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George Allen receives Richard Popp Memorial Leadership Award

More than 400 of the dairy industry’s brightest and best assembled recently at the 2014 Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) Conference in Central New York State. Presented by NEDPA and Cornell’s PRO-DAIRY, the two-day conference provided dairy producers, agri-service personnel, educators, and students with a global perspective, hands-on strategies, and scientific facts they’ll use to propel their industry to even more progressive and profitable levels.

At the conference George Allen was honored as the recipient of the Richard Popp Memorial Leadership Award. The award was created to honor Castile, NY dairy farmer Richard T. Popp, a passionate man of integrity, grit and conviction who died on April 24, 1997.

Allen, owner/operator of Allenwaite Farms Inc., was born in Easton, NY on a family farm. With his father Norman Allen, George grew the family’s herd of 100 milking Holsteins to 270 cows in 1974 and built the farm’s first freestall. In 1976 George married Paula Gee and together they raised three sons, Aaron, Ross and Travis. His sons Aaron and Travis returned to the family farm after graduating from Cornell.

Allen expanded the farm to 500 cows in 1993. 1999 brought the addition of a new calf barn and a venture into the world of automated calf feeding systems. When Aaron returned home in 2002, they build a new barn and milking center that propelled the farm to a milking herd of over 1,000 cows. The past ten years have seen continued growth and development as son Travis returned to the farm in 2006, and together the team implemented a new manure system, and continued to build barns, including a new heifer facility in 2011, that resulted in a total milking herd of 1,700 cows. 2014 has already been a huge year for Allenwaite, as the farm merged with a neighboring dairy, bringing the herd to 2,200 milking cows.

Allen has always sought to remain on the cutting edge of the industry. He worked with Advanced Dairy Genetics to explore an early adoption of sexed semen prior to its widespread use throughout the nation.

Over the course of his career, Allen’s involvement in agricultural organizations has been diverse and constant. His dedication to the CAFO work group provided a voice for the farming community in NY. He also served several years on the NEDPA Board, judges local FFA competitions, served in the Washington County IDA, and was a board member of the Agricultural Stewardship Association, conserving local farm land including 1,000 acres of the home farm.

Allen and his partners were one of the 2013 Pride of Dairylea award recipients. He also received PRO-DAIRY’s Agriservice Award in 2012, along with recently being appointed as a Deacon at New Life Church, where he selflessly serves his local congregation.

Previous award recipients include: 1998 – Don Rogers, First Pioneer Farm Credit, Enfield, CT; 2000 – David Porter, Porterdale Farms, Inc., Adams Center, NY; 2002 – George Mueller, Willow Bend Farm, Clifton Springs, NY; 2004 – Willard DeGolyer, Table Rock Farm, Castile, NY; 2006 –  Rick Smith, Dairylea Cooperative, Inc. Syracuse, NY; 2008 – Eleanor Jacobs, Northeast DairyBusiness, Syracuse, NY; 2010 –  George Conneman, Cornell University (retired), Ithaca, NY; 2012 – David Galton, Cornell University (retired), Ithaca, NY.

Award criteria includes: makes his or her contributions on the farm, in agribusiness or in education; pioneers new ideas and technologies; promotes agriculture to the non-farm public; demonstrates conservation of resources, is a good steward of the environment; overcomes obstacles with dignity; participates in agricultural organizations; and gives selflessly to the community.

The Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Inc., formed in 1993, is a group of forward-looking dairy producers committed to an efficient, profitable, environmentally-conscious and consumer-oriented dairy industry in the Northeast.