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We often encourage youth to seek results that are good for everybody involved and, therefore, to create a win-win situation. Virginia Tech freshman Cara Woloohojian and her six year old aged cow, Spider Clara Bell, conducted a master class at both ends of the halter as they walked away from the Guernsey spotlight at the 47th World Dairy Expo with a win-win-win, win-win-win title.  An unparalleled six firsts certainly puts these two in a class by themselves.

Epic Experience

Cara Woloohojian started her epic experience by showing Wee Acres Spider Clara Bell to first place in her class.  Then the pair rang the bell again by winning Senior Champion.  Cara and Clara Bell were delighted to top off their winning performances when their names were called for Grand Champion of the Junior Show (best Guernsey cow in the US owned by a youth). But the two were destined to stroll the red carpet another three times. Cara was proudly on the halter representing herself and sister Lauren as Wee Acres Spider Clara Bell paraded first in her class, then as Senior Champion and then as Grand Champion of the Open Guernsey Show.


“Parade of Champions is the Chance of A Lifetime”

Being able to take part in the Parade of Champions at World Dairy Expo is something that not many people can say they have done.  Cara appreciates how special it was. “Winning Grand Champion of both the Open and Junior Guernsey Show at World Dairy Expo against so many great cows has been my greatest accomplishment so far. I am especially grateful for having the chance to participate in both the Open and Junior Supreme Champion parades and while I was only 18 years old. I hope that I will be able to have more great accomplishments with my future calves, embryos and Clara Bell’s bull, Cactus, and I hope to be able to start my own great cow family.”

Sisters Teamwork Foreshadows Guernsey Show Ring Success

With the polish and focus that took Cara to the top of the International Guernsey Show there was also grace and sincere affection when the announcers included her thanks to her best friend, mentor and sister Lauren Woloohojian. Indeed, the story of Wee Acres Spider Clara Bell started with the enthusiasm shown by both girls at an early age. “I first got started in dairy cattle because, while at a 4-H meeting 13 years ago, my 4-H leader asked ‘Who wants to start a dairy project?’ and, without any hesitation, my sister Lauren and I raised our hands. Once my sister and I decided we wanted Guernseys, we began our search for them. Many people told us that we would never find a Guernsey and they laughed at us, but looking back 13 years I will never regret my decision to get Guernseys.”

Cara and her sister Lauren at the All-American Dairy Show where Clara Bell was Reserve Grand Champion.

Cara and her sister Lauren at the All-American Dairy Show where Clara Bell was Reserve Grand Champion.

From Calving Pen Pick to Parade of Champions Selection

The search for the “right” Guernsey could indeed have been difficult but in fact this part of the story is as unique as the success that would eventually be recognized in the spotlights of World Dairy Expo. “Since Clara Bell is bred and owned we did not have to search through sale catalogs or talk to people to find her. We literally found Clara Bell in the calving pen with Clover, one of our original cows from Lois Whitcomb from Maine.” For Cara the history shared with Clara Bell makes this already unique story even more extraordinary. “I think Wee Acres Spider Clara Bell is exceptional because she is bred and owned and she is out of one of our original three Guernsey’s, Clover. I also believe that Clara Bell is special because we raised her and were able to bring her to a high level of competition. She represents our breed so well and has been honored as one of the best Guernseys in the country.”

“Take Pride in Walking the Colored Shavings”

With this rare double-win at both the Junior and Senior level, Cara is put in the position of mentor to others who are considering entering the dairy show ring. “My advice to other young people would be that it takes time but you never know which calf can grow to become that next great champion cow. Pick a breed, stay with it, get as much advice as you can both good and bad, weigh the options, make good decisions, and reach out to all levels of expertise in your breed. It is important to be a part of your breed association. Finding yourself a mentor is key too. If you are a youth, don’t be afraid to show your cow against adults at national shows. Although it is scary the first time out on the colored shavings, you do not want to regret not showing your own cow. I am so thrilled that I was on the halter when Clara Bell was named Grand Champion!”
2013 Supreme Champion Lineup-Open

FAMILY: Small Herd. Big Encouragement. Strong Support.

