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Delhi couple receives Friend of New York Holstein award

Mar. 15—A Delhi couple recently received the Friend of New York Holstein award from the New York Holstein Association.

Dave and Merry Rama, owners of the Cattle Exchange, Fieldstone Farm and River Rock Events, received the award at the association's annual convention in January. "Merry and I were overwhelmed by the award and it took us by surprise," Dave Rama said in an email. "Greatly appreciated and a very humbling experience."

New York Holstein Co-Executive Manager Patsy Gifford presented the Ramas with their award. "This year's Friend of New York Holstein has been a friend to all of us for many years," she said in her speech introducing the pair. She said when she first joined the association's board in 2001, "Our sales were floundering as was our treasury. New York, always the cradle of the breed, was gaining significance as a hot spot for some of the premier genetics in the country. It seemed logical to reenergize our New York cattle sales. Also, right here in New York, was a cattle sale service that was leading the field. I barely knew Dave and Merry Rama, but we soon became close friends and trusted partners in selling New York Registered Holsteins. The rest is pretty much history. Along with showcasing our New York genetics by buying and selling New York Holsteins, the Cattle Exchange made it possible for our association to earn a tremendous amount of money as well as put money in many members' checkbooks."

Dave said his business has worked with the association for more than 40 years assisting with numerous state sponsored sales, raising money for Holstein functions, junior member activities and scholarships for junior members. "We have always believed that a financially strong association brings added benefits to all its members and today, the NY Holstein Association is the strongest state Holstein organization in the country," he said.

The Cattle Exchange was started in 1981, and has conducted dairy cattle auctions since 1983. "We have managed farm auctions as far away as California but mostly on the East coast," he said. "Our business was basically a road show spending 200 to 250 nights a year on the road managing, selecting and visiting farms across the country. Today, we market cattle privately plus we manage approximately 10 online auctions a year featuring the most sought after, genomic tested females and males of all dairy breeds drawing interest from artificial insemination companies around the world and progressive breeders."

The Ramas raise black angus beef at their Fieldstone Farm 1 and bought a 215-acre farm last May called Fieldstone Farm 2. That farm is home to River Rock Events, which is a renovated barn that can hold area events, two Airbnb's, Rock Gardens and miles of hiking trails. "While most people at our age like to downsize, we opted to go the other direction," he said.

Gifford said in her speech that "Dave and Merry helped us gain recognition as a power house of Registered Holsteins as well as helping us economically." Auctions by The Cattle Exchange have produced two sale high points for association members. The first was the "2016 National Sale that averaged more than $25,000 and set an all time high average for a national sale," she said. "Another is 2012 when New York Holstein had the first, sixth and seventh highest averaging regional sales in the country with our ET Sale, Harvest Sale, and Carousel Sale respectively."

Dave has been the emcee for the annual banquet at the convention, so keeping the secret that he was going to be honored was tough, Gifford said. She left the award recipient name blank, so when it was time to honor the Ramas with the award, she had to interrupt Dave.

Dave said he has been the emcee for the banquet more than 20 times and always considers it an honor. "It is always a magnificent evening seeing friends from across the state, but the biggest treat is to see the hundreds of youngsters that participate in our junior programs during the annual meeting," he said. "They are excited, as they compete in various activities such as Dairy Bowl, Speech, Scrap Books and receive awards for showing their cattle throughout the year."

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221.