Recognized around the world for high-quality Registered Holstein® genetics, this year’s Elite Breeder has imprinted an international mark promoting Registered Holstein genetics. Holstein Association is honored to present Tom and Gin Kestell of Ever-Green-View Farms of Waldo, Wisconsin the 2018 Elite Breeder Award.
As a result of 47 years of commitment to superior dairy cattle, Tom and Gin’s family now manages one of the world’s highest producing herds, as well as an exporting business.
Tom and Gin have exported over 8,900 embryos in the last nine years to many countries including Russia, China, Germany, Brazil, Japan, India and the Netherlands. In 2017, they exported more than 14 percent of all U.S. dairy embryos.
The Kestells started farming with little more than a dream. In 1971, they established Ever-Green-View Farms and started their farming career on rented land. Eight years later, they procured their current facility. Like many in the business, cash flow was tight during these early years. Tom says he did not invest deeply in genetics.
In the mid-1980s, Tom started working with Dr. Byron W. Williams of EmQuest Embryo Transfer Service to expand his herd’s horizons. Embryo transfer work allowed Tom to influence his herd more quickly with a handful of his best cow families. Tom also wanted to export embryos directly from his farm to the European Union (EU). Ever-Green-View Farms is a federally inspected, EU-approved export facility for embryos.
Many of their cows have been recognized with state and national records for milk, fat, and protein. Ever-Green-View Farms is home to the first dam and daughter duo to receive national milk production record status.
Their first national milk production record holder was Ever-Green-View My 1326-ET EX-92. She was the national milk production record holder from 2010-2015 and produced 72,170 pounds of milk, 2,787 pounds of fat and 2,142 pounds of protein, completing her 4-year-old record.
The Kestell’s second national milk production record holder, Ever-Green-View My Gold-ET EX-93, held a 365-day record of 77,480 pounds of milk with 1,992 pounds of fat and 2,055 pounds of protein as a four-year-old from December 2016 to September 2017.
Strong believers in helping others, Tom and Gin want to help improve the lives of farm families and advance the worldwide dairy industry.
One of their most prominent contributions has been their faithfulness in helping young dairy producers develop their herds. The Kestells offer genetic advancement opportunities through an embryo sharing program to ensure that other dairy farmers have a chance to improve their genetics.
The couple’s commitment to providing others the tools they need to help them prosper runs deep within their community. They have awarded more than 20 scholarships to area students in memory of their late son, Clay.
About the Award
The award recognizes a Holstein breeder who bred outstanding animals, making a notable contribution to the advancement of the Holstein breed in the United States. The Kestells are true ambassadors of both the dairy industry and the Registered Holstein cow. Tom and Gin recently were honored during the 2018 National Holstein Convention in Acme, Michigan.
Holstein Association USA, Inc., www.holsteinusa.com, provides products and services to dairy producers to enhance genetics and improve profitability–ranging from registry processing to identification programs to consulting services.
The Association, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vt., maintains the records for Registered Holsteins® and represents approximately 30,000 members throughout the United States.