The Woloohojian family have a small family herd of Guernseys and Ayrshires in Rhode Island. Cara and Lauren’s parents feel strongly about cattle ownership as their mother explains. “I think owning and caring for an animal teaches the greatest lessons. It teaches many life lessons including responsibility, how to deal with success and failure, decision making and how to follow your own instincts. Sharing a common bond, it helps establish many long term friendships.” Of course, having children with cows is not a short term commitment and so the Woloohojian parents outline what it has meant. “When Cara wanted to get cows we said, “Sure, why not?” When she wanted to show at every local fair, we packed everything up and spent the summer at almost every dairy show we could find. We took her to watch shows to learn about showmanship and judging, to dairy camp and spent hours learning quiz bowl! Christmas and birthday presents always included fitting supplies, clippers, blades and topline scissors. We always encouraged her to do her best and tried to support her as best we could.”

In Good Hands with Guidance from Special Family and Friends

There were probably many times on Cara’s journey when she had to push her comfort zone, however, she is confident that she always had great input to inspire her. “The biggest influences on me I would have to say are my family, my sister, Lauren Woloohojian, Craig Hawksley, Pamella Jeffrey, Kyle Thygesen and Seth Johnson. They have all been influential to me in their own way. My family has been very influential to me because we began this project together knowing very little about cows and farming. My parents never let that get in the way or deter us. I have always looked up to my sister, Lauren. She was always the one to beat in showmanship which inspired me to get better. Craig Hawksley and Pam Jeffrey from Rhode Island have been influential because of their passion for animals. Craig’s success with Sweet – Pepper Black Francesca has always inspired me. (Read more: The Magic of Francesca) Pam was my 4-H dairy club leader and she was always supportive of me and helped teach me about showing. Kyle Thygesen, of Farmstead Genetics in Tunbridge, Vermont, provided the expertise and care which prepared Clara Bell for show. Seth Johnson supported us when this 4-H family with no dairy experience settled on the Guernsey breed. He has answered numerous questions, directed us to sales and has provided much guidance along the way.”

©World Dairy Expo

©World Dairy Expo

“We are so incredibly happy for her! She is a hard worker and never gives up!”

Cara’s mother puts this latest success into Wee Acres perspective. “We have a small family herd of Guernseys and Ayrshires. We currently farm 70 acres and recently purchased a 356 acre farm in Addison, Vermont, where we would like to continue to build our herd with the emphasis on breeding good foundation cows.” She characterizes the growing success with a mixture of pride and humor. We like to think of it as a 4-H project gone haywire! That keeps it fun!!” was Cara’s dad’s, Jim Woloohojian favorite quote.

The Bullvine Bottom Line.  Now That’s Remarkable!

Those with a passion for dairy cattle and the show ring are used to the well-rounded resumes belonging to more senior members of the show ring circuit. It therefore comes as no surprise that, even though she is young, Cara excels outside the ring too.   “In addition to her success at World Dairy Expo, we are so impressed by how she always helps others with their dairy projects. Whether it was giving up a run for our state fair’s princess contest so she could work with 4-Hers in NY or spending an afternoon working with new dairy project members, her passion for dairy is remarkable.”  Remarkable effort!  Remarkable results!  That’s the essence of the Cara Woloohojian win-win situation!  Congratulations Cara.

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Every year we wonder if this year`s Expo will be able to surpass benchmarks set in the past..  This year was no different.  Coming into Expo, there was perhaps a little less optimism.  No one could foresee   that a former Expo Champion would add to her already great legacy or that a new legend was set to begin.  Unexpected.  Yes.  But that is exactly what happened.

A Living Legend Makes and Appearance

We arrived late to the show, after trying to juggle multiple companies in very different industries.  This meant that the first show that I got to see was the Brown Swiss Show.  Looking back, this show set the tone for the rest of my week as I witnessed and recorded one the greatest colored breed show cows of all time, OLD MILL E SNICKERDOODLE OCS EX-4E-94-USA, who made an appearance.  (Read more: The 12 Greatest North American Colored Breed Show Cattle of All-Time).  While Snickerdoodle did not add to her record 7 Grand Champion awards at Expo, as she was showing in the dry cow class, she did win her class and the hearts of all in the building who raised the roof with their applause.  (Read more: Elite Dairy Has Banner Day at International Brown Swiss Show).



