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MADISON
    A small but mighty brown cow from Wisconsin won World Dairy Expo’s highest honor last week at the culmination of a week’s worth of cattle shows in Madison.
The Jersey cow Musgie Iatola Martha-ET stepped up her game a notch, winning the honor of Supreme Champion at the 50th Anniversary of World Dairy Expo in Madison last week.
The winning Jersey cow is owned by MilkSource Genetics of Kaukauna, WI and came in second last year, taking the title of Reserve Supreme Champion at Expo in 2015.
This time around Martha was the first place winner in the Five-Year-Old Cow class and Senior and Grand Champion Female in the International Jersey Show during Expo. (Last year she was the winning Four-Year-Old Cow, before moving on to be named Grand Champion of the International Jersey Show and Reserve Supreme Champion of World Dairy Expo.)
Jim Ostrom, co-founder and partner in MilkSource, spoke to Wisconsin State Farmer a few days after the whirlwind of Expo settled down. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of cow. She’s amongst the best-uddered cows in the world and it’s so gratifying to see her develop this way,” he said.
Martha came from a small farm in northeast Canada and when she was purchased and shown by another individual, she caught the eye of Ostrom and his team who purchased her as a three-year-old.
    Last year she won a string of shows, including that Reserve championship at Expo, Supreme at the Royal in Canada and Supreme at the Wisconsin State Fair.  World Dairy Expo was the first outing for the cow this year; she had a heifer calf 90 days ago.
    There has been a lot of interest in Martha from the bull studs and Ostrom said they will be selling sons out of her.
    “Martha has developed into a terrific front-ended cow and that combination with strength and dairy character makes her really special.”
Last year Ostrom’s daughter Shelby showed the cow but since she’s off at school this year, his wife Annette took the halter and showed the outstanding Jersey. “They are two peas in a pod,” he said of Annette and Martha. “When they are in the show ring they are really in synch.”
In addition to having several of the state’s largest dairy farms – including Rosendale Dairy – the MilkSource operation includes the smaller farm to nurture top dairy cattle genetics. There are 52-55 cows milking at that MilkSource Genetics farm in addition to 120 head of young animals that are being groomed for their top genetic potential and for the show string. Embryo transfer work is routine at the farm.
He added that they will be having a sale at the farm on April 1 and will be selling daughters of some of their famous cows, including Martha.
“It’s really a very rewarding feeling to work so hard, with so many people. It’s not just an animal. It’s the terrific dedication of so many that gets a cow to this level,” Ostrom said.
He credited a great team at home at the farm and at Expo. MilkSource Genetics brought 36 animals to Expo and on some days there were as many as 30 people involved in prepping and showing the cattle, including family members.
He credited Jamie Endvick, manager of MilkSource Genetics, Joel Kietzman, MilkSource’s show manager and Ryan Krohlow, fitter for the show cattle and heifer manager at the farm “and dozens of others” who make a win like Martha’s possible.
As Supreme Champion, Martha received the Gregory Blaska Memorial Trophy and a $2,000 cash award.

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