Center of the Ring with Molly Sloan

by Hu Team on January 3, 2014

Many breeders and Holstein enthusiasts enjoy being tasked with judging shows throughout the year and across the globe. In an arena dominant with middle-aged, male judges, Molly Sloan is forging her own path down the tanbark through fair and consistent evaluation. Sloan has been selected to judge the 2014 International Junior Holstein Show at World Dairy Expo.

The Beginning

Molly Sloan was born and raised on a 30-cow registered Holstein farm in Marengo, IL. She now resides in Columbus, WI with her husband, Matt and has judged over 60 local, state and national shows in 11 states and three different countries before the age of 30. Molly works for Alta Genetics as a Skills Development Specialist, which means she helps train Alta staff around the world about their programs, products and services.

Showcase 2 

Peru National Show 2013[1]

Judge Sloan evaluating a class at the Peru National Holstein Show


Like many judges, Molly got her start in her local 4-H program at age 10. “I was fortunate to grow up near some great registered Holsteins breeders that opened their doors to host judging practices,” says Sloan. Some of those same families hired Molly to help with their show strings at the Illinois State Show and  State Fair which gave her exposure to great type animals. Molly then went on to judge at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It was a big commitment during the three seasons, which each required about 100 hours of practice to prepare for the contests,” Molly shares. “I learned a lot from my coaches and teammates and developed an obsession to deliver the best reasons I could.”


IDW Australia 2013[2]

Giving reasons at International Dairy Week in Australia


Molly’s hard work paid off as she went on to be high individual in reasons at four national collegiate judging contests. Along with her talented teammates, they won the contest at NAILE in Louisville and World Dairy Expo. “Collegiate judging gave me confidence more than anything. I discovered it was mandatory to offer clear, accurate reasons to defend my placings. By learning to confidently communicate through dairy judging, I found I was able to apply that skill every day when I entered the ‘real world.’”

Molly says dairy judging has played a large role in her 8-year career at Alta. “I have continued to appreciate functional type traits and the importance they play on every dairy.” In previous positions, Molly worked with the progeny test program and coordinated daughter photos and tours. Through these tasks, Molly has developed many international relationships that have led to national and international speaking and judging opportunities.

Showcase Photo

All of these things have helped judge Sloan develop a system in the ring to evaluate each class in the same order, and give every animal a fair look. “I don’t expect everyone to always agree, but hopefully the exhibitors and audience can follow my placings and understand my perspective.”

  The Love of the Game

“When I see a great one come in the ring, I get the chills,” Molly explains, “I have a hard time keeping a straight face when a cow or heifer enters the ring that just overwhelms the class; I instantly break into a smile.” Anyone who knows Molly knows her smile is contagious and she can’t help but make the show-ring fun for those at the halter. Once explaining to a young exhibitor why he wasn’t placed higher in the class, Molly told the young man the heifer above him was more angular, sharper over the top, and more feminine. As she watched him process the information, he looked Molly right in the eye and said, “So basically what you’re trying to tell me is, my heifer is just plain fat?”

IL State Show 2012[1]

Illinois State Show 2012

But, Molly also is in-tune with the seriousness and hard work that goes into getting show cows ready. “I understand the countless hours it takes to get animals ready for the show. It is awesome to see the passion come through from the exhibitors when they present the animals in the ring or stand ringside in anticipation for the results. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of that.”

Like many judges, Molly has long dreamed of judging on the colored shavings, a dream that will come true this October when she places the International Junior Holstein Show at World Dairy Expo. “When I received the call that I was on the ballot, I was ecstatic. I was one step closer to making this dream come true. I really respect the others who were on the ballot, so I was just happy to make it that far,” Molly shares. Fast forward a month or so and it’s proof week, a hectic time for anyone in the AI business. “When my phone rang I assumed it was a call regarding new proof information. When I heard the explanation on the other end of the phone, I had to ask a couple of times if she was serious. I hung up the phone in disbelief, feeling completely humbled with the news, yet excited for the year ahead.”

