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Have you ever had one of those days where you’re walking through a huge crowd and pass a cow draped in roses and so you step out of the way and your path is blocked by a young man proposing marriage to his radiant sweetheart? Chances are you were at World Dairy Expo and taking part in five days of high pitched dairy excitement.  Every fall Madison Wisconsin welcomes the world to enjoy dairy. Cows, equipment, seminars, dairy shows and cows, cows and more cows. Expo caters to everyone’s dairy desires. But not everyone ends up fulfilling their dairy dreams. Perhaps because they are unsure how to brave such a massive event. For those of you who are finally ready to take the plunge we have your ultimate guide to surviving World Dairy Expo.


World Dairy Expo spans six glorious days. Once you have decided to spend all or part of that time completely surrounded by everything dairy that you love, it will pay to make sure that your adventure gets off to a good start … just like thousands of experienced Expo-Goers are doing.

Coming In From Outside the USA? Register in Advance

For any non-USA visitors to Expo, this is absolutely the best advice that I can give you.  The lineups start early and – although staff is extremely pleasant and efficient – you will appreciate being able to speed through this step.  Here’s the advice they give: “Simply complete the form on the website and print the confirmation email (Click here).  When you arrive at International Registration, located in the East Lobby of the Coliseum, present the confirmation.  You will then receive an official pin and ribbon, which grants access to the International Lounge all week and the International Party on Friday night.  At registration, you will also receive a souvenir tote bag with the special The International Visitor publication inside.”

NOTE:  If you’re only going for 1 day, then choose which day carefully. Thoroughly check out the show guide to make sure you see the dairy animals you’re looking for. Seats at the dairy shows fill up quickly and some have been warmed by the same spectators for generations.  Getting to the dairy ring a couple of hours in advance isn’t enough to guarantee you a ringside seats. Sitting at ringside for a few minutes and then heading off for another event, doesn’t qualify as good planning.  If you’re a “newbie”, don’t destroy your welcome by being rude or upsetting the traditions.  If you’re a veteran, sending one person to save twenty seats doesn’t send a positive message either.  Find a happy medium between organized and greedy! 

Pack the Right Supplies

You don’t plan a trip without packing and since properly seeing all of World Dairy Expo qualifies as a “trip”, it’s important to be prepared.

  • Take a portable charger for your phone or camera.  It can be very easy to run out of battery power, if you’re taking lots of pictures or videos.
  • A lot of booths, and the International Registration, give out shopping bags or tote bags.  That is very helpful as you gather loot but, as I tell my husband, there is an awful lot that ‘absolutely wants to go home with us!’ In that case your hands may fill up quickly, restricting you’re picture taking ability as well as cutting down on hand-shaking, simultaneously with enjoying refreshments.  Your best option might be a backpack.  It also reduces the chances of setting something down and forgetting it.

Cows, Manners and Celebrity

You’re going to see a lot of cows and dairy industry leaders. But always keep in mind that they are there for a purpose! That purpose is The Dairy Expo competition. They have spent a year at least focused on getting their animals ready to compete as the best in their age group. Make sure you don’t do anything to hinder that flow to the winners circle. Dairy Expo is the time for cows to shine!  Here are ground rules everyone should know.

  • If you want to take a picture of a specific cow, be polite, you are not the paparazzi. If they are in a rush and say no to posing for you or having you too close to their setup, just remember they are the reason World Dairy Expo exists. Sometimes they can’t stop for a pic because they are on a tight time schedule. If you want a picture with them then do ask if they are okay with that. Again some might say no, and that’s life.

Plan Ahead!

If you want to make the most of World Dairy Expo you must PLAN AHEAD!  It can’t be said too often.  There are resources on the World Dairy Expo website (LINK) to help you plan your day once you arrive in Madison. Planners have provided the following:

  • Interactive maps show where each of the over 850 companies are located and provide contact information along with links to social media accounts like Facebook and YouTube. You can add companies of interest into a “must see” list to utilize while at the show. New this year, is Innovation Unveiled, a new, online product showcase that features a Pinterest-style layout. Search the latest products that will debut at this year’s show. View Innovation Unveiled here.
  • Also available this year is an animal location search. Like the interactive maps for the trade show, there will be interactive maps for the New Holland Pavilions with stalling locations. Just simply enter the name of an animal, exhibitor or town to see which Pavilion, section and row they are housed. There will be kiosks in the Pavilions for your use.”

With so much to see and do in several buildings, barns and display areas, there will be times when the weather could decide to be a partner in your enjoyment of World Dairy Expo.  Once again preparation ahead of time will pay off!

Dress for the Weather

First and foremost make sure you have comfortable footwear.  There are miles of aisles.  Make sure that your feet don’t give out before you’ve seen everything.

  • Dress in layers.  You may need a jacket in the morning but will find it too warm in the afternoon.  Be prepared for rain and nothing will put a damper on your day.
  • Repeat:  Hats, gloves and umbrellas can make the difference!  Bring them!
  • Expo has posted this forecast “sun and overcast conditions during expo with temperatures of 60 (15 C) degrees Fahrenheit to 50 (10C) degrees Fahrenheit.”

Food and Refreshments

There are lots of choices for food on the Expo grounds.  You will quickly find your dairy favorites.  However, once again consider that there will be thousands of people with the same food needs as yours.  Eat a good breakfast before arriving in the morning and plan ahead to either miss the “peak” times or to go off site (sometimes a long distance off site) to enjoy a meal in one of the many excellent restaurant options to be found in and around Madison (Read more: for more entertainment ideas).

If you do plan to leave the Expo Grounds or the Coliseum during peak times you may find that parking and seating could reach capacity while you’re gone and you may be held up from finding a parking space or seating space when you return.

Rest UP

Get plenty of sleep after each day.  If you’re exhausted, it’s hard to fully enjoy what is going on.  Staying healthy and well-rested can help you avoid getting “Expo Flu” when you return home.  It happens when you spend so much time in large crowds.

Virtual Farm Tours

Seeing is understanding and seeing how real dairy operations incorporate the newest science and technology and management is invaluable.  Here is what you can get this experience without even leaving the Expo grounds. “Virtual Farms Tours give World Dairy Expo attendees the opportunity to experience a wide variety of farms, topics and management styles, all from the comfort of a chair. This year’s operations excel in areas of water conservation, genetics, robotics and more. The tours are led by dairy owners and managers, with a half-hour pictorial overview of their operation, general information and highlights of exceptional management practices. After each session there is time for questions and discussion. The tours are presented daily, Tuesday, Sept. 30 through Saturday, Oct. 4 in the Mendota 1 meeting room in the Exhibition Hall. The presentations will also be posted on World Dairy Expo’s website after the show. Sponsors of the 2014 Virtual Farm Tours are AgStar Financial Services, American Jersey Cattle Association, DuPont Pioneer, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Lely, Livestock Water Recycling Inc., Quality Liquid Feeds Inc. and Zoetis.” Check out the World Dairy Expo website for descriptions of each tour.

Here is a final note that the organizers include regarding farm tours and which we at The Bullvine heartily endorse.” Wisconsin is home to numerous companies and some of the finest dairy operations in the world.  If you are making the trip, be sure to stay a few extra days and tour our great state!!

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is so much to see and do at World Dairy Expo that we hope our insights and suggestions have been helpful. Have a great time and enjoy your Dairy Expo experience.  Hoping to see you there! To share some time together would be awesome!!




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The Other Show at World Dairy Expo!

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

I must admit that I have always loved the big Ag shows.  Taking time away from the farm (but not away from agriculture) has been a family tradition from my early days in a horse training household to the years spent raising our own dairy focused clan.  However, despite the holiday feeling, there is always an underlying goal of trying to get the most out of these trips.  This year The Bullvine is looking forward to World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin September 30 – October 14. Of course, whenever you’re devising a strategy, it is always better when you have great resources to draw upon.   Connie Eibergen, Marketing Coordinator, Agri-Nutrition Consulting LLC and Shirley Kaltenbach CMP, Director of Communications at Select Sires Inc. have the experience and enthusiasm that gave us valuable input from the exhibitor perspective, as we took a look at the “other” show at Expo.

