Valerie Mueller
Valerie Mueller

BOYD, Wis. – A trailer door swung open on a chilly December Friday afternoon in central Wisconsin, and two pairs of brown eyes met. For 7-year-old Daniel Zimmerman, it was love at first sight as he met his registered Jersey calf, Woodmohr Victorious Ginnay.
“She is beautiful. I love her already,” said Daniel as he climbed in the trailer to meet Ginnay.

Daniel is the son of James and Erla Zimmerman of Boyd. The Zimmermans, along with their nine children, milk about 60 cows on their Clark County farm.
“We told him last night after he got home from school (Thursday),” James said. “I told him that he had won something, and his sister said, ‘Hey, maybe you won that Jersey calf.’ Then he got excited. This morning before he went to school, he kept reminding me not to forget I was going to pick up his calf.”
The Zimmerman children were entered for Dairy Star’s Great Christmas Grand Prize Giveaway at Chippewa Valley Dairy Supply in nearby Stanley.
“We were in the store the one day and the kids saw the flyer to register for the drawing, so we did,” James said. “We have never really been lucky enough to win much of anything, and it is the first time Daniel has won anything himself. I would say it is a pretty good way to start.”
Daniel is in first grade and loves reading. After school, he helps feed the family’s dairy calves. His parents said Daniel enjoys spending time in the barn and loves the animals, especially the calves.
“I am excited that I have my own calf now,” Daniel said. “I cannot wait to take care of her every day.”
When Daniel is not in school or doing his chores, he and his brothers enjoy hitching their pony Blaze up to their cart and driving him around. Daniel said he is getting pretty good at driving the horse and cart and finds great joy in the activity.
Ginnay is a registered Jersey calf bred by Jon and Wendy Schmidt of Woodmohr Jerseys in Bloomer. The Schmidts milk 44 registered Jerseys and are a well-known breeding establishment throughout the country.
Ginnay, sired by River Valley Victorious-ET, was born Sept. 23 with a storied maternal pedigree behind her. Her mother is an EX-93 daughter of Rapid Bay Indiana Gentry, and her grandmother is an EX-94 Giprat Belles Jade daughter of two-time national champion Llolyn Jude Griffen-ET EX-95. There are three more generations of Excellent cows in Canada behind Griffen.
Letting a calf like Ginnay go was not an easy task for the Schmidts, but they said they are committed to promoting the Jersey breed and are happy to help a youngster build a herd foundation with a calf like Ginnay.  
“We think this is a great opportunity to introduce Jerseys into a new herd,” Jon Schmidt said. “Ginnay can allow someone the chance to get started with a really good Jersey heifer from a really good Jersey pedigree. It is really important to us to help build our future dairy leaders and promote Jerseys. They are an extremely efficient breed, a true dairy model, with the potential for increased profit margins.”

Mueller to use cash winnings to help cancer patients
Valerie Mueller, of Hillpoint, Wisconsin, was paying her feed bill at Premier Cooperative when she was encouraged to sign up for the Christmas give-away. Mueller ended up winning the $1,000 cash prize offered. This is Mueller’s first time winning a contest.
“I’ve never won anything,” Mueller said. “I can’t even win a cup of coffee from McDonald’s.”
Besides winning the contest, Mueller said she is lucky to be farming with her family.
“I have three beautiful kids who are healthy, so that’s pretty lucky,” Mueller said. “We get to farm together, so I can’t complain about that either.”
Mueller milks 200 cows with her family. She and her husband do the morning milking and her sons do the night milking with hired help. Her father-in-law helps with field work, scraping the freestall barn and hauling manure.
Mueller was not sure how she would spend the money shortly after being notified of her win, but she does have a cause in mind that is close to her heart.
“I beat breast cancer eight years ago, so I try to donate wigs to chemo patients when I can,” Mueller said. “I might use some for that or some for myself; I don’t know.”
Regardless of how the prize money is spent, the extra cash is something Mueller said she is excited to have around Christmas time.
“I think any dairy farmer would appreciate a little extra around Christmas,” Mueller said. “It will probably help when shopping for Christmas presents too.”