David and Jan Rottinghaus, owners of Rottinghaus Holstein Farm in Nehama County, are the winners of the 2017 Kansas Distinguished Dairy Award, sponsored by Kansas State University and Kansas Farmer magazine.
The award annually recognizes a Kansas dairy for outstanding service to the industry. The winners are presented a milk jug with their dairy name inscribed on the top. The jug is a "traveling trophy" and also has engraved tags with the names of each winner since the award was initiated in 1979.
When it's time to hand the jug off to the next year's winner, the honored family keeps the lid with their name and the year of their win, and the new winner gets the jug.
The award is presented during the Kansas Dairy Association's annual spring meeting.
Rottinghaus Holstein Farm is a fourth-generation farm and a third-generation dairy.
David has been very active in the Kansas Holstein Association. He has served as president and has represented Kansas as a delegate to the national convention many times. He also has served on the Kansas Dairy Commission, Kansas Dairy Association, Midwest Dairy and Nemaha County Extension Boards.
Jan has been active with the Kansas Junior Holstein Association. She is involved in the community through her efforts with the Altar Society and youth choir at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Seneca.
Rottinghaus Holstein Farm currently milks about 520 cows and has 12 full-time and two part-time employees, plus help from David's dad, uncle and a cousin who like to remain involved in the operation whenever they can.
They have four children, three daughters and one son.
Daughter Stacy, the oldest, is married and is a teacher in Seneca. Daughter Ashley is headed to San Antonio with her husband, who is a site manager for a pipeline company. Daughter Erica is a senior in high school, while son Keaton is 10 years old.
"We're still hoping one of the kids will decide to be the fifth generation on the farm," David says.