Apple Takes Things to Whole New Heights

If Snickerdoodle gave us a glimpse into the past, KHW Regiment Apple-Red gave us a look into the past, present and the future.  Sure she looked amazing and was named Reserve Grand Champion.  She showed off her trademark depth, angularity and balance but that was not enough for the living legend.  Apple-Red was able to take things to a level that might never be able to be repeated ever again.  Her clone, KHW Regiment Apple 3-Red-ETN who is the   spitting image of a younger Apple-Red was the only cow that was able to beat her on this day.  Yes you could say she was beaten by herself.  And to add to the growing legend, her daughter MS Candy Apple-Red-ET was named Honorable Mention Grand Champion.  (Read more: KHW Regiment Apple-Red – Beauty, performance, and even more record accomplishments and History Made At the 2013 International Red & White Show).  Watching Apple, Apple clone and her daughter sweep the Red & White Show will be a memory I will never forget.  Having the honor to be right there and taking the pictures to preserve that memory was priceless.

KHW Regiment Apple-Red Adding to her legacy

KHW Regiment Apple-Red
Adding to her legacy

Paul Ekstein – Grumpy Old Man?  I think NOT!

There is no shortage of awards given out during World Dairy Expo.  Two of the biggest are the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award and the Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award.  Coming into the show, I was well aware that Paul Ekstein would be receiving the much deserved McKown Master Breeder Award.  (Read more: Ekstein Named Fifth Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award Winner and PAUL EKSTEIN – 2013 Recipient of the Prestigious McKown Master Award).  I have had the pleasure of knowing Paul my whole life.  First it was by a reputation that might have you thinking of Walter Matthau from Grumpy Old Men.  However, since starting the Bullvine, I have had the pleasure to get to know Paul on a whole new level.  The biggest thing that touches me is just how much he cares.  When I suffered my heart attack or have had to deal with the challenges that come with running the Bullvine, Paul and his son Ari have been amazing supporters and good friends.  So when Bert Stewart, lifelong friend of Paul’s and university classmate presented him with his award, my heart was overflowing and my trigger finger was snapping pictures as fast as I could.  I knew family and friends would want as many pictures as possible to preserve this moment of well-deserved recognition.

Paul Ekstein receiving the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award from life long friend Bert Stewart

Paul Ekstein receiving the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award from life long friend Bert Stewart

Grumpier old men?

Speaking of someone who appears grumpy on the outside but is golden on the inside, Richard Caverly winning the Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award surprised me.  (Read more:  Maine Native Wins Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award)  Not because he was not a very deserving winner.  He is.  In fact Richard’s list of accomplishments and the cattle he has worked with reads like a Who’s Who of the show ring greats – Gold Prize, Nadine, Melanie, Delilah, Ashlyn, Victoria, Veronica and Frannie.  It’s the cow on the end of that list that stands out for me.  Sweet-Pepper Black Francesca was last year’s Grand Champion of the Ayrshire show for the 2nd time.  In wanting to learn more about this cow, I started chatting with Richard more and more and found that the story behind this cow is truly amazing.  (Read more: The Magic of Francesca)  What I learned was that, not only was this cow an amazing show cow, but she did something even more magical.  Francesca changed the lives of Richard and his wife Beverly, in a way that no other cow possibly could.  United by their passion for great cattle, Richard and Beverly are two of the most amazing people I know.  That is why when I learned of Frannie’s passing the tears started to fall.  Watching the Ayrshire show this year was tough for me, as I knew that, for those in the ring, there would be moments of extreme happiness, but for Richard and Beverly, the memories of “Frannie” would come back again.

