All too often we hear of tragic accidents in our industry that not only claim the life of a loved one, but the head of a dairy farm business. On August 26, Brian Krull of Lake Mills, Wis., was killed in a farm accident. His family was close friends of the Hoard's Dairyman editorial team and they asked a member of our staff to deliver some reflections on Brian's life to those at the funeral. What follows are some abbreviated comments that we think many of our dairy farm readers would enjoy learning not only about Brian, but his impact on dairy farming. ~The Editors.
To say the least, we were all shocked when we heard the awful news this past Thursday. Brian touched so many lives. He was a member of many communities which included family, faith, bowling, the dairy industry, among many others. And throughout those communities spontaneous memorials and prayers came forth not only for Brian, but his entire family. They included prayers on the football field, at cattle sales, dairy shows, and even memorials on milk house doors at county fairs. Those memorials are living examples of how Brian and his family touched our lives in many positive ways.
It is an honor to share some thoughts about Brian with you. My name is Corey Geiger. Brian and I served on the Wisconsin Holstein Association board of directors for five years together. And, having lived in the same geographic area, we had numerous occasions to ride to board meetings together. And on those trips, our conversations always focused on families. For those of us in the dairy business, that includes our human family and our cow families. His wife and children along with his extended family came first; then his farm and serving others came in a close second. Simply said, Brian always had his priorities in the right order. And that is not necessarily a common trait in today's fast-paced world.
Brian was a gifted, steady leader, who guided organizations with a sound mind and steady hand. Brian was balanced and invited other people to voice their opinions. He made decisions with the greater good in mind. He was a two-time President of the Wisconsin Holstein Association which is an honor only a handful of people have had in our Association. In addition, Brian chaired the Midwest National Spring Show Committee, the Finance Committee, and served on the Scholarship and the Junior Activities Committee. It is Brian's guiding influence we will surely miss as next year's Midwest National Spring Show takes place.
"A humble man, Krull also was a great leader in that he always included everyone and never took full credit for his own ideas," noted WHA Director of Operations Chris Williams. "It wasn't his idea it was everyone's idea," Williams said. "Everyone was involved, even though it might have been his idea. He would not take all the credit. "Brian was very upbeat always a positive force."
I believe it was Brian's agricultural upbringing and love of farming that made him upbeat and positive. As a farmer, Brian and his family were partners with God as they worked with His creation in the barn and in the fields. In Brian's mind, there was always going to be a bigger, better crop even when the weather was not working in their favor. Also, that next generation of his prized Elegance cow family was going to build on the best qualities of the dam and create and even better cow.
Brian might have only been 44 years old. However, he accomplished more than most of us will ever achieve when breeding cattle. The Elegance cow that the Krulls bred could be likened to the Green Bay Packer or New York Yankee franchises of the sports world. Yes, Elegance is a franchise cow. There may be no other cow that has had more influence in the show-ring than Elegance during the past 15 years. Since Elegance's birth in 1993, exactly 44 direct descendants have been nominated All Americanthe highest honor a prized Holstein can achieve. When I called the Culls of Lomira, Wis., who own many branches of the Elegance Family to confirm these figures, I was immediately struck by the irony of the 44 All-Americans and the fact Brian was 44 years old.
Today, over 80 percent of the Krull herd traces back to Elegance. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that the Krulls have sold hundreds of embryos to 21 different countries around the world from Elegance and her descendants.