Four Earn WHA Distinguished Honors

The annual Wisconsin Holstein Association (WHA) Adult Holstein Convention was held February 23 and 24. Honored at the Saturday evening banquet was this year’s Holstein Horizon, Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder, Marlowe Nelson Distinguished Service, and Distinguished Holstein Breeder award winners. 

Holstein Horizon Award

David Sarbacker of Floydholm Holsteins, Edgerton, is this year’s Holstein Horizon Award winner. Sarbacker and the Floydholm prefix is probably most well-known for breeding Floydholm MC Emoji-ET EX-95. Emoji is now owned by the Nehls family and La Femme Fatale Syndicate. In 2019, Emoji was the Intermediate Champion at both the International Holstein Show and the Royal Winter Fair. Emoji is a daughter of the foundation cow of Floydholm, Budjon-JK Damion Eklipse-ET EX-94 2E. Eklipse has also produced two daughters who were Reserve Champion Yearling at the Wisconsin Junior State Fair and two others who were named Junior All-American and Reserve Junior All-American.

In addition to breeding and developing elite cattle, David has promoted the Registered Holstein through youth engagement. He has hosted fitting and showing clinics on their farm, and served on the Dane County State Fair Committee. He has worked for CentralStar Cooperative for 26 years, currently as a Genetic Consultant. David and his wife, Candace, have three children, Lindsey, 23, Ashlyn, 20, and Cole, 17. 

Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder

Tony and Jacob Brey grew up on their 100­cow Registered Holstein farm in Sturgeon Bay, Brey Cycle Farm. Today, the brothers manage 1,100 cows with a rolling herd average of 29,652 pounds of milk, 1246 pounds of fat and 942 pounds of protein. They have 43 Excellent, 204 Very Good and 324 Good Plus cows. The herd has been presented the Progressive Genetic Herd Award by Holstein Association USA for eight years. Tony joined the business in 2007 following college and purchased Registered Holsteins from herds in Illinois and Oklahoma to double the herd size. Jacob joined the farm full-time in 2015 after two years as a classifier for Holstein Association USA.

The Breys use bulls with both pedigree and genomic factors when making breeding decisions for farm profitability. They have sold five bulls to AI, including Cycle McGucci Jordy-Red, a two-time winner of the Premier Sire award at World Dairy Expo. Tony and his wife Moriah have two children, Evan, 12 and Alexa, 6, who are getting involved with Registered Holsteins. Jacob and his wife Lauren also have two children, Rosella, 2 and Willem, 1.

Marlowe Nelson Distinguished Service Award

Jim Rickert of Eldorado has been a leader in the Wisconsin Holstein industry as well as in his local community for many years. This year he was recognized as the Marlowe Nelson Distinguished Service Award winner. Jim served on the Executive Committee for the National Holstein Conventions in 2008 and 2019. In 2008 he was a co-chair for the National Junior Holstein Convention, and in 2019 served as Transportation Chairs.

Jim served on the WHA Board of Directors for six years. There he was secretary for three years and served a term as president. Additionally, for the past 18 years, he has served on the WHA Scholarship committee. On the county level, Jim has dedicated his time to the Fond du Lac County Holstein Association serving on the board and as a junior advisor. Outside of Holstein-related activities, he has been a board member for Badgerland Financial, Wisconsin DHIA and Fond du Lac DHIA. He’s active in the Eldorado Lions Club and in the Redeemer Church congregation. Jim farms with his wife and brother and their families at Rickland Holsteins. The family was recognized as the WHA Distinguished Holstein Breeder for 2022.

Distinguished Holstein Breeder:

Mike and Marcy McCullough started farming in 1973 in Illinois with seven Registered Holsteins and nine heifers along with some pigs in a 34-stall tie-stall barn. They moved their herd and two children to Juda in December of 1976. They then purchased a 160-acre farm with a newer 48 tie-stall barn. About 80 percent of the current herd traces back to Mike’s first Registered Holstein calf, Taylor Knoll Suzie VG-87.

Today, the herd includes 50 milking Registered Holsteins with a BAA of 110.9% and a rolling herd average of 24,331 pounds of milk, 962 pounds of fat and 753 pounds of protein. Mike has bred 103 Excellent and 237 Very Good as well as 32 cows who have produced more than 200,000 pounds of milk. Standout cows Mike has bred and developed include Rock-N-Hill AJ Ella EX-90 5E, Rock-N-Hill Gidget EX-94, and Rock-N-Hill Knucklebuck EX-94. The McCulloughs believe in breeding for high-type cows from 100% RHA bulls. They have been a completely homebred herd for 20 years.

Mike is a past president for the Wisconsin Holstein Association and the Green County Holstein Breeders. He’s also served on the Green County DHI board, Juda School Board, Green County Mutual Insurance Board and the Juda Fire Department. Marcy helped build a strong junior program in Green County, serving as a leader and dairy bowl coach for almost 20 years. She took seven teams from Green County to the national contest, earning two national championships. Mike and Marcy have five children and 11 grandchildren.