Welcome Jerseyland Sires!
For 50 years, it’s been about family. The foundation of Select Sires has always rested squarely on the shoulders of people working together as a family. In this anniversary year of Select Sires Inc., it’s been enjoyable to watch all the celebrations of bull milestones and how they’ve impacted the industry. What has been the underlying theme of those celebrations is the people who have brought exceptional genetics to the table for producers around the globe to benefit from. People who have lived and breathed to make sure Select Sires continued on a successful path. People who have worked collectively to develop a vision for the future.
This “people” concept is not a new one. In fact, it started at the very beginning of Select’s history with an agreement between three very important people. On October 12, 1965, Richard Kellogg, Robert McCormick and P.L. “Lee” Thornbury signed the Charter of Incorporation and Select Sires, Inc. began. It’s written in the book ‘The Elevation of an Industry’, “Officials of the founding cooperatives (Central Ohio Breeders Association, Kentucky Artificial Breeding Association, and Northern & Southern Illinois Breeding Association) felt that a single, jointly owned organization could provide a stronger sire program while also allowing efficiency to be gained in combined production facilities and marketing efforts.” Paragraphs from this book talk about the early days, the growth, expansion and vision that lead to the formation of Select Sires. Throughout the pages, you’ll notice some prominent wording — efficiency, helping the American dairy farmer, cooperation, value, finding the right people. Perhaps Ron Long said it best, “Select Sires is not a bull organization, it’s a people organization.”
Throughout the first 50 years, it is very evident that it was the people who helped bring the best genetics to Select Sires.
And it will be that way for the next 50 years.
The Select Sires Jersey program remained relatively small during the early years. In 1966, the first four young sires were sampled and 20 years later, the program more than doubled to 11 bulls. By 2006, it had nearly quadrupled to 41 bulls and with the current growth of the breed worldwide, the need to expand the program even further was evident.
Throughout most of these growth years and expansion, Jeff Ziegler, Genomics Program Manager, led the charge to find the very best Jersey genetics and build a level of trust with Jersey breeders that helped to make the Select Sires Jersey program what it is today.
While Jeff was serving as a Jersey sire analyst, he added such bulls as Soldierboy Boomer SOONER of CJ, Mason Boomer Sooner BERRETTA, Windy Willow Montana JACE, Forest Glen Avery ACTION, Rock Ella PARAMOUNT, All-Lynns Louie VALENTINO and so many others were acquired and entered the doors in Plain City, OH, to become valued members of the Select Sires Jersey program.
Another bull that entered the lineup around this time was 7JE177 Highland Magic DUNCAN. The bull’s impact on the Jersey breed was remarkable in itself, but more importantly, the people working the Duncan partnership were none other than the early founders of Jerseyland Sires.
Duncan came to Select Sires in 1986, and was one of the early acquisitions made by a group of 13 California Jersey breeders known as Jerseyland Sires. “I started working with a group of breeders in Hilmar, CA, in 1987,” explained Jeff. “It didn’t take long to learn the passion these core Jerseyland breeders had in showing leadership within the dairy industry while milking Jersey cows. These breeders were all about making a profit. And if a partner in their genetics, or milk manufacturing, enterprise didn’t see the value in what Jersey cows could do for a dairy producer, then that partner was quickly replaced, or the Hilmar breeders simply developed a market on their own…aka the onset of Hilmar Cheese Company. These Hilmar founders were trailblazers that I quickly learned to admire. They showed me the power of what several people can achieve with a shared vision.”
So Select Sires is a people organization, as was Jerseyland Sires. In fact, it was pretty evident that the two companies not only shared a vision of “people power” but also a shared vision in regard to expanding Jersey genetics programs. Jeff commented in a recent ‘Selections’ article about the new partnership, “I’ve watched the Jerseyland Sires program develop over the last 30 years and admired the respect the owners had for each other. This same respect and trust fits beautifully into the Select Sires Jersey Revolution model. Both Jerseyland Sires and Select Sires have a long-term commitment toward Jersey genetic profitability that will benefit our customers for generations to come.”
Tyler Boyd, General Manager of Jerseyland Sires agrees. “I am looking forward to working closely with the team at Select Sires to develop even more reasons for breeders to join the Jersey RevolutionTM, because we know it’s not only about developing superior Jersey sires, but also delivering reliable, profitable genetics to our customers.”
This commitment towards Jersey genetics is also very evident with another Select Sires Jersey program partner. In 2014, River Valley Farms signed on as an exclusive partner with Select to provide additional Jersey bulls for the continued growth and demand for Jersey genetics around the globe. Herby Lutz, Jersey Genetics and Marketing Manager at Select Sires, stated in an interview with ‘Hoards Dairyman’ magazine, “This partnership is an ideal fit for both organizations because of our shared appreciation for quality genetics that will deliver customer satisfaction results.” He added, “Nowhere else in the world can you find the extensive group of quality-pedigreed and diverse, purebred females that are at River Valley Farm.”
While River Valley Farm is known for its passion for genetics, the same can be said for the farmer-owners of Jerseyland Sires. “I have walked the corrals with many of the farm managers of these Hilmar herds, and during our conversations, their commitment to the progress of the Jersey breed is obvious. It is great to work with people who care deeply about their cattle as well as their employees,” said Tim Baumgartner, Jersey Genetics and Marketing Specialist for Select Sires.
This three-ply Jersey Revolution group of Select Sires, River Valley Farm and Jerseyland Sires are singularly focused on the growth, progress and expansion of the Jersey cow world-wide. “It’s about the opportunities that the Jersey cow offers to owners that no other breed of dairy cow can,” explained Tim. “And more importantly, it’s about the people who work day and night without hesitation for the promotion of the Jersey cow. That’s what we’re doing this for. These three companies can work collectively in the genetic advancement of the breed, and lead the Jersey Revolution for the next 50 years and counting!”
Jerseyland Sire owner Mike Wickstrom agrees. “This new partnership will combine the passion for improving the Jersey breed shared by Jerseyland Sires member-owners with the progressive marketing of Jersey genetics by Select Sires, benefiting customers throughout the U.S. and the world!”
While we might be starting our 51st year at Select Sires in 2016, it will be “Year 1” for the bulls, the programs and the PEOPLE of Select Sires, River Valley Farm and Jerseyland Sires. The shared vision of the future is beyond exciting!
Frequently asked Questions about the Jerseyland Sires partnership:
1. When will customers have the ability to buy Jerseyland Sires?
Bulls will be available from Select Sires in the summer of 2016. JLS had an agreement with another A.I. organization, so the Select bulls will start from the ground up. Young bulls need to be selected, sent to Ohio to get their battery of health tests done, and then put on collection.
2. How do customers order semen?
Once JLS bulls are available, they will be labeled 7J semen and distributed like a normal Select Sires bull through your authorized representative.
3. How big is JLS?
Today’s Jerseyland Sires group is made up of owners in and around Hilmar, CA and Dalhart, TX, who have 30+ dairies…which represent about 55,000 cows. That group of cows represents about 36% of all females listed in the AJCA Greenbook!
4. What’s the projected growth of the Jersey Revolution?
Between JLS, Select Sires and River Valley, we’ll now be sampling approximately 80 Jersey bulls a year.