9 Ways to Win at the “Other” World Dairy Expo Show!

  1. International visitorsBe prepared. Plan ahead.
    “Thousands of dairy farmers and professionals from around the world attend World Dairy Expo every day to discover new technologies and watch or participate in the cattle shows” points out Connie Eibergen referring to both the Dairy Show and the Trade Show. However, even though the trade show also has excitement and entertainment, it isn’t the show ring where you can see everything from a comfortable seat. You’re on foot in six commercial exhibit areas covering nearly one-half million square feet of exhibit space and exhibits from 850 companies from more than 28 countries.  As one of 72,000 annual attendees, navigating your way through this maze can either be a big waste of time or, if you’re prepared, send you home enthused and ready to try something new and improved. Our best advice is to do your first “once around the ring,” while you are at home and checking out (show link). Not every booth will have the perfect answer for your three biggest dairy challenges (Of course, you DO know what they are!). But World Dairy Expo is the best place to get started finding the solutions! That is exactly what exhibitors like Select Sires are eager to prove. “This five-day event showcases the finest in dairy genetics and the newest technologies available to the dairy industry. Select Sires makes sure plenty of experts are on hand to be a resource to dairy producers seeking assistance.”So with your booth layout in hand and already highlighted, check-marked or circled, you are ready to make a well-planned trip through the World Dairy Expo Trade Show.
  2. Pay Close Attention to Who is Strutting Their (New) Stuff!
    The 24/7 nature of dairy farming doesn’t make it easy to keep up with new products or ideas. This roadblock is removed, when you’re live where all the latest and greatest are being showcased at WDE. “Expo is a great place to launch new products,” says Shirley Kaltenbach adding that it is also “great for generating new leads.”   Shirley also feels that the Expo venue is a win-win for exhibitors and attendees and especially valuable for strategic planning. “Expo gives us an opportunity to obtain customer feedback.”  This teamwork approach to industry problem-solving is important to ANC says Connie Eibergen. “ANC is rolling out our brand new “Go Beyond Nutrition” look and initiative.” She explains. “As part of this initiative we are launching an integrated ‘I go beyond for dairy’ campaign at World Dairy Expo.” that will proactively involve participation from current and future customers. Therefore, if you are an attendee start your planning by thinking about your dairy service providers. If you are happy with the product being displayed or even if you have concerns or problems, you will be welcomed by discerning businesses who are always seeking ways to serve their customers better. Shirley further defines this win-win situation: “I think attendees use this tradeshow opportunity to comparison shop.” While she sees “building brand awareness” as a definite plus for businesses such as Select Sires, for clients it is an excellent opportunity to have your voice heard and questions answered.
  3. TradeShow4Be on the offence, not the defence.
    When entering the show ring side of World Dairy Expo, it is always a better strategy to show off the best of your animal, rather than trying to hide the faults.  Non-dairy cattle show observers might think that simply leading an animal around the dairy ring is relatively easy.  Of course, they’re wrong.  Dairy competitors have used every piece of cattle presentation art and science to present their animal so that she represents the best for her age in the breed. Throughout the Trade Show, exhibitors have prepared demonstrations, displays, videos, and trained personnel to present themselves at their best. Shirley Kaltenbach confirms that this is the case for Select Sires. “Exhibiting at Expo allows us to demonstrate why our product and services are superior.” As a customer of these products and services, you not only get to judge their work and have them prove to you why you should go home with their new idea, better solution or even leading edge piece of dairy equipment.  If you feel something is missing from your products or services, make sure that someone at World Dairy Expo is interested enough and committed enough to provide the answer.
  4. Go Home with the Loot
    In the dairy ring, you can’t be guaranteed to win.  But an organized Trade Show strategy could guarantee that you won’t go home empty handed or weighted down with the usual trade show giveaway bags, bells and whistles.  While these tchotchkes may be fun for the kids back home, it’s your job as a trade show attendee to get real value.  Connie Eibergen and the team at Agri-Nutrition Consulting LLC have come up with a great way to inspire meaningful dialogue between their clients and their consultants. She encourages everyone to get involved. “To participate in our “Go Beyond Nutrition” initiative, stop by ANC’s booth (Booth #4403) and tell us how you “go beyond for dairy” in our photo booth.  Each participant will receive a free “I go beyond for dairy” shirt and will be entered to win a $100 ANC gift certificate” ANC will literally focus a camera on farmers who share how they focus on dairying. Together the goal is to “go beyond.” Everybody ends up grinning and winning. It’s that personal contact that Shirley Kaltenbach values. “Expo puts our company and our products face-to-face with customers and prospects” She sees it as a double win for Select Sires. “Expo allows us to present our products and services to a wide audience in a short period of time.”
  5. Presentations7Be Part of a Positive Image for Dairying
    There are too many times these days when the image of agriculture takes a negative hit in the media.  World Dairy Expo is an opportunity to showcase all that is best about the people, animals and industry that means so much to all of us. With so many thousands of people on the show grounds, a positive message can be shared exponentially. Not all issues can be solved in so public a venue, but many exhibitors take WDE Trade Show as a showcase for the care, concern and commitment that farmers bring to their chosen work. Connie Eibergen touches on the bigger picture that Agri-Nutrition has in mind. “We hope this campaign brings awareness to the general public and those that may not be as familiar with today’s farming practices about the many ways farmers care for their animals every day while providing safe and nutritious food for the world.”
  6. Learn from the Best …
    There is always room for improvement in the modern dairy business which is constantly evolving and presenting challenges. World Dairy Expo is a dynamic classroom ready to customize to your needs.  Consultants, marketing contacts and dairy experts can be found manning trade show booths.  This is an outstanding opportunity for attendees to learn directly from individuals you likely would not otherwise meet. Shirley is enthusiastic. “Expo is the perfect place to gather industry information just by walking the show floor.” She feels there is something for everyone. “Expo is a great place to introduce new employees to the industry. It gives them a baseline understanding of the industry and our competitors and allows us to introduce them to key individuals in the industry.” Connie Eibergen sums it up from the exhibitor perspective. “The opportunity to meet and speak with so many different dairy farmers is one that any dairy company just can’t pass up.” It is an opportunity to build valued networks. Shirley Kaltenbach feels that investing in a World Dairy Expo presence “demonstrates to customers that we are committed to a long term business relationship.”
  7. TradeShow68Don’t Follow the Herd
    With so much to see and do, it can be challenging to keep your focus. That’s another reason why advance planning, regarding what you want to get out of World Dairy Expo, is necessary.  In the same way that show ring exhibitors accept that a year of planning and hard work comes down to a few minutes in front of the judge, you want to be sure that you go home with what you came for.  World Dairy Expo planners have put a lot of thought into speakers and presentations.  Companies showcase their businesses and provide farm tour opportunities. While you can’t do everything, you can choose a variety of events that will meet your goals.  Pick what is of interest to you and stay energized and engaged throughout World Dairy Expo. The person next to you may have solved the same issues you’re struggling with. Getting the most out of WDE and not returning home exhausted is all about timing. It takes planning to do it well. What choices should you make? Should you cut off a great conversation at on the trade show floor to attend a dairy session?  Should you take in a sponsored breakfast meeting or listen to a keynote speaker?  The greatest benefits of World Dairy Expo can be both planned and spontaneous. Be open to the possibilities. Don’t feel pressured.  Of course, World Dairy Expo organizers hope that you enjoy the full agenda. However, you must ultimately make sure that your needs are met first.
  8. Take What You’ve Learned Back to the Barn
    For years I faithfully took copious notes and collected brochures and handouts and I still enjoy capturing excellent interviews, observations and quotes for the Bullvine. However after several years where I never even re-read my notations, I now try to boil everything down to an action agenda.   I look for and star (*) those items that can be acted upon. That could include people to follow up with or ideas for improving something at the farm or in the office or at the Bullvine.  Every starred item goes into my “Control Journal” … go ahead laugh, my whole family does (but not where I can hear them!)… With the advantage of a long drive home, these items find their way into follow up scheduling. Before we make that final turn into the farm lane, I can rest assured that it’s been a value-added time “away.”
  9. 2013 World Dairy Expo Supreme ChampionBecome an Expo “Designer Dairy” Winner
    You have probably attended many conventions, annual meetings, conferences and trade shows — big and small – exciting and boring, entertaining and academic.  Not all of them provide content as varied as that of World Dairy Expo or networking opportunities as rich.  For Connie Eibergen and Shirley Kaltenbach “World Dairy Expo is the one dairy event of the year that you just can’t miss.” Hopefully, these nine ideas will inspire you to custom design your 2014 Dairy Expo “Designer Dairy” experience into a big win for you and your dairy operation.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

At the end of any good day, it’s always rewarding when the sum adds up to something greater than the parts. Going over to the “other” side of World Dairy Expo may be the decision that achieves that for you.  We hope to see you in the winners’ circle at World Dairy Expo.




