Although this year’s recipient of the Klussendorf-MacKenzie Award did not grow up on a dairy farm, he witnessed his grandfather manage many successful Guernsey farms and his uncle run a dairy herd. Having those role models encouraged Nathan Thomas to convince his father to let him purchase a grade heifer to show at the county fair.
This year, that persistence and all the work that has come since paid off as Thomas, of North Lewisburg, Ohio, received the Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award in honor of the 1961 Klussendorf Award winner.
Thomas worked several sales and shows during high school, and after graduation, he went on the road fitting cattle. He has worked with top showstrings across the U.S. and in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Colombia, including Rider Jerseys, Exels Holsteins, Maple-Lawn, Air-Osa Dairy, Spring Valley Jerseys, Elmvue Farm, and Vierra Dairy. His partnership with Vierra Dairy has included capturing Grand Champion of the International Jersey Show for four straight years.
For the last 16 years, Thomas and his wife, Jenny, have farmed at Triple-T Holsteins and Jerseys with his father, John, and brother, Andy, as well as three children, Colton, Kendall, and Camryn. During that time, Triple-T has bred, developed, sold, and cared for over 130 All-American and All-Canadian nominations. Thomas bred and owned Holstein Association USA’s 2018 Star of the Breed and has been the highest herd in the nation for Breed Age Average (BAA).
Thomas continues to own cattle with many of the same mentors who have helped him over the years, and he has also become a mentor to young people working up in the industry. Over the last eight years, Thomas, his wife, and their partner, the late Michael Heath, managed several successful sales promoting Holsteins and Jerseys.
To receive the Klussendorf-MacKenzie Award, a panel of his peers selected Thomas as an individual that most exemplifies the qualities of Duncan MacKenzie and future potential as a Klussendorf winner.