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EKU Dairy Cow Earns All-America Honors; Only 6 in U.S. Nominated

Sun-Made Valentina ET

Eastern Kentucky University’s Stateland Dairy at Meadowbrook Farm has a long history of excellence and awards.

Now, one of its residents has been named honorable mention All-American Cow in the Milking Yearling class. Only six cows nationally were nominated for All-American honors.

EKU’s honoree, Sun-Made Valentina ET, is the product of one of many major changes at the Farm in recent years – the addition of a Brown Swiss breed to the dairy herd.

“The Brown Swiss Association was looking for a university dairy farm to which it could make a donation of bovine embryos, and the Association’s former director, Allen Bassler, thought of EKU because of his association with Current Dairy manager Chad Powers,” explained Dr. Laurie Rincker, associate professor in EKU’s Department of Agriculture.

The embryos were implanted in both Holsteins at the farm and in other cattle. One of the first Brown Swiss calves born was Valentina.

After numerous positive comments about Valentina from staff, students and visitors, “it was decided to try our hand at the big event for daily enthusiasts,” the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisc. Valentina made the trip with a Swiss breeder from Kentucky’s Fairdale Farm. With member of EKU’s Dairy Herd Management class as a cheering section, Valentina was the seventh-place milking yearling, “a rare accomplishment for any university dairy.” She continued her travels to the Southeastern National Brown Swiss Show in Louisville, where she won her class. Then came the All-America honor.

Rincker, who said Powers deserves most of the credit for the introduction of the Swiss breed at EKU and the overall management of the cows, said an eventual goal for the dairy farm is to have a herd that is 50 percent Holstein and 50 percent Brown Swiss. Several more Brown Swiss cows were selected by both staff and students and purchased last year to aid in increasing the number of Swiss in the herd. The dairy recently received another donation of “high-quality” Brown Swiss embryos from Sunshine Genetics.

“It is amazing to consider the possibilities of more award-winning cows waiting to be born,” Rincker said.

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Published on March 02, 2015

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