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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 CapSanté 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!”

Bonnaccueil Maya Goldwyn EX-95-2E
Supreme Champion of World Dairy Expo

“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!

Jacobs Goldwyn Valana

Jacobs Goldwyn Valana

“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!


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CASSY KRULL – Success without a Stopwatch.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

2013ectHave you ever suddenly realized that your name is being called over a public address system?  Isn’t that the most amazing heart pounding…adrenalin rushing experience? Well, that is exactly what happened to Cassy Krull of Lake Mills Wisconsin at World Dairy Expo when she heard these words.


“The 2013 winner of the Merle Howard Award is Cassy Krull”

Like others in the large crowd, Cassy was trying to figure out whose biography was being read as the 10th winner of the Merle Howard Award. (Read more: Wisconsin’s Cassy Krull Wins 2013 Merle Howard Award)  “I had NO idea I was going to receive this award. My boyfriend Bradley and I went to sit in the top part of the coliseum to be able to view the show ring. Not knowing why he wanted to sit in the lower sections, I insisted on sitting higher. He had gotten a phone call the night before to make sure I would be there for the Four-Year Old class at the International Holstein Show. As they began reading the background, my eyes welled up with tears after realizing it was me that they had selected. I ran down the stairs of the coliseum crying and trying to breathe and get there before they finished the biography. I remember looking into the crowd and hearing the applause and getting goose bumps all over. It was the most amazing feeling ever!”


“I still cannot even believe I was chosen”

Everyone asks Cassy what it feels like and she answers with endearing honesty. ”Winning the Merle Howard Award is by far the most humbling achievement I have received. To receive such an honorable award helps put all the hard work into perspective. I like to watch the presentation every year to see who they recognize. Little did I know I would ever be able to stand next to the other amazing recipients of the Merle Howard Award. I am truly honored and blessed to have been selected for this milestone achievement in my life.”

Special Thanks. Appreciation to Cassy’s Crew.

Cassy feels quite strongly that she has been blessed by the encouragement she is surrounded by.  “I would like to thank my family first for all the support they have given me, and constructive criticism to help push me further.” Breed associations have earned her thanks as well. “The Wisconsin Holstein Association, American Jersey Cattle Association and the Red and White Dairy Cattle Association are important to me for giving me all the opportunities I have had in my time of being a junior member.” There is another group who also rates special Cassy consideration.  “I want to thank my boyfriend Bradley Griswold and his family for supporting me and being there for me through many of my life changing events.” Cassy generously recognizes the importance of others in her life.  “A big thank you to all my friends, supporters, believers, and the people who have told me I couldn’t.  They all helped me push through and succeed. I am truly thankful for everyone who has been there for me and gotten me to where I am today. THANK YOU!”

The Krull Family Circle of Influence

More than most of us realize we are influenced by those around us.  For Cassy Krull those positive experiences in her life started right at home.  “My parents have been the ones who I have looked up to my whole life. My dad, being active in the state and national Holstein Associations, showed me that being involved and good leadership is something that helps you build your time management skills, public speaking, responsibility, and leadership.  Also he showed me how to work hard, as he had an amazing work ethic. We would work hard to make sure we got everything done and would end our days racing back to the house, playing basketball or softball, racing four wheelers, or throwing someone in the pool. My dad showed me the way with a lot of things in life but my mom has been along side helping me as well.”  Cassy explains what her Mom means to her.  “She was the one helping me be on time to events, getting me more involved in 4-H and FFA, and teaching me to never give up on what I want. She has stood by me with my decisions and pushed me to be successful.”

Many Awards. Full Calendar.

cassy krull - jersey queenWe sometimes ask ourselves what is most special about receiving an award.  Is it the award itself… or the recognition for the hard work that earned it? Cassy is no stranger to receiving awards and declares, “This award is definitely a highlight of my career!” for recognizing her abilities in fitting and showing.  Her dairy passion has also led her to success as the 2011-2012 National Jersey Queen, as well as a being a member of the Wisconsin Junior Activities Committee, and being the Junior Chair for the National Red and White Convention in 2014. For Cassy the process is part of what makes the accomplishments so special.  “The National Jersey Queen title was one of my biggest life goals. I ran for the National Jersey Queen title the year before I received it and was not selected, but I wanted it and hoped I could get it if I tried again. I was determined that I was going to represent the breed I fell in love with at age two. The American Jersey Cattle Association has given me numerous opportunities that I have been fortunate to take advantage of.”

Working hard Works for Cassy!

It seems that when “working” is involved in the goal then it’s almost guaranteed that Cassy will be enthusiastic.  She was part of the Wisconsin Holstein Association Junior Activities Committee and explains what it meant to her. “I love working with young people and this title allows me to do just that. I am responsible for the Southeast region of the state, where I travel to shows and other events bringing all Wisconsin Holstein Juniors together.”  Cassy doesn’t set limits on age or organization and gives her best wherever she gets the opportunity.  “I am proud of being the Junior Chair of the National Red and White Cattle Convention in 2014. I am excited to work with the board members and create an amazing convention right in Wisconsin. I enjoyed my time working with the Red and White Association this last summer as the intern and continue to move forward with helping with the convention this coming summer.”

Cassy’s Keys to Success – Do not stop.  Push on.  Keep Trying.

Although her calendar is full, there is no end date determining when Cassy Krull must reach all her goals.  She advises others. “Stay true to what you believe in. If you have a goal in life, go for it and do not stop until you achieve the goal. Push yourself to be what you want to be. Think of my example in wanting to be National Jersey Queen, I did not get it the first time I tried, but I did not give up and I tried again. I have always been told, “If you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life.” To me that is not far from the truth. I love working with good cattle and good people so it is easy to go and do it.”  For the near future, Cassy hopes to find an internship for the summer of 2014.  “I would like to gain more life skills by working away from the farm. Understanding different aspects of agriculture can only provide benefits to my knowledge when farming in the future.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Hard work earned Cassy Krull the opportunity to win the Merle Howard Award.  Hearing her name announced was a thrill but long before her name was inscribed on the trophy, she put her own name on the work lists for dairy fitting, showing and passion. The Bullvine and all your friends urge you to keep going and growing and one day you will be the only one surprised – again — to learn that you have arrived at that special dairy place where  “Everybody knows your name” … Cassy Krull!”  Congratulations!


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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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Richard Caverly (award)No one is ever truly prepared for massive peer recognition such as that experienced by Richard Caverly when his name was announced at the 2013 recipient of the Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award at The 47th World Dairy Expo. (Read more: Maine Native Wins Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award)  It was obvious that Richard was deeply moved. “This honor to me is so humbling.  The generation I competed with is an amazing group!  There is no way to compare yourself to the likes of Mark Reuth, Joel Kietzman, Ken McEvoy, Paul Petriffer, Scott Hussey, Barrie Potter and the list goes on!  (Read more: Charlie McEvoy: As Good as Gold)  This is a generation who competed with dedication and passion!  They were not at the show to try to sell you their cow, they were there to win, and every cow was special to them!  This generation learned from the generation before them and learned early how to do it all.  They are specialists, only they specialized in every aspect of the show.  The wheelbarrow is as familiar to them as a pair of clippers.” Richard sums up his admiration with this unforgettable phrase.


“They would make a hummingbird look like it had no work ethic!”