Richard Caverly winning the Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award

Richard Caverly winning the Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award

A Picture is Worth Twenty-Thousand Words

Over the years I have had the opportunity to attend Expo many times.  But this year would be a first for me.  This year I would be in the ring taking pictures.  I think I must have annoyed the heck out of the Expo staff prior to the show.  I was repeatedly checking to make sure that I would be able to take pictures in the ring.  For me it meant that I would be experiencing a dream come true.

You see I have been able to experience the show as a fitter, as a showman, but never have I been able to sit right there and get the same exact view the judge gets and see  who is the best of the best.  Last year at Expo I sat in the stands and took pictures from there.  This year I wanted to take things to a completely new level.  Since last year’s show I took the opportunity to take pictures at as many shows as I could.  I pretty much forced my father to go to every show with me, 19 in all.  Many required that we drive all night to get to the show, spend the whole day taking pictures, and then drive all night to make it back in time to attend meetings for my main company the next day.

In preparation for this amazing opportunity I also took more than 60 hours of training on the technical side of photography.  You see I am not a photographer by trade.  I learned graphic design as a must when I started Elite Breeders back in University.  When I started that company I didn’t even own a computer of my own and then I was presented with the opportunity to market Calbrett-I H H Champion, the #1 LPI sire in the world, for GenerVations.  I had to get a loan from my grandfather, buy a Mac, and Photoshop and do a catalogue and ads for them, all while even learning the basics of how to use the programs.  This time I was going to be prepared.  Sure none of the video companies could even imagine shooting under these conditions.  The show ring combines two of the most challenging circumstances a photographer can encounter, low light and action.  In order to be able to get the pictures that would preserve the memories I have had to invest over $20,000 in camera equipment alone.  No small investment for a digital magazine that until this point has had no revenue sources at all and is driven by the passion of our team.

One of the great things about attending so many of the top shows, is that I had the opportunity to see many of the contenders before the Expo.  This insight made it possible for me to do a very complete preview of the show.  (Read more: World Dairy Expo 2013 Holstein Show Preview – Everything You Need To Know To Get Ready For the Show).

Armed with this insight and the camera equipment to get the pictures, I was ready to get to work.  Since last year’s World Dairy Expo our readership has grown to over 10,000 readers on a daily basis, the largest in the industry.  So I knew that people would be watching.  But man I could have never expected the results that we have had.  Pictures such as the naming of the Junior Champion and Grand Champion went viral.  In the past week since the show, the pictures that we shared have been seen by over 1,000,000 people and liked or shared by over 10,000 people.  That is more than all the other Dairy publications combined.  Scary to think for a magazine that is just over 18 months old.

Junior Champion Female honours went to the 1st place Spring Yearling Calf, Cameron Ridge Atwood Beauty exhibited by Gene Iager and Chris & Jennifer Hill, Thurmont, Md.

Junior Champion Female honours went to the 1st place Spring Yearling Calf, Cameron Ridge Atwood Beauty exhibited by Gene Iager and Chris & Jennifer Hill, Thurmont, Md.

For me it’s a humbling experience to have our hard work be rewarded the way has been.  The team here at The Bullvine has put in many long hours to put out four unique articles a week.  That is 16 articles a month.  When you consider that the average magazine does about four a month you understand the amount of work that goes into producing The Bullvine.  On a daily basis we are always looking for new and different ways to add engagement to what we do.  This was highlighted by our recent Fantasy Exhibitor contest which received over 5,000 entries and was seen by over 50,000 people on our website alone.  (Read more: Fantasy Exhibitor – World Dairy Expo 2013 Edition – The Results!).  For the Bullvine team being at Expo was amazing.  Having so many people from all walks of the dairy industry come up to us and tell us just how much they appreciate what we do was inspiring.  It’s moments like these that drive us on a daily basis to do better.

Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn, exhibited and owned by Ty-D Holsteins, Drolet & Fils, Ferme Jacobs, A. & R. Boulet, Inc, who was crowned Grand and Senior Champion of the 2013 International Holstein Show.

Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn, exhibited and owned by Ty-D Holsteins, Drolet & Fils, Ferme Jacobs, A. & R. Boulet, Inc, who was crowned Grand and Senior Champion of the 2013 International Holstein Show.

