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The Wisconsin Ayrshire Breeders' Association (WABA) has an exciting 2016. With many events, cow of the year program, a new breeder grant, international tours highlighting the state, shows, and the annual sale; this upcoming year will continue building the excitement for this breed.

2016 is the year of the Ayrshire in the state of Wisconsin. The cow of the year will be recognized at the annual meeting, along with being highlighted at the World Dairy Expo. Applications to nominate a cow for this prestigious honor can be found in the Wisconsin Ayrshire newsletter.

WABA also announced a new grant program: Wisconsin Beginning in Ayrshires Grant. This program will give $1,000 to a Wisconsin dairy farmer with an interest in owning registered Ayrshires. The money from this grant can be used to buy their first Ayrshire or expand their herd. More information and applications can be found on the Facebook page, Wisconsin Ayrshire Breeders' Association. Applications are due Feb. 12 for this new opportunity.

Annual events bring breeders together for great cattle and socializing. The annual meeting, held jointly with Wisconsin Brown Swiss breeders, will be held in Tomah, March 4-5.

The Wisconsin Ayrshire Spring Sale will be held on April 9 in Neillsville. The annual raffle, held at the spring sale, has great prizes, including a registered Ayrshire calf. July 18-19 are the dates for the Wisconsin Ayrshire State Show, held in Marshfield. The annual state picnic will be held in late summer.

Young project members aspiring to own an Ayrshire can apply for the Shayr-A-Heifer program. This program places a calf with a junior member for two years, who shows and develops the heifer. As the heifer grows, the youth has the option to buy the heifer or sell her in the annual sale. Awarded at the spring sale, it's a fun and economical way for kids to get involved in showing.

The World Ayrshire Conference is coming to the U.S. this year. The national office has been planning for years, with stops at some of the most famous Ayrshire herds in the nation. Wisconsin breeders are excited to open their doors for farm tours and dinners, happening in late September and early October. The culmination of the tour is at World Dairy Expo, where the Ayrshire cow of the year will be recognized.

Applications and information about these events, programs, tours, grant, meetings, and sale can be found on our Facebook page: Wisconsin Ayrshire Breeders' Association. Questions can be directed to: Richard Franta at 715-307-0537 or richard.franta@gmail.com.

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