Now that’s a picture to keep in your mind’s eye from now on, whenever you think of those men and women who have the perfect touch when it comes to working with cattle.  The ability to lift each animal they are focused on to a whole new level.  As Richard Caverly heard the applause which signified that he had earned a special place among dairy industry peers, we wonder which came first for him– the passion? Or the perfection?  Richard himself would humbly divert the attention and tell you that he owes most to the people themselves– his wife, family, friends, dairy co-workers and mentors.

Caverly’s Love Cows and Produce Champions

Richard’s passion lifelong passion for cows began young and began at home. “My start with cattle came at an early age, as my father “E.C.”, along with his two brothers Frank and “Pudge”, were owners of Caverly Farms in Clinton, Maine.  They started their Ayrshire herd as a 4-H project that was their own responsibility, as their father was the head of the highway commission and constantly “On the road”!  They received help from my great Uncle Edgar – my wife Beverly’s Deer Hill herd resides on his farm today.  The brothers bred and developed many All-American and All Canadian cattle, including the a Royal Junior Champion in the ‘60’s and 1978 Madison Grand Champion and Reserve Junior Champions.  The farm is unique in that along with these dairy champions my cousins have had National Champion with their Beef Shorthorn cattle as well.” Richard appreciates these strong family ties. “I am blessed with amazing family support, all the way from my Uncle Frank to my youngest sister, Leah.” He then zeroes in on the one who means so much to him.

“Of everyone in my life, my wife Beverly Donovan is my biggest hero.”

It isn’t surprising that Richard and Beverly share a common vision for what they believe in. He proudly identifies the strengths of his soul mate.  “Her passion for success and her dedication to making sure her animals get their due is unmatched!  Commitment should be her middle name as she truly puts the Ladies of Deer Hill at the top of her life.  She is thankful for those who have helped her, and she is free with her help to others.”

Picking a Winner – “It Starts with Seeing the Potential”

When someone becomes exceptional at what they do, we want to credit it to some extra special gene that propels their performance. Laying no claim to special powers Richard feels success is simply a process. “For me, I enjoy watching an animal reach her potential. You need to identify what you can do to help her reach it. Then it is very special to watch a cow rise above and get to the level that you envisioned.  There is an extreme amount of trust given to any individual blessed with the care of an animal.  Most important is the trust of the animal. It takes a lot of dedication to properly care for and handle them.  I have many tired friends who share the passion; their dedication wakes them up on cold damp mornings and it is their commitment that makes them stand out in such a demanding industry!”

Richard’s Role Models “They believe vacation is a place where they can take their animals!”

Richard has learned from those he admires. “My Uncle Frank at 72 is still the hardest worker I have ever known along with the biggest supporter of my endeavors!  Craig Hawksley the breeder of Sweet Pepper Black Francesca is a man I idolized as a kid.  Craig is perhaps one of the most under-the-radar people I know as his passion for breeding is unmatched!”

Richard’s Dairy Tale “Follow the Bread Crumbs

The stories of those who have led Richard on his journey are many and important to him.  “Steve Briggs and his family developed a friendship with my family before my time. Then they trusted me when I was young, helping me every step along the way.  Steve has the “Hansel and Gretel” approach as he feeds you one bread crumb of knowledge at a time yet allows you to learn so much through patience and dedication. “Richard has been accompanied by fine dairy teachers and teammates too. “Ernest Kueffner and Terri Packard are the most attention-to-detail, micro-managing team that I know!  Rick Allyn – I remember when we were kids and he put up a topline on an Ayrshire yearling heifer I held for him. That was a thousand heifers ago for him! Ralph Gushee went to shows with my Uncle Pudge throughout North America and luckily he took me on many trips with him throughout life!  Jim Strout is a very dear friend who along with son Jamie and friend Wayne Schofield have taken countless hours and invested them on the road and at home with the Deer Hill ladies as well.”

When Talking Cows, Every Word from Nabholz Counts!”

Perhaps the secret to Richard’s success not only has to do with how hard he works at his craft but at how hard he listens and learns from those around him.  He appreciates even the smallest daily input. “Bill Taylor is always good for an early morning text to check on me while he is mixing feed.” and values words from his heroes.  “Norman Nabholz, with his wisdom and intellect, five words can inspire!” (Read more: HALTER, PEN and GAVEL. That’s Just the Norm) Steve White and Mike Duckett took time from their own endeavors to help with Francesca.  David Wallace, who shared a friendship with my family, allowed me into his own family and always encouraged me.”  Some of Richard’s mentors were the silent type. “Gary Bowers is perhaps the quietest achiever in the industry.” No matter how they have shared their expertise with Richard, he is convinced that they also share a special skill. “All of these people get 26 hours out of a 24 hour day and take advantage of all 8760 hours a year gives you! “ Above and beyond that they have inspired Richard to the realization that “The friends you make along the way truly are always priceless!”

The Caverly Cavalcade of Firsts!

With justifiable pride this Maine native looks back on dairy cattle that he has sent to bask in national and international spotlights. “Glenamore Gold Prize makes me smile even today. So many times I was seen as “The guy who clips Prize”.  She had about as much hair as an eel, yet her success made people think I had magic clipper blades!” And the list goes on. “Oak Ridge Bruis Helga she was the first cow to have an Allen Hetts Memorial Trophy come to Maine.  Moy-Ayr Bell Beladina at 97.1 is North America’s highest classified cow ever.  This massive cow spent countless hours being paraded around by my cousin Vanessa who barely came to her knees.” His hard work earned him some fantastic memories. “Nadine’s first championship while still owned by Potwell is something I shall never forget. She made Peter Stern proud being named Supreme in Ohio and later I would work with her again with Patrice Simard at World Dairy Expo – that cow made two good friends proud!”

Richard’s Recollections – The Stuff Legends are Made of!  

There have been times when this behind-the-scenes star maker is thankful for that old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words.  One of Richard’s most awesome experiences has been preserved for posterity. “Ashlyn, Tobi, and Delilah were part of the US tandem that took the Royal by storm and Han Hopman took a priceless photo of the three with Legends Dyment, Frasier, and Brown on the straps and Empey making his final decision!” (Read more: Han Hopman: Shooting Straight at Holstein International)  For Richard, that was the shot of shots and goes into Caverly history along with this story of international success that he had a part in making. “I’ll never forget Butch Crack on the strap of Crackholm CV Roview the 2x Brasillian National Champion for the Morro Aguido herd of Claudio Mente.” And the love list goes on. “Veronica and Melanie. One trip to Ontario and two legends are acquired.”

Iconic photo by Han Hopman of Ashlyn, Tobi, and Delilah.  Three cows Richard had the pleasure of working with in his career.

Iconic photo by Han Hopman of Ashlyn, Tobi, and Delilah. Three cows Richard had the pleasure of working with in his career.

Sweet Talk. Bitter Sweet Memories.

Whenever stories are told — and there will be many, many of them — Richards thoughts will always turn to one particular cow . “Of course that is  Sweet Pepper Black Francesca, four consecutive years as National Champion to her name!” Once again it goes beyond the winning. “Most important of all Francesca made the dreams of so many people I love come true.  Francesca and Beverly showed the world that no matter who you are, or where you come from, with passion and dedication you too can achieve your dreams!”  (Read more: The Magic of Francesca)

“The Passion Too Strong to Resist!”

The 23rd Duncan Mackenzie Award winner is philosophical about the future. “Countless things change in life.   New opportunities arise.   Great things from the past remain just that, in the past.  Each generation finds its own way eventually, as it is the job of the preceding generation to help with the progress of the next.” And helping with the next generation is where Richard is focusing his talents next. “The decision has been made to work with George and Michael Liberty developing the Juniper Elite Holsteins, while continuing with wife Beverly and her Deer Hill Ayrshires as well.  George is an enthusiastic young man at the age of 19 with a dream and passion for the Holstein industry driven to take his father’s love for Juniper Farm to high levels.  It means leaving a job working with a wonderful family the Flood’s who I shall miss, yet the opportunity to work with great genetics both Ayrshire and Holstein is a passion too strong to resist.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The dairy industry moves forward with those like Richard Caverly who can inspire each of us with his passion, perfection, persistence and hard work. To Richard we say, “Well done!” and thanks for sharing the spotlight with all those you care about. They are a special part of your story. We at the Bullvine and your friends, family and hummingbirds salute you as you take a well-deserved place beside the exceptional examples of dairy industry character, sportsmanship, ability and endeavor exemplified by the Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award. Congratulations Richard Caverly!

