2023 NAAB Member Director Awardee

September 20, 2023


Madison, WI [September 14, 2023] – The National Association of Animal Breeders is pleased to announce that Mrs. Dorothy Harms is the 2023 recipient of the NAAB Member Director Award.  During Dorothy Harms’ 21-year commitment to CentralStar and 12-year commitment to Select Sires Inc., both organizations have experienced unprecedented growth and success. Her amazing length of service does not totally describe the contributions she has made to her bovine breeding cooperative.  Dorothy served as Secretary/Treasurer for the East Central Select Sires board from 2004-2015 (12 years); then Vice-President from 2016-2019 (4 years); then Secretary for CentralStar board from 2020 until her retirement in 2023 (3 years). In her 12 years on the Select Sires Inc. board, she served 3 years as 2nd Vice Chair, 3 years as 1st Vice Chair, and 3 years as the Chairwoman of Select Sires Inc.

Dorothy Harms graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.  She and husband, Don, owned and operated Vally Spring Farms in Reedsburg, Wisconsin from 1982 to 2018 milking 70 Holstein cows while farming 255 acres. In 2013, they opened Vally Spring Farm Market/Bed and Breakfast. With a Pasture to Plate vision, they maintain a 60 head herd of Red Angus beef cows and produce other products alongside managing the Bed and Breakfast.

Harms’ strong financial aptitude, coupled with her forward-looking demeanor, are two major characteristics that brought strong leadership to the boards of both organizations that allowed record growth and expansion. The result was financial stability which has allowed Select Sires to become a global leader in the industry.  

Her leadership and financial acuity helped guide and champion the ideas for East Central Cooperative to merge with Northstar Cooperative, forming CentralStar Cooperative, serving all of Wisconsin and Michigan. This led to the development of a more efficient and resilient cooperative that provides A.I. Service as well as DHI Services throughout their membership area in those two states. In her 21 years, CentralStar Cooperative achieved record growth in membership while the organization’s business volume tripled the size of both cooperative areas.

It was these same characteristics that she brought to the Select Sires Board of Directors working with the Aggressive Reproductive Technologies (ART) committee, the Audit committee, and on the Strategic Planning committee. On the ART committee, she worked to protect the company’s genetic leadership through investing in new technologies, expanding the breeding program, and assuring astute management of these assets. She also served many years on the audit committee, to make sure the finances of the cooperative were transparent and sound. Select Sires achieved record growth but also financial success that was constantly monitored by the audit committee and its processes. Dorothy served on the strategic planning committee for the years of 2013, 2016-2020. Her forward-thinking attitude, along with the other board members, led to a mission to focus on producer owners, expand the role of research and optimize the Select Sires federation.  Under her leadership as Chairwoman, the Board encouraged research in activity-based health and heat monitoring that led to the first successful ear mounted system and supported the expansion of doubling the size of Select Sires production facilities. Partnering with Accelerated Genetics, acquiring GenerVations in Canada and Semeia in Brazil, purchasing Diebernardi A.I. service and Reproductores in Argentina were also accomplished while Harms served in leadership roles on the Select Sires Inc. Board. As Chairwoman, she has represented Select Sires in Brazil, France, Spain, Canada, and received many guests from all parts of the world.  She has championed U.S. breeding programs as the best in the world and is a great representative and ambassador for Select Sires Inc., NAAB, and the breed associations of the United States.

Dorothy has served as a Wisconsin 4-H advisor from 1982 through 2021 and was a 4-H Hall of Fame recipient. She served on the Sauk County Senior leadership board for 10 years and served on the Farmer Angel Network along with the Farmer Suicide Prevention Organization.

Dorothy’s significant contributions through her service to the dairy industry, CentralStar (East Central/Northstar merger), Select Sires Inc., and NAAB make her a very worthy recipient of the NAAB Member Director Award.