Ken Elliott of Marshall became the 18th recipient of the Honorary Klussendorf Award on Friday, April 30 during the Midwest National Spring Jersey and Red & White Shows held in Jefferson. Considered the highest recognition bestowed on a dairy cattle showman in the United States, the Honorary Klussendorf Award mirrors the attributes of the Klussendorf Award and is presented in special recognition of a recipient’s involvement in the purebred dairy industry.

“I was very surprised,” said Elliott who was not aware he was bestowed the honor until it was announced at the Midwest National Spring Jersey and Red & White Shows.

For the past two decades, Elliott has served as superintendent of the International Holstein Show at World Dairy Expo (WDE) and eight years as WDE Assistant Overall Superintendent. Elliott’s tenure as an Expo leader includes working with prominent dairymen such as W. Terry Howard, Bob Kaiser, Jim Crowley Jr., and Dave Bollig.

As the superintendent of the International Holstein Show at WDE, Elliott has been responsible for overseeing all aspects of the show.

“Ken Elliott was a master at (stalling cattle and exhibitors),” said former Expo Red & White Superintendent Bill Langel. “He knows everyone from coast to coast.”

As a farmer and breeder, Elliott excelled in his role as Holstein Superintendent at WDE. His connections with exhibitors spread across North America making him an asset to World Dairy Expo and throughout the stalling process at the annual event.

Elliott said the decision to volunteer with the WDE is due to a love of the people and the organization.

“It’s not something that you grow up and have aspirations to do, but it seemed like it worked out that way,” he said.

A 1978 graduate from the University of Guelph and its Ridgetown College, Elliott got his start working for Paperman Farm in nearby Woodstock, Ontario, Canada and then Doug Wingrove’s Allangrove Farm in rural Guelph. Next, the young Canadian headed stateside to California’s Pacific Coast where he worked for Marvin Nunes at Ocean View Farms, Windsor, California. Elliott and his wife, Kathy, eventually moved their young family to their own farm in Marshall in 1995.

The family milked a total of 40 Holstein and Jersey cows before Elliott retired from farming in 2011.

Named in memory of Arthur Klussendorf, the Klussendorf Association first presented its namesake trophy in 1937. Most recently, the award presentation has occurred on the colored shavings at World Dairy Expo each fall. While the Klussendorf Association plans to meet this fall, the 27 living members cast a unanimous vote earlier this month to honor Elliott this spring.

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. Crowds of 60,000 people, from nearly 100 countries, will return to Madison, for the 54th event, Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, 2021, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information.

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