All the best for all your days!!!”

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2013ectMarriage is an age-old sacred union between two people.  We are all familiar with the romantic progression from “First comes love then comes marriage.”  For Bryn Quick and Mark Hornbostel, World Dairy Expo 2013 rewrote that romantic timestamp to “First comes cows then comes vows!”


“Aisle” Be Seeing You at Expo 2010

Bryn was at World Dairy Expo exhibiting for the first time with her sister and two friends.  Mark was there, also for the first time, helping a breeder friend haul tack and show his Guernsey’s for the week.  They set the scene for us.  “We were tied up in the center aisle of Barn 1” and “Being the social event that Expo is, we began talking and hanging out and doing night line together.”  Neither one of them had anticipated romance at Dairy Expo.  Bryn says, “I never once thought that I would meet someone at Expo.  I went there to show and socialize with friends and that was all that I really intended to do.  So I surprised myself when I found a guy whom I bonded with instantly.  It’s funny when I think about it now because my friend, Stephanie Lemay, kept asking me that whole week if I had a crush on Mark and if I would date him.  I thought that she was being ridiculous.  There was no way that I would jump into dating a guy I had just met that week and would probably never see again—after all, he lived seven hours away in another state.”  Mark reports that they spent a few months connecting through Facebook and phone calls and then their relationship changed somewhat.  “Just before Christmas I received a card from Mark and that was when I knew there was something different about this guy.”


Right girl.  Right time.  Right place.

A marriage proposal is a big step in everyone’s life and for Mark it was both exciting and stressful.  “I guess you could say I have been thinking about it for quite some time.  I knew that if I was ever going to ask her it would have to be at Expo, there was just no other place that seemed so perfect for us.  But I guess you could say that I really committed to it late this summer when I went and bought the ring and really started planning exactly how I was going to do it and how I wanted it to all play out.”  He provides details.  “I have to give credit to Bryn’s twin sister Allison. She was the only one that knew how it was all going to play out.  She did an amazing job at keeping it a secret and doing what I needed her to do to make it all happen.“

Parental Blessing

From the outset, Mark wanted to make sure that his plans for getting hitched would go off without a hitch.  I asked Bryn’s father for his blessing.  Given the fact that we are seven hours apart that is by far a conversation to have face to face.  I was forced to do it just a few days prior to proposing.  I have to thank her sister Allison for keeping Bryn distracted at school while I was out with her father having dinner and asking for his blessing.”


Expo “Knee Mail” From Her One True Love

Mark describes how his plan went into action.  “When I had asked Bryn to show one of my cows that morning she had no idea that while she was in the ring I was getting her ring and getting everyone in to the position that they needed to be to make it all happen. “  He continues speaking from his successful experience.  “As you can imagine her reaction was like most women when they see the man they love get down on one knee.  She was surprised and her hands went instantly to her mouth and she was crying before I could even open the ring box.  And between the crying/laughing she couldn’t even say the word yes after I asked, all she could do was shake her head yes.”  Bryn confirms that it was very exciting.  “I think that the video my friend captured of the moment really answers this question well.  I was ready to get back to the barn after the show but instead we made an unexpected pit stop to a grassy area where Mark told me that he had a question to ask.  I was so beyond confused at that point…that is until he knelt down on one knee.  We had talked about engagement in the past and he hinted on a time period that it may occur and I always figured that Expo would be the perfect place for it but I never thought too in depth about when and I sure wasn’t imagining it this year.”


1383511_10202053974292412_1813451385_n[1]Expo 2013 Becomes the Centre of the Dairy-Marry-Me Universe

Mark always knew where this special moment would take place.  “Like I said earlier, in my mind there couldn’t be a better place than Expo to propose to her.  It was where we met and ultimately where everything all started.  It was a place that we shared a love of something and a place that meant a lot to both of us.  We have always said “Thank God for Expo” because if it wasn’t for Expo I don’t know that I would have met the love of my life!”

First You Propose.  Then Everyone Knows!

When you propose in public at a dairy show billed as the “Centre of the Dairy Universe,” in front of people that you might think care more about cows than romance, you might be as surprised as Mark and Bryn were at the results.  “Not for a second did I think that our special moment would go viral.  I thought it was normal for couples to have their engagement documented by friends and family but today’s social media takes that to a whole new level.  I barely had a chance to call family before it was all over Facebook!  It spread like wildfire and I can’t help but laugh every time I hear that Mark and I are on another page or someone else has shared it.  It’s unbelievable.  We have done nothing to deserve such attention but, believe me; we appreciate every bit of it.”  Mark sums it up for both of them, “It is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me in my life and it is exciting to see that so many people are so excited for us.”

ringShe said, “Yes!”

In books, movies and advice from already married friends they always say something that proved true for Mark.  “They say that you just know when you meet the person that you are meant to spend your life with and honestly I didn’t believe that until I met Bryn.  She is smart, funny, beautiful, caring and loving and everything I had ever imagined in a woman.  I guess the biggest things that I fell in love with the most was that she had the same dreams I have and she loves this life style and everything that comes with it.  And the major thing that I think I fell in love with the most is her understanding of this life style, you know in the job things don’t always work out the way we plan them, things go wrong and you don’t always make it to the things you want and you may not make it there on time and with us being so far apart it gets tough sometimes for us to see each other and yet through all of that she has been so understanding of it all and I can never express to her just how much that all means to me.  So I guess you could say there are a lot of things that were just right with her and there just wasn’t a doubt in my mind that she was the one for me.”

He is “The One!”

Bryn too knew that Mark was very special.  “He has Brown Swiss!  How could a girl not be attracted to that?  But seriously, we share the same love for cows and the dairy industry and the same urge to make a difference in this field.  His integrity is absolutely amazing.  He is a true sweetheart and is so beyond thoughtful (thus the perfect proposal).  I never considered a long distance relationship but he made me change my mind completely.  I connected better with him than the “city-boys” at home.  He was worth getting to know.  I thank God for Expo every day.”


We have heard much about the passion and engagement that is necessary to build success in the dairy business today.  Bryn and Mark have taken “engagement” to a whole new level.  Congratulations to this lovely couple. Stay tuned to see if they go from tied up across the Dairy Expo aisle to tying the knot at World Dairy Expo!  All you need is love!

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The Udder Side of World Dairy Expo

Monday, October 14th, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed sitting at ringside at 2013 World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin and applauded the Judges as they expertly placed the lineups. As 2500 dairy cattle were being placed it became obvious that the difference between the winners and the also rans often has a lot to do with the udders. At every dairy show, the Judges’ comments waxed eloquent about “mammary systems”.  Spectators too were impressed. More than once I overheard, “I would be delighted to take the bottom three in that class home to my milking string!”

For an Ontario girl travelling with the Bullvine team, the challenge wasn’t whether I could place the classes or accurately rhyme off the pedigrees of the cattle in the ring. No. For me the challenge is to come back to the table with a bigger, better, brighter story than my two geneticist and perfectionist cow men. As I watched those milking classes and thought of the practical side of dairy operations, I was inspired to take the opportunity to take a closer look at the more than 400 commercial exhibits that bring their displays, videos, brochures and energetic sales teams to World Dairy Expo.

Imagine my delight when I discovered well-informed enthusiasts who shared their passion for the dairy business from a slightly different perspective than the show ring.  It didn’t take too long for me to confirm a simple truth that I already knew. While all of us cannot achieve the udders that place 1 to 20 at World Dairy Expo, every dairy operation succeeds or fails on the quality and quantity of the milk produced every day and thus, by extension, the health and quality of the udder itself.  Thus I set out to find out what is new relating to udders and what specifically can I learn that I can share with others who seeking improvement.

Cross-Over Technology

Two companies that stand out looking back on my WDE experience, are Qscout (Advanced Animal Diagnostics) and Vi-Cor.  Both use the non-agricultural expertise, to provide solutions for dairy related issues.  Too often we as an industry can be blamed for trying to reinvent the wheel.  With so many similarities to human health, reproduction and even environmental issues, years are wasted when dairy solutions could leap forward on a parallel path.