Chasing the Dream

The first thing Molly says when asked about advice for younger judges is – you have to be cultured. Attending shows, understanding what types of animals win shows, and earning the respect of exhibitors to receive their votes to judge any show are all important. The next thing is courage. “It takes thick skin to be in the middle of the ring, and you have to be able to accept both the good and bad feedback about your judging. You have to do what’s RIGHT, not what’s POPULAR.” She stresses the importance of being able to place the class fairly, despite a friend on the halter, a reputable leadsman, or an expensive animal – no matter what, they have to look the part.

Grand - Jr. 3 2013 MD State Fair[2]

JC - Winter Calf MD State Fair[2]

Judge Sloan picking champions at Maryland State Fair

“I certainly get nervous before judging, because I have the utmost respect for those who put in the time to get their animals ready for the event and there is a lot on the line for them. I care a lot about doing my best personal best to evaluate their animals.”

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Ferme Jacobs – True Master Breeders

by Hu Team on December 9, 2013

Ferme Jacobs of Cap-Sante, QC obviously have a strong and effective breeding program.  They have won Premier Breeder of World Dairy Expo 3 years in a row and have won Premier Breeder at the Royal Winter Fair multiple times.  Jacobs have also won countless Junior Breeders Herd and Breeders Herd banners.  They also are one of very few farms to ever have received a Master Breeder Shield 3 times! (1984, 1998, 2012)


Another thing to be admired about Ferme Jacobs besides their superior breeding program is the way the generations of the family work together.  There are now 4 generations of Jacobs at the farm daily.  Leo- 1st generation and founder of the farm; Jean & Marian- 2nd generation; Yan, Yasbel, Kevin & Laurie- 3rd generation and now the 8 children of the 4th generation who are already showing a keen passion for farming and dairy cattle.

2013 has been another superb year for Ferme Jacobs.  With success starting at the QC Spring show and continuing throughout the season at various shows in QC and then onto World Dairy Expo where the excelled in the heifer and cow classes with top 5 finishes and of course capturing Supreme Champion with Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn.  Their success continued into the fall with 3rd Jr calf, 1st Int. calf, 3rd Sr Calf, 1st summer yearling, 4th Jr Yearling, 1st Jr Herd, 4th Jr 2, 2nd Sr 2, 2nd Jr 3, 2nd 4 yr old, 1st  Mature Cow, 1st Sr Herd and Premier Breeder Banner at the QC Fall show (EIHQ)…the impressive thing about these placings is they are all Jacobs Bred and owned animals! The Royal Winter fair also proved a huge success as Jacobs had 8 top 5 finishes with homebred animals and also captured the Sr Herd award and Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor banners.

After the show season had ended Jacobs had more excitement with 10 All American Nominations and 14 All Canadian Nominations!!!


Ferme Jacobs are a worldwide household name and are well respected and admired in the dairy industry as it is truly special to see a large show string of mainly homebred animals being cared for by almost all family members; from parents, brothers, sisters and cousins.  Ferme Jacobs are serious about their animals and creating success but at the same time remain down to earth and very approachable people.  It is not often you see such a large family work so well together and share such a passion for their animals.  This passion and team work shows through with their many and continued show ring successes.


Royal Winter Fair Excitement Continues

by Hu Team on November 4, 2013

The 4-H show at the Royal Winter Fair is underway and soon trailer loads of cattle from across Canada and the US will roll into town for one of the most exciting Holstein events of the year. As an extension to last week’s blog, Morgon McMillan explains how the Royal plays a part in the marketing program at Kingsway Farms.

Exhibiting at the Royal is major part of our marketing program. Our farm in the past has concentrated more on selling live cattle then embryos. Having a quality string with primarily homebred “Kingsway” animals has given our prefix and cow families added exposure to potential buyers. The media attention and prestige of the show also adds marketing value, compared to other shows earlier in the year.

The Kingsway string will consist of 20 animals; 12 Kingsway owned and 8 tie-ins. The ties include cattle from our friends Hanalee and Millbrooke Holsteins, and a few animals that we have sold in the past. Having post-sale follow up and giving buyers the opportunity to show with us after a sale is an added bonus for everyone.

