The Woodmansee family has been recognized as Premier Breeder at the Eastern States Exposition seven times since 1989. They have partnered on cattle that have won the New York Spring Show, Eastern States, Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair, and Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo. From left to right: Lois and Clark Woodmansee III, Clark Woodmansee IV holding daughter Kendall, and Courtney Woodmansee.

Lead, breed, and progress. That’s the attitude found at Woodmansee Holsteins within their team that breeds and markets elite registered Holsteins that possess remarkable type, impressive production, and superior genetics.

With that foundation, Woodmansee Holsteins of Preston, Conn., has been selected by the Klussendorf Association as the 11th recipient of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award. This award recognizes a well-managed breeder and herd that has been successful at showing and judging dairy cattle. Winners exemplify all qualities of the Klussendorf Award, including ability, character, endeavor, and sportsmanship. The Woodmansee family will be formally recognized at the 53rd World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.

Generations of success

The Woodmansee family has molded their operation into the noteworthy herd it is today. The family has bred great cattle under the Woodmansee prefix in addition to owning or co-owning other successful cows including Hazel, Hezbollah, Dana Rae, Cameron, Lotto, and now Blexy and Cheers. Under their own prefix, they have bred eight Excellent 94-point cows, six Excellent 93-point cows, 11 Excellent 92-point cows, 26 Excellent 91-point cows, 50 Excellent 90-point cows, and 339 cows scored at Very Good. In addition, they have bred 15 cows that have earned Dam of Merit and eight that garnered Gold Medal Dam. Their current operation boasts 37 Excellent cows . . . 30 percent of the herd.

Woodmansee Holsteins has been a foundational name in Connecticut and in the greater New England region for four generations. They were one of the first herds in Connecticut to install a milking parlor in the late 1950s. In 1974, Clark Woodmansee III purchased the farm and began to focus on breeding an elite herd of registered Holsteins.

Today, with Clark III’s son, Clark IV, the home farm consists of 450 acres and a milking herd of 125 cows. Their rolling herd average (RHA) is 23,850 pounds of milk with a 4.9 percent butterfat and 3.2 percent protein test. Clark also owns two other farms consisting of 1,200 acres. Those farms are currently leased to a 400-plus cow milking herd that carries the WoodHill prefix.

A showring fixture

As no stranger to the showring, a colored shavings favorite is none other than Hazels Goldwyn Hatty (3E-96). In 2017, she was named Grand Champion at the Northeast Fall National Holstein Show and placed third at World Dairy Expo in the 150,000-pound production cow class. These accomplishments earned her honorable mention All-American honors that year.

Never fearful to add world-class genetics to their herd, Woodmansee partnered with others to purchase Quality-Ridge Stomi Hazel 2E-96, who is Hatty’s dam. The farm also partnered to acquire Dubeau Dundee Hezbollah (EX-92), and had considerable success developing her daughters. Clark has bred no less than 10 max-score EX-92 second-lactation cows from Hezbollah.

Additionally, he has bred multiple excellent daughters from Scientific Gold Dana Rae-ET (2E-95) and is part owner of one of the most sought-after cows in the business, Rosiers Blexy Goldwyn-ET (EX-96). Other notable cows he has partnered on include Robrook Goldwyn Cameron (EX-95) and Unique Dempsey Cheers (EX-92).

In the early 1990s, Clark caught the show bug with Lo-Pine Jet Biana, earning Reserve All-American honors. What’s more, Woodmansees BStar Jinx (EX-94), Woodmansees Inspired Bette (VG-89), and Lew-Lin Highlight Hotstuff (EX-94) were all nominated All-American. Additional famous Woodmansee-bred cows include: Woodmansees Starbuck Caramel (2E-94), Woodmansees Enhancer Holly (EX-94), Woodmansees Buck Jamie (3E-93), Woodmansees Sexation Megan Mae (2E-93), Woodmansees T Threat Lolita (EX-92), Woodmansees BA Adilad (2E-92), and Woodmansees Mandingo Jillian (EX-92).

Clark Woodmansee III has been instrumental in Connecticut and northeast U.S. Holstein activities, serving on boards for many years. He has also been a leader in developing the Eastern States Holstein Show into one of the premier shows in the country.

The herd has been declared as the Premier Breeder at the Eastern States Exposition seven times since 1989, highlighting their depth of quality cows and having two herd sales in 1987 and 1996. Clark has been involved in ownership of cattle that have won the New York Spring Show, Eastern States, Grand Champion at the All-American, Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair, and Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo.

The awards and elite cattle speak for themselves when representing Woodmansee Holsteins. The Woodmansee family integrates passion, diligence, and humility into one to maximize their potential with the Holstein breed. The service to their farm, local and state Holstein associations, and surrounding community have earned them the honor of being named the 2019 McKown Master Breeder. The Woodmansee family is indebted to those partners and friends who helped them along the way.

Previous winners

Past winners of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award include: Ovaltop Holsteins, Richfield Springs, N.Y., 2018; Wendon Holsteins, Innisfail, Alberta, 2017; Ferme Jacobs Inc., Cap-Santé, Quebec, 2016; Walk-Era, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., 2015; Pond View Farm, Danville, Vt., 2014; Quality Holsteins, Vaughan, Ontario, 2013; New Windsor Farm, New Windsor, Md., 2012; Moondale, Monona, Iowa, 2011; Snider Homestead, New Enterprise, Pa., 2010; and Windy Knoll View, Mercersburg, Pa., 2009.

The Robert “Whitey” McKown Memorial Breeder Award was made possible by the family and friends of the 1997 Honorary Klussendorf honoree after his passing in 2009. McKown 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. McKown 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 Klussendorf Association votes to add a new dairy cattle exhibitor to its rolls with lifetime membership for their cumulative works including ability, character, endeavor, and sportsmanship.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas grew up in Pittsboro, N.C., showing and raising dairy heifers. Thomas attends Virginia Tech, majoring in dairy science with minors in agricultural economics, communication, and Spanish. On campus, she’s involved with Dairy Club, Sigma Alpha, and has been a member of the Virginia Tech dairy judging team. Thomas was the 2019 Hoard’s Dairyman summer editorial intern.