Here are some of the over 4,000 pictures I took during my 3 days at World Dairy Expo 2013.

  • World Dairy Expo 2013 - Holstein - Milking Yearling
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The Bullvine Bottom Line

Just like each of my children (who are my first love) every World Dairy Expo is different and unique in its own way.  The 2013 Edition will certainly be an extremely memorable one for me.  Expo is where legends are made.  This year we saw two great legends add to their story and new legends, Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn and the amazing team at Ferme Jacobs emerge.  From all of us here at The Bullvine, we want to say thanks to you the exhibitors and breeders who, with commitment and passion, make these awesome memories turn from dreams to reality!

What's next for us here at the Bullvine?  Well today we will all be at the Rockton World's fairy where my children, Drew (6), Ethan (4) and Zabrina (3) will be showing for the first time.

What’s next for us here at the Bullvine? Well today we will all be at the Rockton World’s fairy where my children, Drew (6), Ethan (4) and Zabrina (3) will be showing for the first time.

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Some Cows Just Want to Dance…

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

top13of2013On an average day we get about 100-120 different comments on our website, Facebook page and other social media sites about how dairy cattle showing is inhumane and unethical.  On Saturday alone we had over 200 comments on our Facebook page about how some of our udder shots were just downright cruel.  (Read more: What PETA Does Not Know About Raising Dairy Cattle!) Now fortunately we do have filters and staff setup to handle this, but it still got me thinking about this issue.  Is dairy cattle showing cruel and unusual treatment, or is it that the general public doesn’t understand that some cows just want to dance?

RF Goldwyn Hailey - A great show cow who just loves to dance

RF Goldwyn Hailey – A great show cow who just loves to dance

The image some would have you believe is that these cows are being badly treated, that they are in constant pain, and that they live a very harsh life.  This quite simply is not the case at all.  In reality these show cows receive the best possible treatment.  They receive a bath pretty much every other day, they get all the best feed they can eat and are loved by those who care for them.  And that is not just at the show.  This treatment occurs on a daily basis.

Think about it, they get regular haircuts so that they look pretty.  They get a little hairspray to make sure their hair stays in place.  They receive a massaging bath to make sure they feel good.  And they get all the nutritious food they could eat.  What more could a pampered “lady” ask for?

Beverly Donavon and the great show cow Sweet Pepper Black Francesca

Beverly Donavon and the great show cow Sweet Pepper Black Francesca

Oh yes, the love of a good man?  Well they receive that as well.  The breeders exhibiting these animals truly do love their show cows.  Many times these cows become like family to the breeders who love and care for them and they wouldn’t do anything to hurt them.  And to be “politically” correct there are many woman who love these great animals as well (Read more: The Magic of Francesca). In reality they do everything they can to provide for them.  They give these animals names and they treat them, some would say, better than their own children because there are no mind games, or time out for bad behavior.

VALLEYVILLE RAE LYNN - Mammary System - RAWF 2012

VALLEYVILLE RAE LYNN – Mammary System – RAWF 2012

Now there is the question about how cows mammary systems are prepared for show.  While most can understand the washing, clipping and feeding, they just can’t get their head around the apparent “pain” they perceive that cow udders endure The practice of letting the cows udder fill to capacity has some thinking that these lactating boobs  are about to explode.  Well I look at it like this.  When a young woman is out looking her best does she not put on her best dress and “push up” bra?  That is the same as a cow has when she goes into the show ring.  She wants to look her best and her “push up bra” helps her do that.

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky – Mammary System – NY Spring Show 2013

Now I know some would ask, “How do you know that the cow actually enjoys it?” Well look in their eyes.  There are some cows that love to show.  Just like there are some women who love to get all dressed up and go out on for a night on the town.  The second these dairy-girls step in the ring, something changes, they just want to dance.  And man can some of them do it. They walk into that ring as if they are walking down a runway in Paris, New York or Milan.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While some would condemn the treatment of show cows, those that actually understand the practice, appreciate that these cows are some of the best cared for animals in the world.  You see, for some of these cows, it’s as if they are “moovie” stars walking down the red carpet at the premier of their next big film.  They just love it!!!  All eyes are on them and there is nowhere else they would rather be.  They just love to dance.


