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Holly Hill Farms Named Virginia BCIA 2002 Outstanding Seedstock Producer of the Year

Livestock Update, May 2002

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

Virginia BCIA is proud to present the 2002 Virginia Outstanding Seedstock Producer Award to Holly Hill Farms of Mt. Sidney, VA. The operation has grown from a commercial cow herd initiated in 1953 by Houff and his family, to the recognized Angus seedstock operation that it is today. In the 1970's Holly Hill Farms consisted of a prominent Polled Hereford herd. Through early adaptation of performance testing -- including participation in the VA BCIA Bull Test Program, artificial insemination, and National Sire Evaluation data, the herd built a strong reputation as a source of predictable genetics.

In 1982 the first Angus cattle were added at Holly Hill. Today, the herd consists of 130 registered Angus cows, and an additional 70 commercial cows that are maintained as embryo recipients. Both fall and spring calving seasons are utilized. Although the breeds have changed over the years, the focus of the breeding program at Holly Hill remains constant: designing genetics that work for their commercial customers. Holly Hill strives, with intensity, to analyze the tools made available by the American Angus Association and/or major bull studs, in order to select proven, high accuracy bulls meeting stringent criteria for economically important traits that will benefit the needs of their customers. Priority selection criteria for sires and their daughters include moderate birth weights, optimum milk, and accelerated growth to year of age. Holly Hill was an early adapter of ultrasound technology to make genetic improvement in carcass merit, as evidenced by the 800+ cattle measured in recent years.

Holly Hill has been a long-time supporter of the BCIA bull test program. Today, Holly Hill markets genetics through an annual bull sale held the last Monday in November. Approximately 50 bulls sell, mostly fall yearlings with a few spring yearlings. The majority of the spring bulls are marketed through a February open house and by private treaty. The bulls are developed on the farm with comprehensive performance information collected over a 100-day test. For the last six years, Holly Hill has hosted an annual female sale featuring their elite cow families and proven dams.

Dwight Houff has provided significant contributions through leadership positions in the beef industry. He has served as president and board member of Virginia BCIA, as well as active on test and sale committees. Dwight served as manager for the All-Breed Performance Tested Bull Sale in Staunton for several years, and was instrumental in the successful establishment of this event. Houff has also served on the Virginia Angus Board of Directors, and Vice President of the Virginia Polled Hereford Association. Additionally, Dwight is active in the Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren and Weyers Cave Ruritan Club.

The Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association is pleased to present the 2002 Virginia Seedstock Producer of the Year Award to Holly Hill Farms.

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