Catch the Symptoms Before Mastitis Catches You

Dairy operations have many recurring issues to deal with, but one for the most frustrating and costly is mastitis. By the time it’s obvious, you are already losing money and days of delayed milk shipment due to the time required by commonly used current tests.  Although there are effective treatments on the market, it is exciting to consider faster less costly options.

In April 2013 Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), a developer of rapid on farm diagnostics closed a $6 million dollar venture capital financing from Intersouth Partners, Novartis Venture Funds and private investors to launch Qscout™ MLD. Looking slightly larger than a car battery, the Qscout™ MLD is an easily portable unit which is used for more accurate detection of subclinical mastitis in individual quarters. With very simple, ergonomically designed operation the Qscout was a crossover envisioned from human health diagnostics by 2001 AAD founder Rudy Rodriguez

Each test on the market or in development at AAD will be processed by the Qscout™ automated reader, so producers will be able to run multiple tests on the same instrument.

The first test marketed by AAD is the Qscout™ MLD. The benefits of minimizing subclinical mastitis in the fresh cow have long been documented through increased milk yield and quality and improved reproduction.  A recent study showed detecting subclinical mastitis with the Qscout MLD and treating only infected cows at dry-off also has benefits.  Antibiotic use was cut by 47% without an increase in infection rates 10 days after calving when compared to more costly traditional blanket antibiotic treatment.  According to AAD, funds will also be used to study use of the Qscout MLD test at other times during lactation.

Gary Winter shares his enthusiasm for Qscout. “ It is new breed of technology that sees infection long before symptoms occur. It’s a brand new way to detect mastitis.  More accurate than CMT and SCC, and providing more rapid results than culture.” He backed up the claims with financial figures. “Mastitis costs the U.S. dairy industry $2 billion annually – that’s $200 per cow.  With reliable early detection made possible by QScout MLD, you can reduce that cost and generate an extra $50 per cow.” Most convincing for me was that all four quarters are individually tested and not the more common averaging which could let a cow slip below the early detection radar. An average is not nearly as useful as 4 specific tests, which is what you get with a differential cell count by quarter. Secondly, the testing takes just 3 minutes (on average) per cow. At approximately, $15,000 this technology is not cheap unless or until you accurately add up current costs incurred by Mastitis across staff time, withheld milk, medication costs and, most importantly, the effect on the healthy growth, development and reproduction of the milking herd.

Water, Water Everywhere… it’s more than just a drink

Water touches the dairy operation in countless ways from the obvious use for drinking to countless cleaning applications, not only for the cows, but for the facility, equipment and mixing into feed and medication. In fact, any applications that water have for human health, apply also to bovine health.  We are all recognize how crucial a safe water supply is to our town water systems. Bou-Matic is currently working on dairy farm applications that derive from that well-established, well-tested, statistically effective supply of water. In speaking with Tony Spaeth he outlined how test farms in the north east, north west, Florida and New Mexico are gathering results. “Phase one will focus on water supply, parlor hoses and pre-dip.  The next phases will look at hoof issues and post dip treatments.” There are four sizes of this system, ranging from $20,000 to $85,000.  Once again, the value comes from working out the savings earned from vastly improved SCC counts, healthier teat ends, and improved skin condition and the corresponding savings in reduced medication, improved health and the bottom line effect of improved herd health.

Mastitis … How Are Your Cows Behaving?

Once early detection of mastitis becomes a priority in your dairy management program, you will be attracted to leading edge technologies such as those developed by AfiMilk. With data and trials and satisfied customers backing up their claims, their tool is another that has great potential. Attachment times, flow rates, milking curves and milking times are gathered by AfiFlo and processed by AfiMilk herd management software in the computer. This data is extremely helpful in analyzing herd health and parlor efficiency. AfiFlo, combined with the AfiMilk system can detect mastitis at a very early stage. This factor alone makes AfiFlo extremely economical.

Of particular interest, is the foot monitor that by monitoring activity, including resting periods, is proving to be a valuable tool in monitoring herd health.

Udder Health — From the Inside Out

Once the subject of udder health comes into focus, you have to start looking for ways to learn more.  I had a brief but intriguing conversation with Mario Flores of ViCOR.  He described the Udder Dissection seminars that they have been conducting.  Too often he feels that we treat the udder from an outside-in, end of the teat method. He explained the physiology of the udder and that by dissecting the udder everyone gets a practical understanding of what a healthy udder looks like and the best practices for maintaining udder health.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Standing at the bottom of the line in the show ring at World Dairy Expo still sets you in the top percentile of show winning dairy breeders.

Placing at the bottom of the line in the milking line means you are less than exceptional. It also means that your profitability and sustainability is negatively affected.

Udder health must be the #1 priority. New technology is responding with innovative solutions to these issues. What are you doing to be udderly exceptional?

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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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Last year we took a lot of heat for putting a list of mostly Genomic test sires out as the bulls that would sire the next World Dairy Expo Champion (Read more: 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion).  The funny thing was that, as this past year unfolded, you started seeing more and more of the sires from our list – Atwood, Bradnick, and Brokaw heifers – were winning shows at the county and championship level.  Therefore, this year we thought we would take another look at just what sires, proven or genomic, stand the best chance of siring the next show winner.


Atwood x Bolton x Shottle
Making the list for the 2nd year in a row is Dude.  Not to be confused with the Facebook sensation (He is One Ugly Dude).  Dude’s numbers are just too high to refuse.  Even if, or should I say “when”, his numbers drop, they are just too high to ignore.  This Atwood son from SONNEK BLT DOUBLE DIPPED VG-85-2YR-CAN has unbelievable genomic values for all major conformation traits, well above his expected parent averages.  Expect Dude to sire breed leading mammary system improvement and loads of dairy strength, though he will need to be protected on high pins.


Atwood x Shottle x Morty x Bellwood
Dropping  from his #2 ranking last year to #6 this year is Airlift.  Like we said last year, while the female side of this cow family may not have won any major shows, they do have generation after generation of outstanding strength, frames and feet and legs, tracing back to the same bloodlines as the great CANYON-BREEZE ALLEN.  Combine that with Atwood’s udders and you have the potential for greatness.  Expect Airlift to sire extreme feet and leg improvement as well as rumps.  For the line breeding fans out there, Airlift would make a great cross with your Goldwyns.  He brings the needed rump and dairy strength improvement many Goldwyn’s need.  However, much like Allen, you may not want to use him on cattle that are extremely straight legged.  Airlift also makes a great option for those looking to sire show-winning calves as Airlift is almost over 4 points on all major type traits outside of mammary system.


Meridian x Man-O-Man x Goldwyn
New to the list, Avalanche is a kind of a sneaky sire.  His sire Meridian and maternal grand sire Man-O-Man, don’t say show type.  However, go one generation back from that and you have the Goldwyn sister to Atwood and Aftershock, Allyndale-I Goldwyn Albany-ET VG-87-2YR-CAN 1* from the great D-Delight Durham Atlee-ET EX-92 GMD DOM.  While some might be skeptical of the Meridian part in the equation, Avalanche has a DGV of +17 for conformation and excels in udders and dairy strength.  Combine that with the great feet and legs of Man-O-Man and back it up with a Goldwyn x Atlee cross and you start to see why this sire is worth your consideration.


Goldwyn x Durham x Storm
A newcomer to our list, but a sire that should get a lot of attention, is Golden Dreams.  The reason for that is he is the full brother to Atwood.  However, he actually has higher genomic tests for all the major conformation traits than Atwood, especially in rumps, an area that if I was going to fault Atwood is an area that I would protect him on, though Golden Dreams daughters may not be as deep.  The daughter pictures I have seen have them looking pretty similar to Atwood, so if you cannot get any Atwood semen, or want to protect your mating on rumps a little more, Golden Dreams may be the option for you.


Atwood x Mac x Durham x Juror
Another returnee from last year’s list is Brokaw. The early Brokaw calves are pretty impressive.  Now he has dropped from his #1 rank from last year.  But what do you expect?  New genetics are coming out every day.  It’s only natural for a bull to drop in rank after a whole year has passed.  In Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal  side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam  MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to be extremely tall and have the necessary frame, dairyness and bolted on udders to get the job done.  While his rumps may not be ideal for classification, expect them to be bang on when it comes to the show ring, demonstrating the necessary width and boxcar rumps that judges love so much.