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Over the past month I have been to 5 cattle auctions and 7 cattle shows in 4 different states or provinces. To say that I spent some time on the road driving from one event to the next is an understatement. And, while all of these events were amazing in their own unique way, there was one consistent thing that surprised me. Less and less people are attending these events.

RF Goldwyn Hailey - Grand Champion NY Spring Show

RF Goldwyn Hailey – Grand Champion NY Spring Show

Now normally this would cause one to think that dairy cattle showing is dying, but in reality I actually think that the exact opposite is true. Consider this. The quality of cattle at these shows has been the best I have ever seen. I have had the opportunity to see the great RF Goldwyn Hailey multiple times, and this last time at NY Spring Show I would say that she looked the best I had ever seen her (Read more: RF Goldwyn Hailey Rides to the Top Spot at NY Spring Carousel and New York Spring Holstein Show 2013 Results). Also in NY I saw one of the most competitive Sr. 2 year old classes ever, where the legend in the making R-E-W Happy Go Lucky was beaten for the first time in milking form. Though in all fairness she is in the later stage of her lactation and the others are peaking.



At the Ontario Spring Show, I saw what I think to be a future World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion, Valleyville Rae Lynn, giving Hailey a run for her money, though as Hailey has shown this spring she is untouchable. (Read more: Ontario Spring Discovery – Nothing Slipped Past Judge “Crack” and Ontario Spring Discovery Results). And at Quebec Spring Show I get to visit with many of the most passionate breeders in the world today (Read more: Do We Speak the Same Language? and Quebec Spring Show Results).

Valleyville Rae Lynn

Valleyville Rae Lynn – Reserve Grand Ontario Spring Show

So what is it then? Why are less and less people attending the shows?

In discussing this with Randy Blodgett, newly appointed publisher of Holstein World and mastermind behind Holstein World Productions, the answer becomes pretty clear. They are all watching the coverage online.

Decrausaz Iron O'Kalibra  Class 9 winner, Sr & Grand Champion - 2013 All European Championship

Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra
Class 9 winner, Sr & Grand Champion – 2013 All European Championship

During the recent NY Spring Show, there were over 5,000 people watching on the live video stream. This reminded me of the video stream we shared of the EU Championship Show where there were so many people wanting to watch that we had up to 1,000 people waiting to get one of the coveted spots to watch the live stream on the Bullvine alone(Read more:The All European Championship Show: The Greatest SHOW on Earth and Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra Wins Grand at the 2013 All European Championship). Interesting note about the EU Championship show. The show itself did such a great job of covering the show, we here at the Bullvine didn’t even have to attend the show and we had the largest viewership in the world, thanks to the power of digital and social media.

3X as many people watched the 2013 All European Championships on then all other publications combined.

And now we are talking about just those who are able to take the time to watch it live. If you add in those that watch the coverage on the various publications and Facebook you would easily be over 12,000 viewers. There are more publications than ever covering the shows. Gone are the days when you were lucky to get covered in your national breed publication and that’s it. In today’s digital dairy media world, you are likely to have 4 or 5 publications there taking pictures and sharing the results. Who knows maybe someday we will have coverage comparable to a professional sporting event? Imagine it, commentators during the cow show bring you all the play by play.

From the great camera angles combined with the very professional in ring cameras combined with the outstanding music and exceptional ring announcer the experience was riveting for all.

From the great camera angles combined with the very professional in ring cameras combined with the outstanding music and exceptional ring announcer the experience was riveting for all at the 2013 All European Championships.

But already even this is starting to change. We here are the Bullvine try to do even more. While we have not gotten into the live streaming of the shows, we have started to do more and more stories about what happens beyond the placings. We try to bring you the story behind the story, such as (Read more World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle for the Ages and The 2012 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show – One of the greatest ever told!).

