John Gross is recognized for his outstanding achievements in breeding and development of the Holstein breed of dairy cattle. He accomplished this through his own herd, and later as a Holstein Association classifier and technical supervisor. He served as a member of the national board of directors for the Holstein Association. His efforts to bring integrity to the association led to a new leadership structure. He has been a member of the South Dakota and National Holstein Associations for more than 50 years.
He has served the agricultural industry through appointments on the South Dakota Conservation Commission board and the South Dakota Farm Service Agency. After encountering problems with local farm program sign up requirements, he pursued legal remedies through the federal court system. After 18 years, he won a landmark decision against the United States Department of Agriculture which confirmed the transparency and assurance of civil rights in the implementation of federal farm programs.
John believes in offering financial support to help young people assume leadership positions in agriculture. He has provided financial support to the SDSU Dairy and Animal Science Judging Teams, and has served on the SDSU Foundation Board. He has also funded an Embryo Transfer Program at the SDSU Dairy Research and Training facility. His support has allowed for the training of students in the area of embryo transfer, as well as developed high quality animals in the SDSU dairy herd.
John graduated from SDSU with a double major in Dairy Production and Animal Husbandry. He served as SDSU Student Body President, and has had a life-long passion for SDSU athletics, and has funded a perpetual athletic scholarship. John and his wife Millie have 3 children.