AltaKool x Atwood x Shottle
The number one genomic type sire in the world comes in at number two on our list (CDN DGV Conformation).  As we all know there can be a big difference between a high conformation score and a sire that can sire show winners.  While Alta5G does have a high stature rating, it is his lack of body depth that has him not at the top of our list.  He will give you outstanding udders with great feet and legs.  That makes him the ideal mating for that big deep old brood cow you have that needs to be cleaned up in the legs and snugged up in the udders.  You also will need to protect him on his rump angle as he is high even for the show ring.  Like Dude, Alta5G’s numbers are just too high to not take a look at, even if it’s for limited use.


Goldwyn x Durham x Storm
Over the past year I have had the opportunity to go to many shows and see daughters from many different sires.  While Goldwyn’s still dominate in the older cow classes, if I had to choose a sire that would get the job done, outside of Goldwyn, it would be Atwood.  First you have the magic Goldwyn on Durham cross, then you add in his dam who is the exceptional MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*.  Atlee also has extreme conformation herself, winning Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005, and going on to be named unanimous ALL-AMERICAN SR.3-YR that year.  She comes by it naturally with her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  Combine that with the greatest type sire of the past half-decade, Goldwyn, and you have yourself an unbeatable show-winning package.  Atwood offers the great mammary systems his pedigree would indicate but needs to be protected for flat loins and high pins, much like his sire.  While he may not pass his sire in accomplishments, there is no question that Atwood is establishing himself as the heir apparent.

Again a Note on Goldwyn

Yes, I acknowledge that Goldwyn has been the most dominant show ring sire of the past decade.  Moreover, he has done so like no other ever before him.  But there comes a point where you have to use something on your Goldwyn’s.  That means you can either line-breed as some of the greats have done in the past and use sires like Atwood and his sons, or you can corrective mate and go with sires like Alta5G or Avalanche.

The Bottom Line

As we will see next week, everyone loves to win and, as we have already seen with our viral Fantasy Exhibitor© competition, everyone dreams of being on top at World Dairy Expo.  In reality there are only two ways to get there.  Either win the lottery or breed your way there.  Using sires like the seven above will help you achieve the latter.

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All-American Dairy Show: To Go or Not To Go?

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

This week there is a great dairy event going on in Harrisburg Pennsylvania.  It is the 50th All-American Dairy Show and I find myself wondering whether it is worth going or not?

The Cattle

When I am deciding if it is worth going to the show, I first look at what cattle are going to be there.  There have been times I have driven 10 hours just to go to a small show because I knew that show would have some great cattle.  There are other times that I have not gone to a show that was under an hour’s drive away.

all-american Supreme 2012

Supreme Champion entries during the 2012 All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, pictured from left to right: Brown Swiss entry Dublin-Hills Treats exhibited by Kyle Barton, Copake Falls, N.Y.; Red & White entry MS Glad Ray Morefun -Red exhibited by Jarrod Duepengiesser of Nunda, N.Y.; Milking Shorthorn entry Mi-Sans Acres O Lust-ET exhibited by Mark Riley of Williamsfield, Ohio.; owner Gene Iager; Jersey entry Cascadia Iatola Puzzle exhibited by Emily Thornburg, Pleasant Plain, Ohio; Ayrshire entry Sunny Acres Rattler’s Kacie exhibited by Andrew Evans of Georgetown, N.Y.; Guernsey entry Walnut Ridge Russ Noper exhibited by Kaitlin G. Moser of Middletown, Del.; and Holstein entry Savage-Leigh Leona-ET exhibited by Chip Savage of Copake Falls, N.Y. (Photo by All-American Dairy Show)

This week in Harrisburg there will be five breed shows as well as junior shows and showmanship classes.  It will be a great event to get to see many breeders.  But for me it’s not the numbers it’s the quality.  And while the All-American Show carries a title that would have you think that it is fully representative of cattle across the US, unfortunately due to it’s location and timing, less than a month from World Dairy Expo, many breeders have to choose between the two shows, and except for Jersey’s many of the other breed shows are missing the headliners that will go on to be All-American.

In talking with the owners and cattlemen responsible for looking after the headliners for World Dairy Expo, they all admit that they would love to go to the show this week.  It’s a great show that the Pennsylvania department of agriculture does a great job supporting.  However, there comes a point that you just cannot take these great cows to many more shows.  By the time you hit the county, state and spring shows you have already put a fair bit of strain on these animals.  To add another whole show, that for most requires a long ride, may be too much for these cows that still need to look their best less than a month later at World Dairy Expo.  Though if you happen to be judging at World Dairy Expo and have an All-American nomination level animal, this show becomes very important.

2012 All-American grand

The Reserve Grand and Senior Holstein Champion is Witaker Stormatic Rae owned by Craig Walton and Gene Iager, Iager is at the halter. Savage-Leigh Leona-ET was the 2012 Grand Champion and Senior Champion Holstein exhibited by Christopher and Isha Savage, pictured with sons Chase and Connor. Holding the Champion Banner is Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess, Deidra Bollinger. (Photo by All-American Dairy Show)

Having said that, there is one headliner that I know is going to the show, Butz-Butler Gold Barbara EX-92.  Gold Barbara, the unanimous All-American and All-Canadian in 2013, has calved again and is now owned by Kueffner Holsteins, St. Jacobs, Dr. Matt Iager and River Valley Dairy.  (Read more:  Sold- All-Canadian & Unanimous All-American Senior 2 year old from 2012 to Keuffner, St. Jacobs, Dr. Matt Iager and River Valley)  Here is a cow that from reports I have heard since she calved may be worth the trip in her own right.


Butz-Butler Gold Barbara EX-92 (Max)
(Goldwyn x Regancrest Brasilia EX-92 x PR Barbie EX-92 x Brina EX-92)
All-Canadian & Unanimous All-American Senior 2 Year Old 2012
1st Senior 2 Year Old & HM Intermediate Champion Royal Winter Fair 2012
1st Senior 2 Year Old WDE 2012
Reserve Intermediate Champion WDE 2012

The Coverage

In this digital age, it’s amazing the coverage we get on all events.  With many publications desperate for content, the All-American show is a great opportunity to cover all audiences.  With all the major breeders and juniors there, there is certainly a strong readership among seed stock producers who would be interested in the results.

Supreme Champion lineup for the 10th annual Premier National Jr. Events at the 2013 All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg. (L-R): Pennsylvania FFA President Christopher Toevs; Agriculture Secretary George Greig; Red & White Grand Champion and exhibitor Cyrus Conrad of Sharon Springs, N.Y.; Milking Shorthorn Grand Champion and exhibitor Treven Andrews, Mansfield, Pa.; Jersey Grand Champion and exhibitor Patrick Youse, Ridgely, Md.; Supreme Champion, the Holstein, and exhibitor Chase Savage, Union Bridge, Md.; Grand Champion Guernsey and exhibitor Marshall Overholt, Big Prarie, Ohio; Grand Champion Brown Swiss and exhibitor Jesse Hargrave, Heuvelton, N.Y.; Grand Champion Ayrshire and exhibitor Jordan Helsley, Roaring Spring, Pa.; PA Dairy Princess Maria Jo Noble, Gillette, Bradford Co.; and Maryland FFA Vice-President Maegan Olson. (Photo by All-American Dairy Show)

Supreme Champion lineup for the 10th annual Premier National Jr. Events at the 2013 All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg. (L-R): Pennsylvania FFA President Christopher Toevs; Agriculture Secretary George Greig; Red & White Grand Champion and exhibitor Cyrus Conrad of Sharon Springs, N.Y.; Milking Shorthorn Grand Champion and exhibitor Treven Andrews, Mansfield, Pa.; Jersey Grand Champion and exhibitor Patrick Youse, Ridgely, Md.; Supreme Champion, the Holstein, and exhibitor Chase Savage, Union Bridge, Md.; Grand Champion Guernsey and exhibitor Marshall Overholt, Big Prarie, Ohio; Grand Champion Brown Swiss and exhibitor Jesse Hargrave, Heuvelton, N.Y.; Grand Champion Ayrshire and exhibitor Jordan Helsley, Roaring Spring, Pa.; PA Dairy Princess Maria Jo Noble, Gillette, Bradford Co.; and Maryland FFA Vice-President Maegan Olson. (Photo by All-American Dairy Show)

Even the show itself does a great job of covering the show.  There have been 24 press releases put out by the Pennsylvania department of agriculture since the last show.  In addition, they also offer a webcast of the show starting tomorrow.  Certainly great additional coverage for those that are not able to make the drive.  I do think these digital mediums affect the attendance at the shows, but they also increase the overall reach of the events, by reaching out to the whole world.  (Read more: Who is going to the show?  Why attendance is down at the dairy cattle shows).

