Judge Phil Topp from Botkins, Ohio will be standing in the center of the ring for the International Red and White Holstein Show this year at the World Dairy Expo, along with his friend and associate, Tanner Schmaling. Phil is excited to have the opportunity to sort through many respected animals and breeders.
Describe your background in the registered dairy cattle business.
I grew up milking registered Holsteins and Swiss with my parents, and two brothers, Keith andEric. My dad passed away when I was 8, which required my brothers and I to really step up on the farm. My brothers and I stayed together until six years ago, when we went our separate ways. I currently milk 30 cows in all different breeds with my wife, Carrie, and three kids, Aubree, Aiden, and Alaina.
Tell us how you got your start in the registered dairy cattle business.
Growing up, my family milked Holsteins, but in high school, we started being more involved with Brown Swiss as well. I have had the honor of being a co-owner of the Grand Champion Brown Swiss at World Dairy Expo in 1999 Hill-N-Dale Conquest Juana. I also bred and owned the Junior Champion Milking Shorthorn at World Dairy Expo in 2013. Since then, my family and I have had every breed. I really just have an appreciation for good cows, regardless of color.
Tell us about your judging experience.
I started judging as a kid through our local FFA and 4-H chapters. I really liked it, so as I grew
older I started judging local shows like county fairs around Ohio. The more I judged, the larger
the shows became. A few of the larger shows I have been able to judge include the Jersey Jug
in 2019, as well as several other breeds at the North American International Livestock
Exposition. I have also had the opportunity to judge shows in both Peru and Mexico, which was a very exciting experience. I have been at the center of the ring several times at World Dairy Expo, but the first time was in 2015, where I was the associate for Chris Lahmers for the
International Jersey Show. In 2019 I was selected to be the judge for the International Ayrshire Show, in 2021 I was selected to be Lynn Harbaugh’s Associate for the International Brown Swiss Show, and in 2022 I was selected to judge the International Guernsey Show. When I got the call that I was selected to be the judge for the International Red and White Show this year, I was ecstatic. It’s an honor for anyone to be chosen by respected breeders.
Tell us about your relationship with your associate, Tanner Schmaling.
After I was selected, I knew exactly who I would choose to help me sort through so many
animals. Tanner and I have grown very close over the last few years. The first time I worked with Tanner was at our state fair a few years ago. One of our Holsteins won the futurity, and I
remember him being almost more excited than us about it. Tanner’s genuine passion for cattle is through the roof, and we see them the same. He’s a very humble person, and there’s no one I’d rather have alongside me in the big ring.
Describe your goals for the future for both yourself, as well as the dairy industry.
I think it is very important that we push to get youth more involved. I love seeing younger kids
have passion for the industry, and as the years go on, we see less and less of this. Kids that are
getting started showing need to understand that success isn’t earned in a day, it is something
built over years of effort. As for myself, I’d like to broaden the horizon for my own breeding and doing more flush work. I’d also like to continue judging more shows, whether they’re in the United States or not.