Four outstanding individuals are being honored with National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award this year in recognition of their significant contributions to the dairy industry. The four will join a distinguished group of industry leaders whose portraits are displayed at the National Dairy Hall of Fame at the National Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
Among the Pioneers being honored is Dr. Donald R. Monke of Plain City, Ohio, the respected veterinarian who helped open international markets for American dairy cattle genetics and whose work and research led to improvements in male bovine management and care during a 40-year career at Select Sires Inc.
Born in Illinois, Donald Monke earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in 1977 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and then a Master’s of Business Administration from Franklin University in 2003.
In May 1977, Monke joined the staff of Select Sires Inc., the Plain City, Ohio, based A.I. cooperative that today is North America’s largest A.I. organization. Monke was the first Chief Staff Veterinarian in Select Sires’ history and in his role oversaw and managed the health and welfare of the company’s bulls. He was named Vice President of Sire Health Programs in 1991 and in 2003 was appointed Vice President of Production Operations. During his 40 years at Select Sires, Monke spearheaded the design, construction and renovation of facilities used to house the company’s bulls. He developed health, biosecurity, and emergency management protocols to help prevent the seminal transmission of bovine disease. He took the knowledge he gained from researching bovine diseases, and how they may be transmitted via frozen semen, and translated that into practical bull stud management. When Monke retired in June 2017, the Select Sires Board of Directors honored this committed, foresighted employee by naming their Export Production and Housing Facility the D.R. Monke Production Center.
Monke’s expertise on bull health and the A.I. business led him to be called upon many times to assist with the negotiation of international health regulations related to the export of bull semen. Monke travelled extensively as a veterinary technical advisor for the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to help develop and negotiate international bull semen health requirements so that semen from the United States could be exported to dairy producers in countries around the world.
As David Thorbahn, Select Sires CEO, says, “Dr. Monke’s work in disease transmission, aiding the breeding industry in negotiating domestic and exporting health regulations, developing strict biosecurity protocols for managing bovines, and his research and clinical work that improved the standards of care for over 1,600 highly valuable bulls at Select Sires has earned him high regard.”
Monke helped to educate dairy producers and veterinarians on bull care and health and disease prevention through his countless technical presentations at domestic and international conferences and his extensive articles that were published in scientific and lay publications. Dr. Gordon Doak, NAAB President Emeritus, states, “Monke’s contributions to health programs for bulls in A.I. over the years has been instrumental in protecting the health of dairy and beef producers’ herds as they employ A.I. to utilize the best genetics available to them.” Dr. Tony Forshey, State Veterinarian for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, says, “Monke’s dedication to excellence by developing and adopting cutting edge technologies has allowed him to contribute to improving dairy herd health and semen quality.”
Monke has been actively involved in many organizations. He was Chairman of the NAAB Board of Directors from 2003-05, a member of the NAAB Sire Health and Management Committee for 16 years (1978-93) and Chairman of that group for eight years, as well as Board Chairman of NAAB’s subsidiary, Certified Semen Services, for 12 years. In 2014, Monke was recognized with NAAB’s Distinguished Service Award. Monke has been a member of the U.S. Animal Health Association for over 40 years where he has served on numerous animal health and import/export committees including the Bluetongue and Bovine Retrovirus Committee. From 1984-95, he was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
For more information about National Dairy Shrine, the banquet, or the students and dairy industry leaders being recognized this year, contact National Dairy Shrine’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.