James W. Crowley 4-H Dairy Leadership Award

The James W. Crowley 4-H Dairy Leadership Award program provides recognition to youth who have excelled in their dairy project. The James W. Crowley Dairy Management and Extension Fund is the sponsor of this award.  We are pleased to name the award in honor and memory of James W. Crowley, longtime Extension Dairy Specialist and strong supporter of dairy youth projects. Dr. James W. Crowley, or “Doc Jim”, devoted his lifetime to serving farmers and dairy professionals in Wisconsin and around the world.  Crowley started his career in 1950 as an Extension Dairy Specialist at UW-Madison. Over the years, he was renown for his extraordinary communication skills, becoming a noted presenter and a regular contributor to Hoard’s Dairyman for ten years.  While Dr. Crowley’s primary interest was dairy cattle feeding and management, his work brought him in contact with nearly every facet of the industry.

A founder of World Dairy Expo, he served as dairy cattle superintendent and was honored as the first recipient of the “Friend of Expo” in 1982.  He was also honored at Expo with the “Industry Person of the Year” in 1987. Dr. Crowley served as coach of the UW Dairy Cattle Judging team and his teams placed among the top ten nationally in five of the nine years he coached. Always taking a progressive approach to dairying, Dr. Crowley headed up the UW Dairy Science Department’s involvement in DHI programs, leading the Wisconsin DHI Cooperative into the age of computerized record-keeping in the late 1950’s. He also helped establish Wisconsin’s forage quality programs. He received many honors in recognition of his numerous contributions to the dairy industry. Crowley’s enthusiasm and vision laid the groundwork for many current youth programs in the state. His broad interest in dairy cattle management and in young people who will be tomorrow’s dairy leaders has been vital in keeping Wisconsin “America’s Dairyland.”

The James W. Crowley Dairy Management and Extension Fund is the sponsor of this award. A specially engraved medallion will be presented annually to the outstanding 4-H dairy project member in each county for their accomplishments in 2017. These medallions are provided by the Crowley Fund. County Award winners are eligible to compete for 15 state-wide awards. State winners will receive plaques and the top two youth in the state competition will each receive $500 awards for continuing their dairy education.

NEW IN 2018

The top ranked applicant that is a high school junior (11th grade) as of January 1, 2018, will receive a $5,000 scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provided that student is later accepted by the UW-Madison as an incoming freshman and enrolls in the Department of Dairy Science. The funds for this award are provided by a donor to the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science and are not provided directly by the Crowley Fund, but is identified through the same process.


Selection of the Leadership Award will be based on each county’s own selection criteria. Possible criteria could include evaluation of record books, selection by a county dairy committee/agent, or any other selection method that the county deems appropriate. State award winners are selected based upon their leadership skills and dairy industry involvement as determined through a written application. From this written application, twenty finalists will be interviewed by the committee and industry members to determine the strongest applicants.


  1. Must be currently enrolled in the 4-H Dairy Project and have at least two previous years of membership in it.
  2. Must be in 10th-12th grades as of January 1, 2018.
  3. Should have an outstanding record of involvement and accomplishments in the 4-H Dairy Project.
  4. Must not have received a Crowley scholarship previously. Youth who received a plaque award only may re-apply towards the scholarship if they are selected by their county as a nominee towards the state award.


August – March  – Counties select individual winners using their own selection criteria.
March 30 – Each county should submit this form for their county award recipient by March 30. Counties can nominate up to 3 individuals but MUST complete a separate form for each recipient. That form is here.
April 13 – The Extension Youth Specialist will notify each county winner/nominee. Each nominee must fill out an application to compete for the statewide awards.
May 18 – State Award Forms must be returned by May 18 to the UW Extension Dairy Youth Specialist. Fill out your state award form here.
July 15 – Twenty finalists for interviews will be notified.
August (at State Fair) – Finalist interviews.
August (at State Fair) – Winners announced at the Dairyland Youth Celebration.