The whole “Royal” experience is great. Getting the cows ready at home and at the show with the pre-show hype is entertaining. Also the competition at the top level is exciting. The best part for me is getting to mingle and catch up with friends from all over that have one thing in common- love for the Holstein cow.


The McMillan family has been Junior Premier Breeder of the Royal Winter Fair 2009-2012 and was overall Premier Breeder in 2009 and 2010. Shown here L to R: Morgon, Ethan, Gord and Emma McMillan.


Holstein Women Gear up for Royal Winter Fair

by Hu Team on October 30, 2013

The Royal Winter Fair opens FRIDAY, and the industry is buzzing with excitement for one of the greatest shows on earth. We had a chat with a few ladies gearing up for the show, Katie Kearns, herd manager at Gen-Com Holsteins, Kelli Cull of Budjon Farms and Jennifer Thomas from Triple-T Holsteins and Jerseys.

How does exhibiting at the Royal play into your marketing program?

Katie: Exhibiting at the Royal increases our marketing potential by first and foremost being the most prestigious show in Canada. Doing well at the Royal carries so much weight when it comes to All-Canadian and that plays a huge role in what is marketed here. The other marketing aspect the Royal creates is all the international visitors it draws to eastern Canada. The farm receives many tours before the Royal; many from foreign countries. There is often embryo interest from many of these countries from our top show cows and deep pedigreed families in the barn!

Kelli: Our marketing may be different than some, because not only are we trying to promote our own genetics, we are also pushing our boarding business and the possibility of finding an individual and reselling her to potential clients. This was evident for us at Expo because we had three cows that did very well in their breed shows and all three represented the market that we try to maintain…..the kind we buy (Cameron), the kind we board for clients and continue to develop (MS Candy Apple-Red) and the kind that we sell (Ehrhardt Gold Beauty…1st Jr. 3 and HM Intermediate Champion). Two of the three cows will be exhibited at the Royal next week and we look forward to possibly finding another Beauty along the way!

For Budjon Farms and Budjon Boarding, Cameron, Candy Apple, an Atwood Winter Yearling that was 5th at Expo we bred and own with partners will be going to the show. There will also be two for Rolling Spring Farms from Pennsylvania that also did well at Expo, along with several tie-ins. We will have approximately 20 in our string.

Jenny: Both WDE and the Royal have helped gain international exposure for our herd. We have gained embryo interest and contracts on several individuals. We are bringing three head to the show of our own and will have 17 in the string.

How long will it take you to get to the show?

Katie: It takes us about 6-7 hours to get to Toronto, we will leave Monday with the tack trailer and early Tuesday morning with the cows.

Kelli: Our crew left already on Friday the 25th, but we are making it a two-show trip, going to the Quebec Fall show first, then on to the Royal. Tom will be gone from the farm 16 days after he returns from Louisville. For us, we actually have three shows to attend…Quebec and the Royal in Canada and we are also taking a group of Jerseys to Louisville the same week as the Royal. It’s a huge challenge to pack for all three.

Jenny: The cattle will cross on Thursday, October 31st. They will layover at Gord Sharp’s farm. It usually takes about 8-9 hours of driving and you never know how long you may end up at the border.

What’s your favorite part about the Royal?

Katie: My favorite part of the Royal is the naming of the Grand Champion Holstein with all the lights and music and excitement in the air!!

Kelli: THE NAMING OF GRAND HOLSTEIN! To be a part of that excitement the last few years (Hailey & Lotto), it is an experience that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! We need to create excitement in this business…and I believe that the Royal has ear notched it in North America and wish we could retain that into all of our big shows through out the year.

Jenny: Some great memories have been made and relived at the Gord Sharp’s before heading to the show. It is a relaxing and enjoyable way to start the show before all breaks loose!

The girls hanging out at Gen-Com which is located in Notre-Dame du bon Conseil, QC.

Also representing the Budjon marketing plan is this photo from RAWF 2012, Budjon initially purchased Butz-Butler Gold Barbara in the International Intrigue, she went on to win at Expo and was sold to Jeff Butler prior to the Royal. Kelli with Robrook Goldwyn Cameron who was 1st Jr. 3 & Reserve Intermediate in 2012, now owned by Budjon, Peter Vail, St. Jacobs ABC & Woodmansee.

