Jane Pepple of Oxford, Chester County, Pennsylvania, is the winner of the 2014 Obie Snider Award, the top honor of the All-American Dairy Show. Agriculture Secretary George Greig presented the award at the show’s Dairy Farmer Appreciation Banquet at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.
The award, established in memory of Obie Snider of Bedford County, a founding father of the All-American Dairy Show, recognizes an individual who places significant value in service to the industry and community and displays high standards of conduct.
“Jane has served the All-American Dairy Show behind the scenes for more than 40 years,” said Greig. “Her love of the dairy industry and passion for helping youth succeed are hallmarks of the volunteer spirit that drives the show.”
Pepple has a close personal connection to the award, as she honed her judging skills as a Blair County 4-H’er at Obie and Mary Ann Snider’s Singing Brook farm in Imler. She was a member of a state winning dairy judging team that competed in Waterloo, Iowa. While at Penn State, she competed on both the junior and senior judging teams, traveling to Chicago; Springfield, Mass.; and Columbus, Ohio.
She and her husband Bob respected Obie’s visions, including his push to build an agriculture arena at Penn State, for which they donated a heifer to raise funds for the eventual Snider Ag Arena.
The Pepples relocated to Bob’s family farm in Oxford and established Pep-L-Lea farm in 1972, with a 70-cow registered herd. Since then, Pepple has taught 4-H’ers about dairy showmanship and fitting and coached judging teams, three of which were state champions.
As a showmanship and fitting judge, Pepple spreads recognition across the class, not just on those standing at the top of the class.
“I want all youth to have the opportunity to learn, improve their skills and excel,” she said. Pepple developed that philosophy as a 4-H’er who qualified for the Pennsylvania State Junior Dairy Show, which she herself would later judge, in her final year in the program after years of determination, dedication and persistence. She strives to convey that message to today’s youth.
“I didn’t have the best animal in the ring,” she said, but she had the opportunity to do her best with her animal through showmanship and fitting. She hopes to convey the 4-H motto, “To make the best better,” to youth exhibitors.
“If I can encourage and help young people in some small way then I am repaying and doing my part,” Pepple said.
Her All-American involvement started with judging showmanship and fitting at the Pennsylvania Junior Dairy Show, then evolved to joining the professional photography crew with Jack Remsburg and Billy Heath.
She served as the first senior showmanship judge for the All-American Showmanship Contest in 1997, and subsequently as judge for the other age divisions. Pepple now helps contest coordinator and friend, Kathy Walton, with the contest in a variety of ways, and donates the embroidered director’s chair for the Senior Division winner each year.
“I asked her to assist with the contest because of her unbiased, fair, honest and caring spirit,” said Walton. In recent years, Pepple has managed the kids, calves and parents in the junior ring.
“She lives the excitement and disappointment along with the families,” Walton said.
Pepple also assists with the annual Invitational Youth Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, held during All-American, registering teams and serving as a group leader.
An avid Holstein breeder, Pepple has contributed to the Pennsylvania Holstein Association for many years. She has chaired the nominating and Hall of Fame committees, has been on planning committees for state and national conventions, and has been the state director for Chester County for 15 years.
Pepple was instrumental in the success of the Pennsylvania Holstein 100th Anniversary celebrated in November 2013. She served on the Pennsylvania Famous Cow committee and the 100 Year Anniversary Book Committee and organized the Fireside Chats that gave members an opportunity to share stories, memories and key industry events in a casual atmosphere.
“I have a great deal of respect for the dedicated, hardworking people who make up the dairy industry,” said Pepple. “The love of good cattle and the friendships made over the years keep me involved.”
She received the 2012 All-American Dairy Show Image Award for her contributions that enhanced the show’s reputation, prestige and welfare. She also received the Pennsylvania Junior Holstein Association’s PAL award in 2007 for her dedication to the state’s dairy youth.
“Jane Pepple is the consummate volunteer,” said Pennsylvania Holstein Association Executive Director Ken Raney. “She offers great ideas, enthusiasm, and with total dedication, completes whatever task she has agreed to do.
“Jane’s work and support of youth programs is second to none. She always has time to help and encourage a young person with whatever project or problem they are working through. The dairy industry is blessed to have Jane Pepple as a leader, volunteer and spokesperson for our profession,” Raney said.
“Obie was a man of faith, character and integrity — and a great friend,” Pepple said.
His visionary leadership for a stronger dairy industry is reflected in the outstanding individuals who have previously received the Obie Snider Award: Donald Seipt, Easton, Northampton County; Creedin Cornman, Carlisle, Cumberland County; David Patrick, Woodbine, Maryland; Berneta Gable, New Enterprise, Bedford County; Dieter Krieg, Lititz, Lancaster County; George Cashell, Shippensburg, Cumberland County; John Cope, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County; Janet Harding, Clarion, Clarion County; William Nichol, State College, Centre County; and Samuel Yoder, Shoemakersville, Berks County.
For more information, visit www.allamerican.state.pa.us.