Santa drives a truck, trailer

Borchardt wins calf in Dairy Star’s Christmas giveaway

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BIRNAMWOOD, Wis. — When Abby Borchardt’s father hooked up the truck and trailer the morning of Dec. 16, she did not realize she was climbing into her own version of Santa’s sleigh, heading off to a day she will not soon forget.

Abby is the 17-year-old the daughter of Mike and Barbara Borchardt. Her name was drawn Dec. 13 as the winner of Dairy Star’s Great Christmas Giveaway’s top prize — a registered Red & White heifer calf named Townlineacres Rosalie-Red-P.

The Borchardts milk 45 cows on their family’s Marathon County dairy farm in Edgar, where Rosalie will now reside. The herd is comprised primarily of Holsteins, with a few Milking Shorthorns that Abby enjoys showing.

“My dad told me we were going to go look at some calves and see what we thought, and we should probably take the trailer in case we bought one,” Abby said, laughing after the surprise was revealed to her. “I didn’t even know my dad had signed me up.”

Mike, who signed up his daughter for the contest at Brubacker Ag Equipment LLC in Curtiss, said he was uncertain how he kept the secret from Abby for four days.

“I got a phone call from a Minnesota number that came up as ‘potential spam’ on my phone, so I ignored it,” Mike said. “The same number called back a few minutes later. I remembered thinking I’d signed up for a hunting trip and thought maybe I’d won that, so I answered.”

Once he answered the call, Mike learned that it was his daughter who was the lucky one in their family, and he began making plans for how to spring the surprise on his daughter, making up the story about going to look at calves.

A senior at Edgar High School, Abby has been showing dairy cattle for as long as she can remember. Her family shows at several shows each year. She is active in her school’s FFA chapter and is serving as the treasurer. She is also a past officer of her 4-H club and is involved in dairy judging.

“I am just shocked; I have never won anything like this,” Abby said. “I am looking forward to showing her this next year.”

Throughout her years in the dairy project, Abby said, her favorite memories stem from her experience showing, especially exhibiting her animals at World Dairy Expo.

After she graduates high school in the spring, Abby plans to attend Mid-State Technical College to further her education.

Rosalie, born Sept. 21, was bred by the Breyer family — Doug, Cindy, Dillon and Derek — of Townline Acres Holsteins in Birnamwood. A potential 10th generation Very Good or Excellent, she is a polled daughter of Aprilday Mcdonald-P-Red-ET, and her mother is a VG-88 early daughter of Riverdown Unstopabull-Red. Her second dam is an EX-90-2E Scientific Demello daughter from an EX-93 Goldwyn, a full sister to the 2013 All-American 5-year-old, Rosedale Lexington EX-95-2E.

Rosalie’s pedigree traces back to Stookey Elm Park Blackrose-ET EX-96-3E-GMD-DOM, who was the all-time All-American junior 2- and junior 3-year-old and was the 1995 reserve All-American aged cow.

The Borchardt and Breyer families are friends and have been showing together at the local fair for many years.

Providing a calf with the credentials Rosalie possesses — Red & White, polled and deep-pedigreed — was an easy choice for the Breyer family.

“The dairy industry is a community we feel very fortunate to be a part of, and this is a way for us to give back to a community that has given us so much,” Derek Breyer said. “Both my brother and I have been lucky to have a lot of help learning and getting started along the way, and we’re glad to pay that forward to someone else.”

The Breyers milk 120 cows with two Lely robotic milking systems, and they began their journey in registered Holstein genetics in 2005 as 4-H’ers who wanted to show registered calves at their county fair.

“It’s important to help young people get started out with a good foundation animal,” Breyer said. “We wouldn’t be where we are, doing what we’re doing, if people hadn’t helped us out, and that is what this industry is about. It’s a cycle of each generation helping the next one.”

Abby Borchardt was not the only lucky winner Dec. 13. 

Kenny Mueller’s name was drawn from the box at Fuller’s Milker Center LLC in Richland Center to receive the $500 cash prize awarded to adults in Dairy Star’s giveaway.

Mueller and his family — wife Valerie and children Andrew, Natasha and Lucas — milk 210 cows on their dairy farm near Hill Point. The Muellers own about 200 acres and farm a total of 500 tillable acres. Also working alongside the family are long-time employee Dale Blaha and Mueller’s father, Virgil, who at 80 years old continues to actively help on the farm.

Mueller began his farming career in 1995, about two years after his father had sold his own milking herd.

“I started with nothing but the barn, an old house and 25 cows I bought,” Mueller said. “I have no interest these days in getting bigger; if anything, I have an interest in getting smaller, maybe going back to about 110 cows or so.”

Mueller said that, over the course of his dairying career, his philosophy has changed.

“When I was younger, I pushed the cows for production,” he said. “These days, I enjoy not pushing them and just watching the cows be healthy. I’m not getting a lot of milk, but I am making a better profit, just letting them be cows.”

As for plans for the prize money, Mueller said he has no definite plans, but with the current milk prices, it will come in handy as a Christmas bonus.

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