Brown Swiss program helps kids purchase reg. animals

Wisconsin State Farmer

LAKE MILLS - For the sixth consecutive year the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association will make it possible for young people to get grants toward the purchase of a purebred Brown Swiss animal. Twelve youth have purchased Registered Brown Swiss heifers since the project started in 2013.

Las year's winners from the Share a Heifer program are (from left) Erin Strauss, Lake Mills, Norman Magnussen Committee member, Joey Opsal, Blue Mounds and Sam Ziegler, Freedom.

The program, run by the state organization, was made possible by a bequest from Nelson McCammon, who asked the state’s Brown Swiss Association to find a way to make it possible for more young people to get involved with the breed he loved.

The deadline for applications for the Nelson McCammon Youth Heifer Program is Feb. 1.  Winners will receive their grants at the Wisconsin Brown Swiss annual meeting March 3 at the Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld, WI.

The program – which is open to youth from all dairy breeds as long as they reside in Wisconsin – aims to help young people interested in working with dairy cattle gain hands-on experience with high quality registered Brown Swiss.

“By working with Brown Swiss in this manner, it is our hope that youth will learn to appreciate the many outstanding qualities and rewards the Brown Swiss breed offers,” states the mission statement of the program.

The committee intends that the youth participant to carry the animal as a 4-H, FFA or breed-sponsored youth activity for two years and they want the animal to be shown at the local county fair or youth show. The young people are encouraged to exhibit the Brown Swiss cow or heifer at any local, state or national Brown Swiss show. If the animal chosen is a milking cow, it must be on DHIA testing.

At the end of the two years during which the grant recipient has developed their animal, they can either sell the animal, with 25 percent of the proceeds going back to the heifer committee’s fund, or they can submit a report stating their intention to continue developing the Brown Swiss animal in their herd.

 Norm Magnussen, a member of the heifer committee explained that the committee intends for this to be a two-year program with applicants being youth between the ages of nine and 19. Applicants may choose to purchase cows or heifers and must be residents of Wisconsin.

As part of the program they must become members of the Wisconsin Junior Brown Swiss Association and the National Junior Brown Swiss Associations. They are encouraged to participate in other dairy activities besides showing, like junior outings that help them learn about the dairy industry, he said.

Award recipients will receive a grant for half of the total purchase price of a registered Brown Swiss female — up to $1,000. They will also get at least one adult and one junior member of the association to act as mentors as part of the program.

The registered Brown Swiss female for which the grant is used can be any age. So far nine Brown Swiss heifer calves have been purchased through the program.

Applications and project reports will be due to the McCammon Youth Heifer Program Committee by Feb. 1. They can be sent to Norm Magnussen, Box 146, Lake Mills, WI 53551.

Each year by Feb. 1, the earlier recipients provide the McCammon Youth Heifer Program committee with an annual report of what they have accomplished with their Brown Swiss female and of their personal growth in the Brown Swiss/dairy industry.

They also should tell the committee what their plans are for their next year’s project.
Magnussen said there’s more information about this and other programs, including application forms, at the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association website at