First Woman, Bonnie Mohr Named National Dairy Shrine Guest of Honor
Bonnie Mohr, Owner and President of Bonnie Mohr Studio in Glencoe, MN, is the first woman bestowed with the National Dairy Shrine’s most prestigious Guest of Honor award. This award, presented October 5th, recognizes a contemporary dairy leader for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the dairy industry.
“If an image, or in this case painting, is worth 1,000 words…Bonnie Mohr has written more novels than any other person in the history of this great American dairy industry,” Corey Geiger, Managing Editor of Hoard’s Dairyman wrote of Mohr. “She inspires others through her paintings, creates ideals that we can all move toward and encourages the next generation to enter the dairy industry.”
As a self-taught artist, Mohr’s career began in 1988, when Select Sires commissioned her to paint a few of their most famous bulls. Since that initial project, she has gone on to become the one of the world’s most popular and most respected dairy artists. Today, her paintings adorn the walls of dairy farm homes and businesses throughout the United States, Canada and some 30 countries around the world. Through all of her success, she has remained true to her roots and focuses her work on rural scenes, especially cows and farm animals. Currently, Mohr creates an average of five to 15 original pieces of artwork each year and sells 2,000 to 3,000 reproductions annually.
Some highlights of Mohr’s career include painting a recreation of the famous Purina Mills Dairy Breeds of the Northern Hemisphere poster, painting the modern-day Foster Mother of the Human Race portrait for the 125th Anniversary Celebration of Hoard’s Dairyman, painting modern-day True Type Ideal Model Cows for four of the breed associations, updating the famous Norman Rockwell “National County Ag Agents” Extension image as well as painting and donating an original oil painting “The Beautiful Cow” to the National Holstein Foundation to fund youth and young adult programs, which raised $90,000. She has also been a long-standing exhibitor at World Dairy Expo for 31 years.
Most recently, in 2015, Mohr authored her first children's book, Once There Were No Cows. She created 16 oil paintings for it and wrote the story about the beginning of time and God’s creation of the cow. It has sold over 5,000 copies and there are plans for it to be reprinted. Over the past 15 years, Mohr has broadened her painting perspective to also include general Rural American and Inspirational artwork, which has allowed her to reach a larger and broader customer base.
In addition to becoming an exceptional dairy artist, Mohr also is an incredible giver of her time, money and skills. She has taken helping others to a level most will never reach by supporting over 100 charities through donated artwork. Over the years, these charities have comprised of many dairy-based organizations including 4-H, FFA, breed associations and fundraisers for farm families following tragedy. She also donates to cancer and diabetes efforts.
In a 2010 interview, Mohr had this to say about the use of her time to help others: “I think any time you’re involved in an industry organization that you love and appreciate, it instills a want or desire to give back,” said Mohr. “Because of this life long journey and benefits I have derived from the dairy industry- I realized I had the opportunity to ‘give back.’ I believe in the power of each person playing a part to make a worthy contribution in life, because we all have something different to give. Paintings are my way of giving back.”
Mohr’s dedication to the greater dairy community and the agriculture industry are clear in her actions and praise from her peers. David Thorbahn, President and CEO of Select Sires shared, “It is clear that Mohr’s skills as an artist has helped portray the majestic and beautiful image of the dairy cow and shared the caring and hardworking image of America’s dairy farmer to the agricultural industry and to the buying consumer worldwide. Her amazing contributions over the last 28 years through her artwork, advocacy and her paying forward to the dairy industry make her worthy of this great honor.”
In addition to being a world-renowned artist, Mohr is a dairy farmer’s wife and together she and her husband John have raised 5 children on their registered Holstein farm, Glenmark Genetics, Inc.
"I am honored and receive this recognition with awe and humbleness. I am filled with gratitude to be a part of an industry that is so remarkable in providing good things to our world and growing wonderful people and families who share values of genuine love and joy for what they do,” remarked Mohr. “It reflects the life I've lived; using the skills and blessings God has given me to be an artist. More importantly, it is a tribute to the camaraderie that embodies the people who have supported and shared in this journey with me."