May 2 2023 10:03 AM

You can often pick out a lineage from the animals’ names.

My first cow was Star. She was a beautiful, mostly black Holstein that was large in stature and a gentle, old soul-type personality. As a peewee, I could walk her into the ring for showmanship and she would hold her head high and set her feet up correctly on her own. She made this little girl look like a pro in the showring. Star was the matron of my cow family and blessed me with a lineage of great heifers.

Star set the naming precedent. From Star came Starbryt (my prefix meant you had to be creative due to length constraints), Starshine, Starry, Stardust, Starlet, and more. When “star” names ran out, I pivoted to other celestial names like Solar. Star’s heifers had heifers and my herd kept expanding long after she was no longer around. It all started with Star.

A family friend and fellow 4-Her had a few Brown Swiss and ended up selling one to me. While my family’s herd was Holstein, you could always count on some “show cows” to add a little color. My sister and one of my brothers had Jerseys, and some local youth that kept their cows at our farm had Guernseys and Ayrshires. Faith was my first Brown Swiss. From Faith came Farrah, Fatima, and more.

Even with my own cows I used different naming conventions. So, I am curious how others name their girls. Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry? Apple, Orange, and Banana? While Google may default to Bessie, I know there must be some creative ones out there!

Erin Massey

Erin Massey is the product development manager at Prairie Farms, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Edwardsville, Illinois. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the development process, from concept to commercialization. Erin grew up on a Florida dairy farm and has a deep-rooted passion to invigorate the dairy industry. Erin earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida. Her personal mantra is "Be Bold."