A 9-year-old registered Ayrshire owned by an Auburndale farm couple is the 2008 Cow of the Year, Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced.
Foggy-Valley Volage Marigold EX-92, owned by John and Shauna Offer, was honored during a ceremony at World Dairy Expo. Alice in Dairyland Ashley Huibregtse presented a proclamation recognizing Marigold, the breed, and the Offer family.
"Congratulations to the Offers on this well-deserved recognition," Nilsestuen said. "This is a family that has been part of the Wisconsin farm scene for more than a century. Our state's worldwide reputation for the finest dairy products and dairy genetics rests on farm families like the Offers. We thank them for their contributions."
Marigold was named the All-Wisconsin Aged Cow in 2006 and 2007. At the Wisconsin State Ayrshire Show in 2006 and 2008, she received first place for Aged Cow and Best Udder. She was the Reserve Grand Champion in 2006 and Honorable Mention Grand Champion in 2008. She has also been a state production winner, with a six-year-old record of 27,930 pounds of milk on a 365-day cycle, with 3.7% butterfat and 3.4% protein. At the Central Wisconsin State Fair this year, Marigold was first in Aged Cow and Best Udder, the production winner, and the Grand Champion. She is a homebred cow from a VG-88 classification dam.
The Offers farm with John's parents, Philip and Gladys Offer. The Auburndale farm has been in the family since 1881. The first Ayrshires arrived in 1952 as a 4-H project for Gladys. Today the registered Ayrshires number about 35 and comprise more than half the Offer family herd. Foggy-Valley Ayrshires have been shown at many county fairs and state shows, as well as at World Dairy Expo and North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky. Animals have also been consigned to state and national sales.
The Cow of the Year award rotates among the state's six leading dairy breeds. The chosen cow must have been born in Wisconsin and be an example of the type and conformation that is regarded as highly desirable for its breed, with top classification scores. The Agricultural Development Division of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in consultation with the Wisconsin Purebred Cattle Association, selects the recipient.
The award has been presented annually since 1972, when the Legislature passed a law and Gov. Patrick Lucey signed it, authorizing selecting of a Wisconsin-born purebred cow as a representative of the nation's leading purebred cattle and the dairy industry.