1TripleT Blog Pic
Triple-T string at World Dairy Expo 2012. Triple-T is located in North Lewisburg, OH and is owned and operated by John and Mary Thomas, Nathan and Jenny Thomas and Andy Thomas.

Holstein Universe will be at the Royal – watch for us around the barns, we’re here for your marketing needs!


Stop and Savor Fall

by Hu Team on October 18, 2013

By Lana Olson

When I think about fall, I can’t help but remember my days as a youth heading back to school. It was an exciting time – a fresh start, new teachers and probably some new clothes. Fall also makes me think about colorful leaves and even the distinctive scent of a favorite pumpkin candle.

In the dairy community, fall is also harvest time. The season is when we reap the results of a ‘plant and pray’ crop year. For dairy breeding enthusiasts, it is also when we see the best of the best cows fight it out at the most famous cow shows in the world.

This year I attended World Dairy Expo for the, well, I can’t remember how many times. Now 27 years old and starting to have many memories of expos past, I look at events like this a little more nostalgically. Beyond the wonderful cow show and trade show I annually work at, I realized fall is also a wonderful time to reconnect with old friends. One of my personal highlights is the Gopher Dairy Club reunion held each year at World Dairy Expo. But after friends had been hugged and drinks shared, I was more than ready to head home. Home, because, there’s also something about fall that always draws us home.

Last Sunday, exactly one week after World Dairy Expo, nearly my entire family returned home to Raylore Farm. Each of my three siblings and all three of my nieces were there.  We went to church, we cooked a delicious meal together (complete with meat and potatoes, obviously) and most importantly, we milked cows together. All was right with the world.

I’ve been thinking about that day since. Fall is a favorite season for many of us in the dairy business. Between World Dairy Expo, The Royal, back to school and harvest, it is easy to keep going from event to event. Don’t forget to take a step back this fall, enjoy a meal with family, and savor how lucky we are to be part of this great business.

The author grew up in Hutchinson, Minn. on her family’s Registered Holstein farm, Raylore Farm. She resides in Minneapolis, Minn., and is a senior account executive at an agricultural advertising firm.


“For the Everyday Love of the Industry”

To celebrate and honour the late Andrea Crowe of Hi-Calibre Holsteins, Burntcoat, N.S., and her legacy as a passionate Holstein breeder and exhibitor and community minded individual, a committee of her friends are creating an annual award that recognizes:

  • Ability to inspire others through positive attitude and industry involvement.
  • Fostering industry knowledge and interest in youth.
  • Good sportsmanship.

Andrea Crowe loved to work hard with family, friends and industry peers for the betterment of the industry, the breed, and for the pure joy of being part of something that wasn’t just a job, but rather a way of life. This award is meant to honour Andrea’s passion for life, positive attitude, and most of all her determination; attributes speaking to the “Hi-Calibre” of Andrea’s character and a life well lived.

Annually a committee will select a deserving candidate to receive the Andrea Crowe Achievement Award. The award will be presented during the heifer show of the National Holstein Show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ont., in November.

Young Canadian adults who demonstrate enthusiasm and dedication to the dairy industry, as well as active involvement in their communities, will be considered for the award. Candidates will be judged on their level of participation in any of the following areas: showing, exhibiting, and breeding – in any dairy breed, as well as volunteerism. Like Andrea, the individual must possess “the everyday love of the industry” through their personality, integrity and knowledge to make them well respected in the dairy fraternity.

Nominations for the award, along with a brief written biography of the nominee, should be e-mailed by October 1, 2013 to


Expo Bound!

by Hu Team on September 27, 2013

The time has come.

The week we live for is here.

Cattle from across the US and Canada have loaded up and all roads lead to John Nolen Drive!

We’ve captured some photos from strings all over the place starting their journey to Madison.

Tweet it. Share it. Do what you want with it.  Let’s get ready to go!


 Ferme Jacobs gets ready to leave with a VERY full trailer from Cap Sante, QC. They have 36 head on from across Eastern Canada. They crossed the border early Thursday morning and arrived in Madison last night.


