convention. That approach leads to higher milk yield, increased protein levels in milk and cows with greater longevity through improved feet and legs.

“We’re always striving to produce the ideal cow and that changes over time,” Steevens said. “We breed for a cow that is strong, can eat a lot of feed and has a desirable udder for a high level of milk production.”

Along with the science, the event includes the unveiling of artist Bonnie Mohr’s paintings of the ideal Holstein cow and bull. Mohr is a Minnesota-based dairy farmer and world-renowned artist of pictures of farm scenes.

Educational seminars, motivational speakers, cattle shows, tours of Century Farms, cattle sales, officer elections, visits to local attractions, awards banquets and more are planned for adults and youth.

A highlight of the week is the national convention sale, “Live on Center Stage,” June 29 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

Holstein Association USA is the largest dairy breed organization in the world. The organization has more than 20,000 adult and 8,000 junior members with an interest in breeding, raising and milking Holstein cattle. Holsteins make up about 95 percent of the nation’s dairy cows.

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