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Jeff and Alta Mae Core, Salvisa, Ky., received the Master Breeder Award given by the American Jersey Cattle Association in ceremonies June 25, 2022, during the association’s 154th Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

The Master Breeder Award is presented to an AJCA member, family, partnership or corporation that has bred outstanding animals for many years and thereby made a notable contribution to the advancement of the Jersey breed in the United States.

Since 1980, Jeff and Alta Mae Core have been breeding award-winning Jerseys. They have bred 238 cows appraised Excellent-90% or higher. The highest being, KCJF Regency Treasure, Excellent-97%, just one of seven in breed history to receive this honor. “Treasure” is sired by both a Keightley-Core bred dam and sire, Renaissance Kims Regency.

Many of their best performers include a sprinkling of KCJF sires on both the top and bottom sides of the pedigree. Among the cows who can be found in the lineage of much of the herd today is the early influencer, K.J.F. Amandas Mercury Mandy, Excellent-93%. Her son, Mandys Patrick Rex, born in May 1987, was the first bull bred and sampled by the Cores. He has 137 daughters in his proof, including Rexs Patrick Kim, Excellent-94%, an All American honoree with nine complete lactations, and the dam of four-time All American Junior Show Champion, KJF Renaissance Lacy {6}, Excellent-96%.

Another family of impact is the “Molly” cow family, which began with KJF Responses Molly, Excellent-91. Her daughter, KCJF Sambo Molly, Excellent-94%, was Intermediate Champion of The All American Jersey Show in 2006 and topped the National Jersey Jug Futurity two years later. She has two records over 22,000 lbs. milk. Her sons, KCJF Mollys Ren Motion and KCJF One in a Million, have sired numerous blue-ribbon winners for the Cores and other breeders. Her grandson, KCJF Hired Magician, is in the Showcase Selections lineup at Select Sires Inc. “Magician” is out of KCJF Mollys Regency Martini-ET, Excellent-95%, a paternal sister to “Treasure” and winner of the 2013 Bert Smith Leas Memorial Award for best bred and owned animal in the national futurity.

Keightley-Core Jerseys have been named Premier Breeder seven times and Premier Exhibitor twice at the National All-American Jersey Show. Additionally, they have bred one national champion, have exhibited the national champion three times, exhibited the Genomic Jersey Performance Grand Champion in 2020 and 2021, bred three National Jersey Jug Futurity winners, and won the 2021 Leading Lifetime Production Award.

In addition to their show ring success, their herd ranks at the top of the breed for production. In 2021, their herd had a lactation average of 18,238 lbs. milk, 928 lbs. fat, and 683 lbs. protein on 60 lactations. The herd has ranked as high as fifth for protein and eighth for fat among herds with 40-70 lactations in the past.

The Cores have been active with the Kentucky Jersey Cattle Club and the Kentucky National Show and Sale. Alta Mae served on the Kentucky Fair Council and retired from the Kentucky Department of Revenue, in 2008, after 30 years of service. The Cores are both active cattle judges, having worked cattle shows in the United States and internationally. Alta Mae has served as a judge in Argentina, Brazil, Coasts Rica, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, as well as at the Royal Agricultural Fain in Toronto, Canada, and International Dairy Week, Australia. The couple have both won the Klussendorf Trophy, an award given for ability, character, friendliness and outstanding showmanship at the World Dairy Expo.

The American Jersey Cattle Association was organized in 1868 to improve and promote the Jersey breed. Since 1957, National All-Jersey Inc. has served Jersey owners by promoting the increased production and sale of Jersey milk and milk products. For more information on its programs and services, visit or call 614/861-3636.