Sherm Polinder

Lynden dairy breeder Sherm Polinder talks with David Lackey, who is creating the Farming for Life Experience exhibit in the new Farm Pavilion building. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

It was a reprise of successful showings of the past for family

LYNDEN ­— In a tribute to the family history of dairy showing at the Northwest Washington Fair, Ronelee Holsteins was back with five cows and five heifers in the dairy barn last week.

It was sufficient to win the Premium Breeder and Premium Exhibitor banners for the 2019 fair.

Those top breed honors had been won “multiple times” in past years by Ronelee, said co-owner Sherm Polinder, who was present each day at the displays chronicling family history.

“We’re just thankful,” he said of being at the fair one more time.

Sherm emphasized that son Jeff continues  to have a major role in the future of any animals bearing the Ronelee Holsteins tag.

Operation of the multi-generation Polinder dairy farm just south of Lynden is in transition. A notice at the fair reported that most of the Ronelee milking herd has been sold to Michael and Rachel Plagerman, who took over day-to-day operation at 670 Polinder Rd. on April 1 as Riverside Dairy LLC. Still, Sherm and Jeff Polinder own some cows that Riverside Dairy milks and cares for. 

Jeff Polinder manages herd health and reproduction for Riverside Dairy while keeping up his hoof trimming business too.

Sherm and Phyllis Polinder are in the process of selling 45 acres of the farm, excluding their home, to the Plagermans. The new owners plan to remodel milking facilities and go robotic. Ronelee Holsteins still farms 80 acres to put up feed for heifers the Polinders own.

Also, most of the crew that worked for Ronelee continues now with Riverside on a part-time basis.

“We wish the Plagermans success and God’s blessing going forward,” the notice states.

The family heritage in Holstein breeding goes back to 1942 when Henry Polinder, Sherm’s father, made the switch from a preference to draft horses to premium dairy cattle, and began producing many high-pedigree cows and bulls bearing the Ronelee name. One cow, named Dabble, stood out as the mother of tremendous milk-producing and productive-life offspring. She was present at a show for national Holstein show conventioneers at the Lynden Polinder farm in 2017, and is now 17 years old.

The Odens family did stall maintenance of the Ronelee cattle exhibit area.