Demi and Brandon Franck, along with their daughter, Rosalie, stand with their favorite cow, Lee-Anns Madison Victory, a 12-year-old Brown Swiss on their family’s 80-cow dairy near DeWitt, Iowa. 
Demi and Brandon Franck, along with their daughter, Rosalie, stand with their favorite cow, Lee-Anns Madison Victory, a 12-year-old Brown Swiss on their family’s 80-cow dairy near DeWitt, Iowa. PHOTO SUBMITTED
    DEWITT, Iowa – While many cows on the Francks’ farm are special, there is one cow that has won over the hearts of her owners.
    Lee-Anns Madison Victory is not only lovable because of her docile demeanor, she has also been successful in the showring and shows her value by the pounds put in the bulk tank. The 12-year-old Brown Swiss cow is part of the 80-cow herd at Lee-Ann’s Swiss near DeWitt, Iowa. It is where Brandon Franck and his wife, Demi, along with their 11-month-old daughter, Rosalie, farm together with Brandon’s parents, Randy and Elaine Franck, and his grandparents, Lee and Luanne Barber.
    “She is one of the most docile cows we’ve ever owned,” said Brandon Franck, who, along with Demi, work on the farm and have full-time jobs away from the dairy. “When she’s in the yard, she always comes to find me.”
    It is no different when she is waiting to be milked.
    “She’s more borderline pest than pet because she’s just so easy going that you can’t get her to move sometimes,” Franck said. “She’ll sit and rub her head against you, and then walk to the parlor.”
    In her earlier days, Victory was showcased in the “I milked a cow” display in the dairy promotion board booth at the Clinton County Fair.
    “Because she has such a low-key temperament, she’s perfect for letting any kid who wants to milk her,” Franck said.
    When the preschoolers from town visit Lee-Ann’s Swiss dairy every spring, Victory has the same calm presence – patiently standing while each youngster has his or her turn to try milking.
    But, this docile demeanor has not always been the case for Victory.
    “As a young cow, she was hard to deal with,” Franck said. “That was one of the reasons I had to show her as a young cow – because she was hard to handle.”
It all changed when she turned 5.
    “She all of a sudden decided she was tired of it and went completely in the opposite direction – calm,” Franck said.
    Franck first showed Victory as a fall calf but decided to leave her home the following year.
    “She didn’t look that great as a yearling,” Franck said.
    Victory came back to live up to her name as a cow.
    “She calved in with a spectacular udder,” Franck said.
    She always did well in her classes, with a record that includes many honors at the Iowa State Fair: first place 5-year-old, reserve senior champion and reserve grand champion in 2013; first place component merit cow in 2014; and second place component merit cow in 2016. Victory finished her showing career in 2016 at the top of the component merit cow class.
    This merit is confirmed and complemented by her classification score of 3E-92.
    “She’s got a really big, well put together udder that, for being almost 13 years old, is still hanging in there really well,” Franck said.
    While her type is excellent, so is her milk production.
    “She’s one of the highest producing cows we’ve ever had on the farm,” Franck said.
    At 6 years old, Victory produced 147 pounds on one test – a first for the farm. Over her lifetime, she has averaged 70 pounds of milk per day.
    However, Victory is starting to show her age. At her last calving – her seventh lactation – Victory had twins.
    “That was rough,” Franck said. “That was the first time we ever really worried about her after calving. That’s what set her back.”
    Along with a tough lactation, Victory also had foot problems. Because of this, Victory has not been milking for over a year.
    “She spent last summer on a little pasture at my and Demi’s house because she didn’t need to be with all the other cows and work that hard to get everywhere,” Franck said. “Any other cow probably wouldn’t have lasted this long, but she’s special so she went in the calving shed when her feet went bad.”
    Although she is starting to slow down, the extra attention has helped nurse her back to relatively good health. She is due March 23. It will be her eighth lactation.
    The Francks are anxious for this calving because Victory does not have any living descendants in the herd. Although she had one daughter, she got sick and had to leave the herd as a 2-year-old.
    “We are excited to see if this calf is a heifer,” Franck said. “She’s not receptive to flushing, so we have not had good luck with her.”
    Regardless of the outcome, Victory is still a special cow and will always hold the top prize for winning the Francks’ hearts.
    “She will be like royalty here until the end of her days,” Franck said. “She’s one of those cows we’ll keep around forever. It won’t make good business sense, but she’s one you can’t stand to put on the trailer and send down the road.”