Gen Com Holstein LTD gears up to leave Bon-Conseil, QC. Photos by Bradley Cullen




Morsan Farms and other friends from the West head out from Ponoka with 36 head on board, including eleven milkers. They’ve cleared the border and hope to be in Madison sometime today!



Another group from Western Canada gets ready to leave Saskatchewan: Robella, Skycrest, Benbie, and Crestomere and Zessen farms are heading south with seven cows and three heifers.


United States

 The crew from Arethusa is off to the races as of Wednesday morning when their tack trailer left Litchfield, CT. Friday morning 16 head of Holsteins, Jerseys and Brown Swiss will embark on the 1,050 mile trip.

Hay Straw


Show Barn


And coming from the west coast is a California group headed up by Robert Teixeira. Their load of twelve head, show cattle and transit cattle, hopes to arrive in Madison Saturday.


Stay tuned to the blog and our facebook page for updates from Madison throughout the week! Remember if you sign up to be a member between today (Sept. 27) and October 8th, you’ll be entered to win a Sid embryo from Missy’s full sister!


What is a Show Mom?

by Hu Team on September 20, 2013

–  As we wind up a month featuring photos of kids and calves, we took a minute to chat with the other end of the family and to find out what exactly it means to be a “Show Mom.”

–  It’s more than keeping white’s clean.. Although that’s an important part of the job! The secret is using powder bleach; this won’t eat away at the fabric even with the soaking some of those manure stains require!

–  It’s knowing when they’re ready for the next step.. “Matt studied his spelling words each week during the school year and was successful on weekly spelling tests and then he asked me at the fair after two or three years of being bottom red ribbon calf – ‘Why do I always place last when I work just as hard with my calf and I do with my spelling?’ That’s when I knew it was time to find some more competitive calves, I knew the showing thing wasn’t a passing phase.”

–  It’s believing they will make it to the ring on time.. Even when you’re sure they’ll be late, most of the time, they do make it. And it doesn’t take missing the class more than once to really make sure it doesn’t happen again!

–  It’s setting your alarm because you know they’re likely too tired to wake up on their own. Showing wears a kid down. Well it wears anyone down. The back-up alarm is always a good idea, especially on show day!

–  It’s understanding showing cattle will teach them life lessons.. “There were times I wished the kids would spend more time in the library studying, but I know now they learned so much from their early days in showing livestock that they would have never learned from a book.”

–  It’s learning to trust them with the truck and trailer.. Even if that means letting them drive it through metropolitan areas. Sometimes it’s best to just close your eyes, I mean you wouldn’t actually let them drive if you didn’t think they could do it, right?

–  It’s leading by example – being a gracious winner and loser. And teaching them not to get too discouraged from one bad show, learn to repeat the saying “Different judge, different day.”

–  It’s showing up with food whenever possible. Double wrapped sandwiches hold up better in the cooler, nobody likes soggy sandwiches or crabby kids. Cookies usually help keep everyone happy.

–  It’s thanking God your children have found something to believe in, something to work for, and something they can someday pass on to kids of their own.

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A Behind the Scenes Look to the Greatest Cattle Show on Earth.

World Dairy Expo holds a special place in the hearts of many cattle enthusiasts. We all have our favorite parts; the smell of the shavings, the steam coming off cattle in the wash rack as the sun comes up, the dance floor at the Sheraton party. We all know what we like, but what most of us don’t realize is all the work that goes into the show before the first cattle trailer pulls into Madison.

Ann Marie Magnochi 2013[1]World Dairy Expo’s Dairy Cattle Show Manager, Ann Marie Magnochi gives us an insider’s perspective on what goes into making this show go!

What process does an entry for the cattle show go through from the time it arrives in your mailbox until it gets printed in the Cattle Log?

When entries are received, we print them and proof names and classes, and for completion.  They are also sent back to the exhibitors for them to proof, once they are OK’d by the exhibitor, the entry is sent to its respective breed association for one final round of proofing. At this point, they are set aside until the Cattle Log is printed.

The catalogs will hopefully go to print at the end of next week, except the Holstein Cattle Log, which doesn’t get printed until mid-week of the show. Since so many animals change hands between rolling in and hitting the show ring, we try to keep it as updated as possible.