Brian and Rob Eby embrace

Brian and Rob Eby embrace after Ebyhomle Goldwyn Marcia is named Reserve Grand Champion at the 2012 RAWF

Watch out for those “Moovie” Stars

Actually, it’s almost scary how much some things have changed. Just write or share a picture of Hailey, O’Kalibra, Happy Go Lucky, or Rae Lynn and the piece goes viral. These cows have become “Moovie” Stars. They have their own cult following that would rival that of One Direction, Maroon 5 or Justin Bieber.

While I am sure that many dairy breeders are not “Beliebers”, they are very passionate about great cows and these four certainly are that. And yes I am sure that many of the showmen that show these animals do have egos as big as Justin’s is. Things have changed so much that the showmen of these cattle have gone from complaining about or at least ignoring the photographers in the ring, to a point where they make sure they have the animal set up correctly. They are all looking good and appreciate the exposure. So much so that in the past 2 weeks alone we have had over 20 requests by breeders for pictures from the show for use in ads and other marketing efforts. A “money shot” of their animal winning their class or better yet the show, brings coverage you just can’t buy and a boring side shot cannot compare with. (Read more No Cow Is Perfect – Not Even in Pictures and Introducing the Dairy Marketing Code of Conduct)

The Power of Social Media

Starting today in Wisconsin is the Mid-West Spring National. This is a show that I am sure will be great. But I will not be there. That’s because between, myself and my trusty traveling partner (my father and Bullvine writer), we need time to rest. Yes the time in the car is fine for discussing many of the great events or challenges facing the dairy industry and leads to some great articles (Read more: Where is the Balance in Balanced Breeding?)., we need time to get caught up on the other things in our lives.

We were stressing out that we needed to be there but just couldn’t do the 11hr drive back and forth and still get everything done that we need to do. So we are not going. The amazing part is, when I mentioned on Facebook about the show and asked what animals were there and who looked good, we got some super responses. The best of them were the people that said they would take some pictures for us and share with us all the “juicy” details about the stories behind the story. To our faithful readers who are doing this for us we send a BIG thank you. To those looking for results, we say “Don’t worry we’ve got you covered”.

Touch my heart

Now there is one event that I would love to be at. And yes it does happen today, and yes it is at a cattle show, but NO it is not happening in the show ring. Since starting the Bullvine we have had the opportunity to get to know many amazing people. One such case is Beverly Donavon, the passionate owner of the great Ayrshire show cow Sweet-Pepper Black Francesca. Their story has touched our hearts and made us huge fans of both (Read more: The Magic of Francesca).

Through the power of social media we have gotten to know Beverly and her husband Richard. Recently Richard mentioned to me that a great young artist, Emma Caldwell, had painted an amazing picture of “Frannie” and that he would be attending the Ayrshire Spring Show in Quebec today with Beverly to meet the artist and pick up the picture (Read more Emma Caldwell’s Art Stirs Mind and Heart!). Now you see Richard may come sometimes come across as a sarcastic wrangler but when you get to know him, you can’t help but like him. This special event that he has arranged, and that Beverly knows nothing about, is just another reason why. When Frannie passed this past winter, Beverly was understandably devastated and Richard has done everything he could think of to help her through this tough time. This picture is just one of the many things he has done to help her through it. Emma Caldwell has graciously agreed to auction of her latest painting “Hailey” with a portion of the proceeds to go towards a charity (click here to learn more).

Emma Caldwell's painting of the great "Frannie"

Emma Caldwell’s painting of the great “Frannie”

So my interest in being there has nothing to do with the show, which I am sure will be great. It has nothing to do with covering this story, which I am sure will be a tearjerker. But rather, it has EVERYTHING to do with the power of the human spirit. Three amazing people will get to meet, share a few tears (Bev most certainly), and celebrate an amazing cow and a very thoughtful gesture by all in involved. There will not be a big presentation in the center of the ring. There will not be any announcement over the public address system. If you see Bev with tears in her eyes over her trademark heartwarming love for one of her favorites , be sure to give her a big hug and say, “Way to go, we all loved Frannie and she was one of the best ever.”

