PA Holstein Association Hall of Fame Award – Donald Adams

The Pennsylvania Holstein Association presents the Hall of Fame Award to a member of the Association recognizing an individual or couple for their achievements and contributions to the Holstein Dairy Industry as well as their involvement and leadership in other agricultural and community activities.

Many of you will know our first inductee into the Pennsylvania Holstein Association Hall of Fame tonight from his many years working for R. Austin Backus as a ringman.

Donald Quincy Adams was born on June 15, 1925, to parents Don Quincy Adams and Isabel Kauffman Adams, on their dairy farm outside of Mifflintown, Pa in Juniata County. Don graduated from Juniata Joint High School in 1943. From that time until 1956, except for the years 1950-1952 when he served in the US Army, Don owned and operated a large chicken house raising 10,000 broiler chickens.

Don married Margaret (Peggy) Sieber on Dec 30, 1954. They have three children:

Mitzi Ann Adams Jacob, Susan Lynette Adams Komlenic, and Donald Harry Adams, along with seven grand children.

In 1956 Don started his own dairy when he purchased a farm outside of Port Royal, and in 1957 bought his first registered calf at the Garden Spot Sale.

Don’s love of registered cattle was inspired when he and his father attended the 1947 National Convention Sale that was held in Massachusetts that year. His father purchased the third high seller at the sale. A picture of the cow, along with Don and his father are in Horace Backus’s Seed Stock 1 book.

It was at this sale that Don met and became close friends with Charles and Horace Backus. In the following years, Don worked the ring at many of the Backus sales.

The following is a quote from Horace Backus:

“Don loved breeding registered Holsteins, and he was very good at it, very good. Perhaps his greatest attribute was his loyalty. He is intensely loyal to the people and things he believes in, especially to the breeders and members of the County, State and National Holstein Associations.

Don had two dispersals. The first was in 1980 with two cows selling for $10,000. The sale averaged just over $3,000 and was one of the top dispersal sales for that year in the country.

Horace shared the following story about booking the first sale for Don.

Every year during the holidays, Don would call the Backus office and catch up with Charles and Horace. Don knew that Horace traveled south to attend the PA Farm Show dairy cattle show each year, and told Horace he was thinking of having a dispersal and wanted him to stop on his way to the Farm show, and look the herd over, which Horace did. Horace said the herd looked great, and after inspecting the herd, Don and Peggy asked him to stay for dinner and stay overnight. The room that Horace stayed in was on the second floor, which at that time was not heated. We all know what the temperature can be in January, but Horace made it through the night ok, and made his way to the Farm Show the next day. However, when Horace talked to Don about specifics for the dispersal Don decided it was not yet time to sell the herd.

Well the same thing happened for the next five years until 1980 when Don decided it was time for dispersal. A side note to that story is Don had some Kingpin semen he sold after his sale and used the money to heat the second story of his house.

Don also had a second dispersal in 1986. Both sales drew large crowds, a testament to Don’s reputation as a breeder and friend.

A few special cows to Don over the years were:

DQA Elevation Spice EX-90, one of the $10,000 high sellers in his first sale

DQA Apollo Ivanhoe Suzanne EX-90 and her dam DQA Burley Laird Susie EX-91 of which many good cows came out of this family.

Kish Creek Monitor Spotty EX-90 was a cow Don bought in partnership with three other breeders. Approximately $100,000 in offspring sales came from this cow.

Don quit milking in 1990, but he still farmed the ground and kept heifers. He continued to own a few milk cows, boarding them at various dairies. One such cow was DQA Rubens Vanessa-Red-Et EX-92, who made her home at Pencroft Holsteins. In 2008 Vanessa won the Red & White aged cow class at Harrisburg and was nominated All-American Red & White Aged Cow that year.

Don and Peggy sold the farm in 2014 and moved down the road about a mile from the farm. Don’s love of purebred Holsteins still remains as he still owns several head, boarded at nearby farms.

On June 13, 2015, a surprise 90th birthday party was planned for Don at Paul and Angie Neer’s farm in Belleville. The celebration was held in conjunction with Paul’s 25th hoof trimming anniversary. Horace Backus was planning to attend, but due to a family emergency was unable to a make it to the party. In his absence, Horace mailed a mint condition 1936 Royal Brentwood sale catalog with the prices marked to be presented to Don at the party. This was especially meaningful to Don, as the manager of the Brentwood sale was Dunloggin Farm manager Paul Misner, who was a close friend and mentor to Don.

Over the years, Don served on his county Holstein board, as a sales rep for PHA, and for many years on the advisory board of the First National Bank of Mifflintown. Cows were an important part of Don’s life, but it is his 60 plus year marriage to Peggy, his children, and grand children and the many friends he made over the years that have meant the most to Don.

Unfortunately, Don is unable to be with us tonight but he did send along a message he would like me to share with everyone.

“Good evening! I would like to thank the Pennsylvania Holstein Association for the honor of my Hall of Fame Award. I would really love to be in attendance at the convention tonight to accept this award in person, but at 91 years of age, I don’t travel well anymore.

My association with registered Holsteins began as a child. My father Don Quincy Adams was one of the first farmers in Juniata County to have registered Holsteins. My wife Peggy and I began farming 60 years ago, in Groninger Valley. We bought our first registered Holstein calf at the Garden Spot Sale in 1957. Our life’s work was raising our family and our Holsteins. We have been very blessed.

One of the best parts of the Holstein business is the wonderful people you meet. Once again, I’m truly sorry that I can’t be there tonight to spend time with everyone, but my good friends Paul and Angie Neer, two of those wonderful people that I’ve meet over the years, have been gracious enough to accept this award for me. Thank you for this great honor.”

Congratulations to Mr. Donald Q. Adams, our first 2017 Pa Holstein Hall of Fame Inductee.


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