Have you ever heard someone describing something that they thought was truly magical? For Ysabel Jacobs the description sounds like this: “You dream about it all your life. You work for it. And then it happens. It’s like the world has stopped turning just to see one cow.” Such was a magical experience for Ferme Jacobs Inc. of Cap–Santé Quebec when Bonnaccueil Maya Goldwyn EX-95-2E was named Supreme Champion of World Dairy Expo. (Read more: World Dairy Expo 2013 Holstein Show Results and World Dairy Expo 2013 – Memories to last a Lifetime) Standing in the spotlight, she had fulfilled Ysabel and Yan Jacobs’ vision. “We bought Maya with Tyler Doiron and Ferme Drolie as a 2 year old because we thought she had the potential to one day to be a great cow. After working with her for many years it was an amazing accomplishment to see her make it all the way to World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion!” For us to achieve this goal was especially exciting. From the beginning we knew what we were looking for. We love a good balanced cow with a tremendous udder. To develop a cow to this level and see one of ours in the middle of the Supreme Champion Parade was a proud moment for us!”
“Magic Can’t Be a One Time Thing”
You might be tempted to say that Christmas came early for these Canadian breeders. However this outstanding success in 2013 wasn’t confined only to October. Or only to the showring. In March Ferme Jacobs received their third Master Breeder Shield. This represents three shields in three generations and, according to the Jacobs, teamwork earns the credit. “We are very proud to be on a team that goes on from generation to generation. Now we are looking forward and striving to have our 4th one someday. As long as the passion for good cows is there, the success will follow.” Ysabel & Yan have the experience to admit. “There is no such thing as overnight success when you are developing cattle from the time they are born to the time they show.” Obviously, there are a lot of years of work behind the success and this year set two new benchmarks. “This was the first time Ferme Jacobs won Premier Breeder and Best 3 females at the 6 major shows we went to. This also was the year we had 3 cows out of 4 in the Bred and Owned Championship at World Dairy Expo and won the Exhibitor award at the Royal with bred cows and heifers!” In somewhat of an understatement they sum it up modestly. “All together these wins made it a big year for us. The best we have ever had!”
“It takes Working Together and It Takes Focus”
Ysabel describes what is needed. “It takes lots of people around us to make this happen but mainly, Dad, Mom, Yan and Veronic and Tyler and I. Dad is a “perfectionist”. Everything has to get done on time and in a perfect way whether it’s in the barn or in the field. Mom is the greatest mom you can have. She is a hard worker that supports her kids and grand kids all the time.”Ysabel feels strongly about her brother’s impact on Ferme Jacobs. “Yan has a grand passion for true type Holstein cattle. He is always in the barn working with cows to have them look the best they can.” The dialogue between Ysabel and Yan is frequent and that’s why it works. “One of our keys to success is that we must call and text each other 25 times a day. All this even though we live right next to each other and work together!!!” We also have the support of our sister Laurie, who attends university and Kevin who has started a new farm with his wife Stephanie.
“There is a Secret Formula that Always Works for Ferme Jacobs!”
It is human nature to want to know the “secret” behind the magic that inspires us. For Ysabel and her husband Tyler Dorion it always comes down to “family” (Read more: Success is All in the Family at Ferme Jacobs). With such a big show season the family support is vital to their success says Ysabel. “At home, Dad and Mom are there full time when we are at the show. They will arrive at the show half way after the heifer show starts. Usually they arrive with all the kids and Yan’s wife Veronic. They always do chores and make sure everything is fine at home. Brother Yan will be there the night before or early that morning. Tyler usually comes the night before too! That’s the way that works best and is the way we’ve done it for a long time.”
“The Show Magic Depends on Hard Working Teams!”
When you’re on the outside looking in, it often appears that showring success comes easily. We forget that, in reality, there is a tremendous amount that goes on behind the scenes and it requires teamwork both on the farm and at the shows. Ysabel & Yan outline what is involved. “When Ysabel leaves for the shows, she often goes with her sister Laurie, her cousin Sam Drolet and her cousin Sonia Laganiere. The night man has an important job on the show crew. It takes somebody reliable and dedicated to do this job like Jason Agnew. We also have two clippers that work together. This year they were Pier-Olivier Lehoux and Mathieu Jalbert who has joined our team lately. We also work on show day with our past fitters for many years, Jonathan Lemay and Grabriel Richard (Cachou). On show day many other people like Kevin Jacobs, Xavier Lemay, Sylvain Cabonneau and Joelle Saucier who help make this team stronger year after year. As well we have a trainee every year who helps at the show and looks after the show cattle at the farm. This year Phillipps Whatman from Australia worked with us for nine months and went with us to almost every show. Of course, what makes it work so well is that we have a team at the farm that also believes in what we do at shows. The secret of the team is they all want to win, so everyone will have done their part to make the animals look their best on the show day.” She sums up the results realistically, “After that it’s the judge’s opinion.”