So this is where I will be this weekend.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While we here at the Bullvine will not be able to attend as many shows as we would like, I think that is also the case for many passionate dairy breeders. However thanks to the power of social media and the enhanced coverage many of the trade publications are providing, you can rest assured that you will be able to get the full story. To those who pioneered this, such as Randy Blodgett over 16 years ago, when he first did digital real time coverage at Expo, “Way to go Randy”. To those that have stepped up to help bring us the story behind the story at Mid-West Spring National, we say “Thanks”. Yes show attendance is down, but there is no question that the show passion lives on.


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All Talk and NO Action

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Magazine ads promoting your herd cost a lot of money. So why are you wasting all that hard earned cash with no results? The ads that get the most attention are the ones that are eye catching, keep it simple and, most importantly, have a clear call to action.
Roy - ABS Global

You Can’t Have a Great Ad without a Great Photo

There is no question that dairy breeders love looking at great pictures of cattle. Instead of just a boring side shot, try to get different angles of your cattle. Three quarter rear shots are great at grabbing attention. Show multiple angles of your cow, in order to gain maximum attention.

The best ads use images that are interesting and large! As a general rule, your graphics should take up at least a quarter of your available space and can go up from there. Small graphics are distracting to your readers and do not have enough interest to draw a reader into the ad. (To learn more check out our interview with the best in the business, Patty Jones, about how to get the perfect picture).

Does it catch the readers Eye?

Tha Magic of Francesca

Read more about “The Magic of Francesca

Once you`ve got good photos! Make sure you get an eye-catching ad developed to go with them.  Print ads must be eye-catching and attractive to draw the viewer’s attention.  As Pam Nunes, the designer behind the great Ocean View Genetics ads says, “Remember…the purpose of an ad is to attract the reader’s eye enough to get them to read it…and want more.” (Read more – Ocean View Genetics: The Fine Art of Marketing Great Breeding).

There is no substitute for creativity.  Yes it takes more time and effort! However, it’s required in order to stand out from the crowd.  With the major dairy cattle magazines awash with ad after ad, and row after row, of cattle pictures, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd.  The best way to do this is to think about the reason why you are doing the ad in the first place.  Who is the animal? What is the message that you want everyone to remember?

The”cow” is the center of your story.  If the best part of your cow, or the point you want to make is your cow family’s ability to produce great udders, then make the whole ad one large shot of her udder.  Keep your ad simple and put the detailed information on your website. Remember you want to accentuate how your animal is different and why they would want to buy your genetics.

Don’t Forget Your Call to Action

Probably my biggest pet peeve in all dairy cattle advertising happens when there is no call to action.  What is the point of spending all that money?  Exactly!  You want them to take action.  That is why the best ads make it very clear what that action needs to be.

In today’s age of the internet and social media there is no need to try and tell an animal’s entire history in the ad.  Instead make a clear call to action that brings them to your website or, better yet.  your Facebook page to get further information.  On those two sites you can have more daughter pictures and the rest of the story.  Breeders love big pictures so why try to squeeze so many shots into a small ad?  Instead give them one good eye catching image, with a clear call to action to come to your Facebook page to see more.

Facebook really can add a great dimension to your magazine advertising.  Recently I saw the following ad by Posal Farms that really get’s it.  It has two great cattle shots, not too much text and a definite call to action.  Posal is really leveraging the power of Facebook and is running a contest where you can vote for your favorite (Posal Daughter Contest).  In their ad, dead center and clear to all who read it, is the call for the reader to visit their Facebook page where they can be the judge.

 The Bullvine Bottom Line

Magazine advertising represents a large portion of many breeders’ promotional budgets. It is no longer enough merely to post an ad.  To attract the buyers you’re seeking, your ad must stand out and get attention.  Most of all it has to have a clear call to action.  An ad that is all talk and no action, results in no revenue.

Want to take your marketing to the next level, download our free guide “The Dairy Breeders Guide to Facebook“.

Want to take your ad’s to the next level, check out our dairy ad design services.



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