The Bullvine Bottom Line

It truly is a perplexing decision.  I am sure there will many great breeders to chat with, and, with Barbara and the many other cattle that will be there.  There will undoubtedly be some great cattle to see.  However, with many of the headliners not there and such a long drive, it has us thinking about not attending…Stay tuned for our final decision.

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Now there is a question that you will get many different answers to.  From your die hard show supporters that believe the earth revolves around the show ring, to your commercial producers that would tell you there could be nothing further from what really matters.  Everyone has an opinion.  The question becomes, ”Who is right?”  For me personally this question comes up as I prepare to head out to the Ontario Summer Show and then on to the International Intrigue Sale at Ferme Blondin on Saturday.  On the one hand,   I am questioning if this is really that important to 99% of the breeders out there?  And beyond that, how much will the results of this show and the sale affect the dairy industry?

I wonder will the Grand Champion of the show really have any genetic effect on the rest of the industry?

Probably not.  For example, take a look at last year’s World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion, RF Goldwyn Hailey.  Are her genetics setting the breed on fire?  NO.



So then if it’s not from the genetic advancement standpoint, what is it that’s important about dairy cattle shows?

Will the standard from the show ring become the new standard for type classification?  No.  In many cases type classification and show ring evaluation could not be farther apart (Read more: Over-Scored and Over-Rated).  Therefore, it’s not the show ring that is setting the standard for which all other cows will be measured.

So then what is it that has so many breeders excited about showing?

Could it be the thrill of competition?  There is no doubt that as a society we put our great athletes on pedestals and maybe the show cows are just like the great athletes, whom we idolize so much.  Just as in every day society, the vast majority of us could not name the top executives at the world’s Fortune 100 companies, many breeders could not tell you the top ten gTPI or gLPI females in the breed.  HOWEVER … we all can tell you our favorite show cow.  And just like we have Green Bay Packer, Montreal Canadians or Toronto Blue Jays fans who would die for their team, there are fans of the many great show cows that would scorn anyone who says anything negative about them.

I think another great thing about shows is the way   they bring everyone together.  Whether you love showing cows or not, pretty much all breeders are passionate about dairy cattle.  Anytime you can get this number of people together who are passionate about the same thing, you are sure to have a good time.  There is no question that dairy breeders are very passionate about what they do.  You certainly cannot say you got into dairy farming for the money, because there are much greater opportunities to make money in other industries.  However, you certainly will be hard pressed to find a greater community where everyone shares the same passion as they do in the dairy industry.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Is the show ring the center of the dairy world?  Probably not.  But is it the perfect opportunity to see amazing cattle and talk with fellow breeders about what is great about this industry?  Yes.  I love to show…I love going to shows…..I love looking at great show cows…..most importantly I love talking with dairy breeders about cows. All of these things happen at a show.  So for me, the answer is “Yes!” For that day, that show is definitely the center of the dairy industry!


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For years there has been great discussion about how show type is different from functional type.  Show cattle are bred to be taller, deeper and to have level rumps where functional cattle are bred for maximum feed conversion and sloping rumps (Read more: From Fantasy to Reality – Top Sires to Address Herd Culling Problems).  For the most part, the show ring has always been an exhibition stage for genetic advancement.  However, more recently there has been rising debate about whether the show ring is still achieving this.  For the most part this conversation is centered around the need for a non-milking SR./Fall yearling class at the major fall shows.  You see, by fall shows most of the animals in this class are over 2 years of age and, compared to the average calving age, are behind the majority of their other young cow peers.  With the cancellation of the non-milking Sr./Fall yearling class for Ayrshires (Read more: A Letter to the Editor From US Ayrshire President in Regards to Fall Yearling Class Cancellation ) this discussion has heated up even more.  To get to the bottom of this, the Bullvine decided to look at both sides of the argument.

5 Reasons for keeping the class:

  • Non-Milking Sr./Fall Yearlings  represent about 6-10% of the animals exhibited at each show
  • They show all summer at an age that is under two, and if these shows are to be the championships for the year, should there be a class that animals have competed in all summer.
  • You need to look at the timing of the shows.  Since Madison is in early October and only 1/3 of the yearlings should have calved by then, it doesn’t make sense to cancel the class there.
  • The show ring is about breed promotion, so why not show off as many great animals as possible?
  • There have been some interesting points made about how calving them in early can lead to cows burning out later in life.  A case could be made for this.  When you look at the All-Canadian Mature Cows and 5 year olds over the past 2 years, NONE were nominated in milking form as a yearling.


5 Reasons for cancelling the class:

  • The quality of the milking yearling class has probably shown the greatest rate of advancement over the past 20 years, compared to any other class.  Yes some of the summer calves are pretty large and cut right, and the 150,000 lbs. class is amazing to see with the great longevity of these animals.  However, if you look at the whole class, from top to bottom and consider the rate of change, none of these highlights compare to that of the milking yearling class.
  • Over the past 5 years more animals have gone on to success in Milking form from the Milking Sr./Fall Yearling class than that of the non-milking class (Read more: Do All-Canadian Heifers Make All-Canadian Cows?)  A great example of this is Valleyville Rae Lynn who was 2nd at the Royal this year as a 2nd calf Milking Senior 2yr old and now has the ability to flush, develop and compete in 2014 as a 3rd calf 4 yr. old.  Just imagine how impressive she will be.  This is also the plan for the very popular and unanimous All-Canadian and All-American Milking Yearling, R-E-W Goldwyn Happy Go Lucky. In fact the two most recent animals to convert heifer success into milking success where CRAIGCREST RUBIES GOLD REJOICE and T-TRIPLE-T GOLD PRIZE where both Winter/Intermediate Yearlings.
  • The Royal is in November when more than 2/3 of the class should have calved and, as a result, it really doesn’t make sense to have the class.  When looking at the non-milking SR. yearling class at the Royal, one of the biggest challenges that is consistent throughout the class is the dairyness or lack thereof throughout the class.  It is very hard to keep these animals clean and dairy.  Jerseys have been well ahead on this from both a breed advancement and a show ring perspective and, as a result, their average age at 1st calving is low and they DO NOT have a Senior Yearling class at the Royal.  (Please note they do have a Fall Yearling class at World Dairy Expo).
  • I have heard the argument that some animals are just not big enough or developed enough to calve that young and I can totally understand that.  Nevertheless, should these animals be rewarded for being behind in their development, when compared to others?  Remember, Dry Cow classes were dropped because they did not showcase milking udders and production ability.  Two major functions of dairy cattle profitability.
  • The dairy cattle industry is a business and dairy cows don’t become profitable until after they calve.  Shouldn’t we be showcasing profitable animals instead of those that are still costing money?  Remember the dairy farming is a business and everyone needs to appease the banker.  The banker is like an undertaker and eventually everyone has to pay the price.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

While there are many great points on both sides of this argument, if the show ring truly wants to stay relevant and represent the best the breed has to offer than there is no question it needs to be ahead of the curve and not behind it.  That means it should be leading the charge not following it.  The one thing both sides can agree on is this is an issue the breeders need to decided together in order to ensure that dairy cattle showing stays relevant going into the future.  Since the breeders who show at the national level really are a niche group, they need to make sure they stay market relevant or become irrelevant very fast in the eyes of most producers and the breed associations as a whole.

What do you think?  Take our Facebook poll.




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