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First Generation Farmer to Receive 2023 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Award


The 2023 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder followed an unconventional path to his career as a dairy farmer. Growing up in town, Ty Etgen always jumped at the chance to spend time on his friends’ farms. Today, he’s living out his dream as a successful Registered Holstein® breeder and dairy farmer.

Holstein Association USA is thrilled to recognize Ty Etgen as this year’s Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder. Ty is the sole owner and manager of Etgen-Way, a herd of 100 Registered Holstein cows near Harrod, Ohio. He’s sharing life on the farm with his wife, Heather, and sons Cash and Henry.

“The whole list of Distinguished Young Holstein Breeders is impressive, and to be on that list, it means a lot to me,” Ty shares. “Fifteen years ago, I had nothing, and to be recognized with this award, it’s awesome.”

As a youth, Ty found his way to the dairy industry through jobs on dairy farms and involvement in 4-H and FFA. After high school, he dove into working full time on a dairy farm for a year and a half. Ty then furthered his education with a degree in dairy cattle production and management from Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI). He notes his participation on the dairy judging team and an internship at Air-Osa Dairy in California as key learning experiences during his college years.

After graduating from college, Ty farmed in a partnership for a couple of years before starting a small herd of his own. In spring 2015, Ty and his family broke ground on a new 110 cow barn and double-seven herringbone parlor. Today, he takes on all the primary responsibilities on the dairy, and continuously works to improve his Registered Holstein herd.

The herd at Etgen-Way is milked twice a day and has a rolling herd average of 23,044 pounds of milk, with a 4.0% fat test and a 3.1% protein test. Breeding high-scoring cows is also important to Ty, and in 2022 the herd had a BAA of 111.4.

Ty and Heather, who met while showing dairy cattle, also enjoy competing in the show ring. Whether doing day to day chores or getting ready for a show, Ty says he’s thankful for the work ethic he’s teaching his two young sons. He’s also quick to give credit to the many mentors and friends he’s had in the dairy industry who have helped him pursue his dreams.

“One thing that got me where I am today is, I’ve always been surrounded by great people that challenged me and pushed me on,” Ty says.

About the Award

The Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award recognizes significant accomplishments of young Registered Holstein breeders for their commitment to preserving the dairy industry and for achieving excellence in their daily lives. Ty Etgen will be recognized on June 25, 2023 during the National Holstein Convention in Lexington, Kentucky. 


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