How many entries did you receive for the 2013 World Dairy Expo? Is it up or down from previous years?

We don’t have a final tally yet, but we are tracking to be very similar to last year.

What percentage of the Black and White Holstein entries are Canadian?

About 57% of the entries we’ve received in 2012 were Canadian, coming from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

How do you go about the tuxedo ordering for the judges?

Laurie, the Dairy Cattle Show Coordinator, has a connection with a local tuxedo shop. The judges are asked to get us their measurements and we place the order. Our female associate judge was given the color of the tuxedo vests, and asked to match with a shirt or scarf.

What are the top three things people probably don’t realize go into the pre-show planning part of your job?

How much work the tents are. They have to function like a barn. First curbs are laid and sealed so they’re waterproof. Then water and electric gets installed. Shortly after the show, the crews come back in to pull the tents down, take the curbs back up and after a week or so, you’d never know there was a small city in that North parking lot.
Biosecurity before and during the show. The entire facility is disinfected top to bottom. The show arena is disinfected again after the World Classic Sale, and the shavings top-dressed and set for the Milking Yearling class on Saturday morning.
The hours. The neat thing is, we work long hours, but it doesn’t feel like work. It’s FUN! Yes, there are tough moments, but you’re doing something new and different almost every minute. It’s a privilege to be involved in a show like this.

How many phone calls have you fielded about the new ear tag regulations?
We’ve gotten a decent number of calls, but below what we were expecting.  The breed superintendents have really helped us spread the word and get information out to the exhibitors.

What happens once the show is over?  
Right away we handle haul out. We have to get 2,500 head of cattle off the grounds in a short period of time, the same amount that filtered in over a three-day span. We have a new system this year that we hope streamlines the process to get cattle and exhibitors out more efficiently.

Tips for out of town visitors?
If you’re coming from out of state, you should hit up one of these:
Prime Quarter. It’s packed that week, but a good Madison experience.
The Coliseum Bar: It’s on the backside of Willow Island, you can walk there from the grounds. And, they have an Expo Burger!
The World Dairy Expo burger includes five different types of cheese, your choice of side and glass of milk.


Ten Reasons’ to Love Western Canadian Classic

by Hu Team on September 6, 2013

Each summer dairy youth from across Western Canada gather to celebrate their love and knowledge of the dairy cow. Here are ten reasons to love this great opportunity for the youth of our industry.

10. Hands-on learning
Participants not only show their animals, they participate in a dairy quiz bowl exam put together by Holstein Canada and other educational events throughout the five day show.

all teams

9. Travel is fun!
The event travels from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba each year.

team ab stall

8. Fancy Fittin’
Participants can also compete in a clipping contest. Each team is allowed ten clippers. Junior and intermediates get two hours to clip their calves, seniors, one and a half hours.

champ line showman

7. Judging Contest
Three classes, two of cows and one of heifers are presented to the participants for them to place, and then give one set of oral reasons on. Their score in the judging contest goes towards their overall placing individually and as a team.


6. Creativity
Each providential team is tasked with decorating their stalls according to the annual theme. 2013’s theme was “Cow-nadian Football”.

team profiles

5. Strong History
The first WCC was held in 1985 in Saskatoon, SK. The event has evolved from a few showmanship, confirmation and judging contest classes to a large gamut of activities and competitions for the kids.

headed to the water trough

4. Showmanship
One entire day of the event is dedicated to showmanship. The 100 participants are split into classes by age; juniors 12-14, intermediates 15-17 and seniors 18-21.

3. The ACTUAL show
The heifer-only show welcomes the best of the west in all breeds. In order to show at WCC, you must first be selected to be a part of your provincial team by attending a qualifying show. You can also get on the team with good fitting or judging skills. Good work ethic is key!

2. Making friends
Like many other dairy related events, WCC sparks and fosters friendships for these kids that often times carry on into adulthood.

goofing around

getting pulled in

team ab

1. FUN
The winning exhibitor concludes their stay at the show with a dunk in the closest water tank. First time participants are also dunked in the tank as their initiation.