The worldwide community of dairy goat enthusiasts will miss Harvey James Considine, who passed over peacefully at home surrounded by family the night of March 25, 2006, after complications from prolonged illness. He was one month shy of his 80th birthday. Many things could be said of this charismatic, dynamic, often controversial, devotee of dairy goats and the use of goat milk and related products. Some would say he founded a dynasty within the American Dairy Goat Association. Being a deeply committed Evangelical Christian, he would most likely prefer to be remembered as the patriarch of an extended Considine clan, composed of a beloved spouse, 12 children, 46 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. However one might choose to memorialize his life, those who ever met him face-to-face cannot ever forget him.
Born the fourth son in a farm family on April 25, 1926, his early life was of meager circumstances during the Depression era. While attending high school in Portage, Wisconsin, he was very active in debate and FFA, becoming a state officer of the latter. As an FFA student, he first exhibited potatoes at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1941, as it was the only project affordable to him. After attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years, he dropped out to marry and start a family at a young age. For nine years, he worked as a herdsman/manager on two Holstein dairies in southern Wisconsin. He acquired his first registered goat, a Saanen, in 1946, joined ADGA, registered the prefix Diamond and enrolled on official milk test. In 1948, the Diamond herd was first exhibited at the Wisconsin State Fair and continues to do so, making it the most senior exhibitor at what is now one of the consistently largest dairy goat shows in the United States.
In 1952, he moved his family back to Portage and started a dairy cattle artificial insemination business which he operated for seven years. Fifty years ago great tragedy entered his life with the untimely death of his first wife, leaving him a widower with seven children, ages 11 years to 10 months. Seven months later his barn burned to the ground with three quarters of the herd trapped in the inferno.
Against many odds, he kept his family together and with the aid of neighbors, raised seven children as a single parent. One year later he was first elected to the ADGA Board of Directors and with only a few years out, continued to do so until 2004. He was by far the longest seated Director in the history of ADGA. He has been the second longest licensed ADGA judge as well, actively judging through the 2005 season. He served as second vice-president for 13 years. He served on many committees throughout the years, including chairing the Spotlight Sale. He was a contributing author to the original unified scorecard for judging and the showmanship scorecard.
In 1959, he moved the family to Waukesha County in southern Wisconsin and began managing a goat dairy that would eventually number 1,000 head. In 1960, he met and married the second love of his life, Elaine. (They celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on December 27, 2005.) Five more children were added to the family, the last and 12th being born at an ADGA convention. The family moved back to Portage in 1972 and has lived on the same farm since. In 1976, he became one of the first classifiers for ADGA. Differences of opinion and policy occurred in the 1980s, and he started his own evaluation service which he operated through 2005. He loved dairy goat shows, whether as an exhibitor or as presiding judge. He has been a perennial favorite as a National Show judge. He can rightfully be remembered as the father of ADGA judges, as 10 of his 12 children have at one time or other held official licenses. Three sons are still actively involved with operating goat dairies and ADGA activities, such as past-President and co-chair of Judges Training Committee. In 2003, he was awarded the Helen C. Hunt Distinguished Service Award by ADGA. In 2004, he was named Director Emeritus.
His sphere of influence extended far beyond the borders of the United States, much of this due to his prolific writing. Since 1976, he has provided Dairy Goat Journal with the popular Dairy Goat Judging feature. He is co-author of the textbook on Dairy Goat Judging Techniques, as well as two other full-length books. He has made numerous judging and speaking tours internationally. The name of Harvey Considine is certainly the most widely acknowledged in dairy goat circles around the world. The family will be establishing a memorial fund in his honor to financially assist first and second time candidates at ADGA Judges Training Conferences. (Further details need to be worked out and notice will be made of these.)