“There Must be a Method to Mastering Seven Shows On the Road”
The logistics of Ferme Jacobs show season are huge. “We go to 7 shows a year. Quebec Spring Show (17 head), Trois-Rivieres (18), Portneuf (8) (Local show), Quebec Provincial Show (22), WDE (18), EIHQ (20) and the Royal (15).” Ysabel feels that decision-making is working well. “To know who is going to the shows is simple. We bring out the one we like. Sometimes we try a new one or we hope for one, but as the show day comes, we know if we were right or wrong. We always have a few heifers on the show program and before the show we look at them on the walk and if we like them we take them. They usually skip a milking in the morning and around 1pm we look at them full of milk, and once again we bring out the one we like or we try a new one and see.
The Most Important Achievement for Ferme Jacobs is Always “The Next One!”
For breeders who have tasted showring success there never comes a time when they feel they have done it all and that it’s time to stop! “When you have a good year, the market is really good. So far we have had good year every year since 2008. Marketing embryos is there for those cow families. We flush for what we believe can be good for us and we always keep a few for export at the same time. This year, we feel that we needed extra help for marketing embryos and so we had Frederic Fillion join our team. On the cow side we have had a good market for good pedigree cows for a few years. We have a lot of cows that are good enough for breeding from and to start a good flush program for a new farm.” For Ferme Jacobs there are some that they are watching to produce some more magic. “Jacobs Goldwyn Valana will be calving out as a 5 Year-Old. We also have two 4 Yr Olds calving, Blondin Alexander Armana and Jacobs Atwood Melody, that look really good.” With modest understatement, she sums up the future. “We are hoping that we can find some more heifers to show and that we can calve new cows to show to everyone one more time!” Voila!
“Ferme Jacobs Stays Connected and Shares Their Passion”
“Winning the breeder banner for the first time at WDE in 2011 opened the market up for us! World Dairy Expo is the best marketing show that you can have. You have the time, the place and enthusiastic people from all around the world looking at your cattle.” Ferme Jacobs also uses technology to keep in touch with the dairy marketplace worldwide. “We use Facebook and the Internet. You can reach so many people. Quite often it is simple news bits that raise the interest of other breeders who are as passionate as we are about cattle. It’s fast news and it’s quick and easy. All you have to do is “LIKE” Jacobs Facebook page if you haven’t done it already!” She says laughing before getting more serious about the effectiveness of the internet. “Our small videos that we’ve done on different ideas are followed by a lot of people. Some of our videos have been seen more than 10 000 times.” She enthuses about why this method is good for everybody. “Those videos give everybody the chance to see great images of the cattle, of the farm, from shows… etc and by using FACEBOOK to promote them, it’s perfect. Fast news once more. Remember people are busy. Especially farmers. So we have to provide small news. Videos are perfect when you are tired and you just want to look without reading.” Magical!
“They Stand Out Because They Never Give Up!”
Ysabel is quite realistic about show results. “There is little difference between a 1st to a 5th place and it’s usually decided in the first six seconds that the judge looks at you.” She does not find this discouraging. “To be between 2nd and 5th just gives you more reason to come back stronger next show or next year… We are hard workers and never give up when we believe in something… We will do the extra hour of work 365 days a year to make those cows look better on one day. That’s why our kids know all the show cows and they’ve been heard yelling their names at the show! For them they are cheering on the best of the best!
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Not everyone can have the kind of year that Ferme Jacobs has experienced in 2013 but many can appreciate the passion it takes to aim for it. Ysabel sums up what reaching the pinnacle of success at World Dairy Expo meant to Ferme Jacobs “There is a magic energy around that show ring that you cannot find anywhere else.”
The Bullvine congratulates Ferme Jacobs on capturing both the magic and the mastery in 2013! That’s SUPREME!