2016 Dairy Leadership Award

Jodi Wright

Jodi Wright’s contributions to the dairy industry are extensive, exceptional, wide reaching, and almost too numerous to list.

She has been involved with dairy cattle since her childhood in Colorado, where her family bred Registered Holsteins at Raim Dairy in Cedaridge, Colorado. Wright’s parents, Lorence and Verla Raim, won many championships, including the 1995 World Production Leader Raim Mark Jinx 2E-91, who produced over 64,000 lbs. of milk.

After graduating from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business, she earned a Master’s degree in business administration with an agricultural concentration, also at CSU. Following college, Wright went to work for the Holstein Association USA. Part of her duties included being a liaison between the Brattleboro, VT headquarters and the breeders of Missouri.

Wright met and married Larry Wright of Clever, Missouri in 1997 and became a member of his family’s Wrightvale Holsteins. Wrightvale earned numerous honors at local, state national and international competitions.

Following her marriage, Jodi Wright served as Missouri Junior Holstein Association advisor, coordinating activities for the junior members. She was elected by the membership as secretary/treasurer of the Missouri Holstein Association and hired by the board of directors as its executive director. Wright served in that position for ten years, taking a short break for approximately one year in 2012, only to return and again take up the reins as head of the association. She still serves as executive director.

In this position, Wright manages the activities of the association, including sales, conventions, district meetings, district and state shows, field days and publishing the Pulsater, a newsletter that reminds breeders of event dates and informs them of activities in which they may consider participating.

Wright created and maintains the Missouri Holstein Association website, keeping it current and professionally presented with MHA news and news of the Missouri dairy industry. In that vein, she also created the online registration program used by the National Holstein Association for their national conventions. She served as point person and publicity chair for the 2012 national convention in Springfield, Missouri.

One of Jodi Wright’s most recent contributions is the assistance she has provided in the development of the University of Missouri Extension’s Women in Dairy program. The program debuted in 2016, offering educational and social opportunities for women dairy farmers.

Wright worked on the grand book, Celebrating 100 Years of Missouri Holsteins, spending endless hours researching sires and cow families with numerous breeders.  She compiled 200 of the book’s 500 pages of herd biographies. Accuracy and detail were her primary concern.  As well, her guidance kept the herd authors and publishers on time and on budget.

Wright has assisted with other books, numerous articles and sale catalogs. She does freelance work for individual breeders–developing advertising and other components promoting the breeds. She created the website design for the national internet site, Dairy Agenda Today.

In addition to helming the Missouri Holstein Association, she, along with her husband Larry and children Lora and Blake, operate Wrightvale Farm in Verona, MO. They continue the prefix of Wrightvale originated by Larry Wright’s father, George Wright, and now milk 60 head of Registered Holsteins. They own 120 acres, farming a total of 260 acres without any outside hired labor. They market their cattle both nationally and internationally, selling a cow to Mexico last year.

John Underwood, PhD., author of Sires of Distinction: The M.F.A. Artificial Breeding Association and its Impact in Missouri and the Nation, and Celebrating 100 Years of Missouri Holsteins, nominated Jodi Wright for the Dairy Leadership Award. “A great leader must also be a great servant,” he wrote. “Many so-called leaders falter when it comes time to get one’s hands dirty. Jodi gets right in there without regard to playing it safe, and makes sure the job gets done. She most definitely leads by example.”

Among the numerous letters supporting Wright’s nomination for the Dairy Leadership Award, Roger Turner of Jetstream Genetics LLC wrote that Jodi’s open personality and willingness to share her amazing memory, knowledge and expertise has been of significant influence on him.

Letters of support for the nomination came from numerous people who have worked with and admire Jodi Wright. Amongst them are Ted Probert, MU Extention regional dairy specialist; Maria Bise, MomentumMedia production director, and owner/manager of Salsa Land & Cattle Company in New York; Karla Deaver, MU extension profession and 4-H youth development specialist; Cliff Strieker, KAABA/Select Sires; Ray Schooly, Alta Genetics; and Brian Behnke, MU extension associate of agricultural economics.

“Jodi has put her heart and soul in the Missouri Holstein Association. Her hard work and dedication has brought increased membership and allowed the association to grow financially,” wrote John M. Meyer, CEO of the Holstein Association USA, Inc. “She is a self-starter by nature, resourceful, independent and reliable…Jodi is top-notch.”

Ed Wittorff of Wittspride Brown Swiss and Holstein believes that Wright’s passion and willingness to get things done, and her knack to get others involved, led to Missouri’s hosting the best National Holstein Convention in recent years. “She treats every breeder the same, no matter what size or notoriety of the herd they hail from. Jodi is a great ambassador for the state and the breed,” he said.

“An unbending passion and love for the dairy industry is what keeps her focused,” said Shannon Kleiboeker, advisor to the Missouri Junior Holstein Association. “She is a shining star in the Missouri dairy industry.”

Chuck Hubbert of the Missouri Farmers Association (MFA) considers Jodi Wright a joy to work with. He praised her dedicated involvement with 4H as well as the Missouri Holstein Association, saying, “Neither organization would have reached the heights they enjoy today without Jodi’s drive, professionalism and leadership. We have been blessed by her efforts.”