Vernice and Dan Moon, Monona, Iowa, have been named the third Robert "Whitey" McKown Master Breeder Award winner, which will be presented at the 45th World Dairy Expo. The winner of the McKown Master Breeder Award is chosen by the members of the Klussendorf Association. The award honors a well-managed breeder herd who is successful showing and judging and emphasizes all qualities of the Klussendorf Award, including ability, character, endeavor, and sportsmanship. Vernice and Dan Moon's Moondale Holstein herd fits every criteria of the McKown Master Breeder Award. Vernice and Dan, along with Vernice's wife, Bev; Dan's wife, Nancy; and Dan and Nancy's children, Kyle, Emily, and Ryan, also are involved with Moondale Holsteins.
The Moondale prefix began in 1962 when Dan's father, Vernice, began buying registered Holsteins. Since that initial purchase, the 50-cow herd has become a well-recognized breeding establishment throughout the Midwest and the nation. In the past 50 years, the Moons have bred 134 Excellent cows. Of those, 23 are Excellent 92; 11, EX-93; 5, EX-94; and 2, EX-95 with the highest being EX-95 4E. In addition, the herd has bred six Gold Medal Dams (GMD) and five Dams of Merit (DOM).
For these efforts, the Moons are 17-year recipients of the Progressive Breeders Registry (PBR) Award by Holstein USA given annually to the nation's top type and production herds. This past year, the Moon's homebred herd averaged 112.4 breed age average (BAA) for type which ranked them in the top 25 herds in the nation. At their most recent classification, they had a 113 BAA with 26 Excellent cows, 20 Very Good, with none lower. In the past, the Moondale herd ranked as high as fifth nationally for BAA competing side-by-side with operations that have a higher percentage of purchased animals than the Moon family. Besides having outstanding type, the Moon's Holsteins average over 25,000 pounds of milk.
The cornerstone of the Moon herd is Moondale Mark Poppy, EX-94 5E, GMD. Poppy produced 325,000 pounds of lifetime milk and had three Excellent daughters with the highest being EX-95 3E. In all, there are six-, seven-, and eight-generation Excellent branches from the Poppy cow family.
No stranger to the show ring, the Moons have won the Premier Breeder banner at the Iowa State Holstein Show for 16 of the past 19 years. Additionally, they have been Premier Breeder 11 times. Moondale Stephanie-TW, scored EX-95 2E, was most recently Grand Champion and Champion Bred and Owned at the 2009 Iowa State Holstein Show. In 2007, Stephanie was Reserve All-American 5-Year-Old Cow after placing second in her class at World Dairy Expo. That same year, they also bred an All-Canadian nomination. In 2008, Moondale was Premier Breeder and Exhibitor at the Midwest Fall National Show.
The Robert "Whitey" McKown Memorial Breeder Award was made possible by the family and friends of the 1997 Honorary Klussendorf honoree. Whitey joined the Holstein World staff in 1956 and became widely respected as he traveled nationally and internationally, reporting on shows, sales, meetings, and other Holstein events. The 1987 National Dairy Shrine president also developed MooKown Holsteins at Belleville, N.Y. Whitey had great admiration for the farmer breeder.
The Klussendorf Memorial Association, considered by many as the Hall of Fame for Dairy Cattle Exhibitors, began in 1937 in memory of Arthur B. Klussendorf, considered the outstanding dairy cattle showman of his time. Each year, the top dairy cattle exhibitor from North America is presented the Klussendorf Memorial Trophy.