Brandon Ferry, World Dairy Expo 2023 Milking Shorthorn Judge - Cowsmo

Brandon Ferry, World Dairy Expo 2023 Milking Shorthorn Judge

Brandon Ferry, World Dairy Expo 2023 Milking Shorthorn Judge

Brandon Ferry will be making his expo debut in the Milking Shorthorn ring at World Dairy Expo next to his friend and associate, Mike Gregory. Brandon is honored to have the opportunity to stand in the center of the ring along with many respected breeders and exhibitors.

Describe your background in the registered dairy cattle business.

I grew up in Pickett, Wisconsin on my parent’s, Tim and Lisa’s farm. We primarily milked Holsteins with a few Jerseys. I purchased my first registered cow at the Moy-Ayr dispersal which was “Moy-Ayr Hermans Melvina.” With her, I showed my first time at the World Dairy Expo that fall and several other shows in the next few years. With Melvina I was able to exhibit at the Wisconsin Junior State Fair. There I met Rick and Paula Bovre, where Paula asked me if I would be interested in working at their sales arena well known as the Great Northern. The following year Rick purchased a red fall calf for me named Platte-vu Reg Fire-Red at the Pioneer Dairy Classic sale. After purchasing her, I tied with Chad Ryan at several shows and began doing nightline for him and Jason Danhof. After that I was hooked on the registered cattle and show circuit. Now Shianne and I own a diverse range of cattle breeds, including Jerseys, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, and Milking Shorthorns. However, our primary focus remains on Holsteins, a journey that has taken us from our humble beginnings in Pickett, Wisconsin to the vibrant world of cattle breeding and showcasing.

I live in Hilbert, Wisconsin along with my wife, Shianne, and four kids Bryleigh, Ryker, Corbin, & Ledger. We own and operate Fer-Crest Farms. This past Spring we downsized our herd and are focused on elite pedigree cattle and genetics that we merchandise from. I have been privileged to judge several shows throughout North America, such as the All-American Junior Jersey show, as both the lead and associate Judge of the International Junior Holstein show, along with many other local, state, and national shows across the country. In 2019, I was able to travel to Bogata, Columbia for the national Jersey show. I travel to various shows either working for others or managing my own large tie-in groups including the Midwest spring show, Wisconsin State Show, the North American International Livestock Exposition, as well as World Dairy Expo. Along with working show in strings, I work numerous sales throughout the year.

Tell us about your first judging experience.

The first show I judged was the Sheboygan County Roundup, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I was always confident in my placings and the way I was able to see cattle. Initially, I was very involved in 4-H judging for several years and was fortunate with a lot of success in my 4-H career due to the coaching we received from Chad and Amy Ryan, as well as Chris Pollack. They taught me about the functionality traits in seeing good cattle, as well as many other important lessons. In my first few years, reasons were a struggle for me. Amy taught me a lot about terminology and how to use it. I still use a lot of that terminology when judging today.

When I got the phone call asking if I would accept the lead role to judge the International Milking Shorthorn Show, I was truly honored. Personally, it’s an honor to get the privilege to evaluate cattle from a different breed than you are known for. It’s an honor to do it at any show, but especially on the colored shavings.

Tell us about your relationship with your associate, Mike Gregory.

Mike was my choice as an associate because Mike and Michelle have become good friends with Shianne and myself over the years. Through our friendship grew a partnership in the Milking Shorthorn breed. We began purchasing a few heifers with them and have begun flushing some cattle with them as well. Without them, we would not have had the success in the Milking Shorthorn ring we have had thus far. Mike has a true passion for the Shorthorn breed and the ability to see the potential in one is second to none. I wanted an associate who I knew would be unbiased and give me their true and honest opinion, Mike is the perfect fit.

Tell us about any special cows that you have had the opportunity to be a part of.

Of all the great cattle I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of, the best was TJ Classic Minister Venus-ET. While I was clipping for a JMS sale, Greg Bourne consigned some embryos from Stephan Sparkler Vera to the sale. We purchased them, and got to know Greg and his family. A few months later he asked if we would have recips available to implant other embryos on a partnership deal. Venus was a result of that arrangement. She was born, and had a very successful show career as a calf and yearling. We agreed she would head to Bournes to calve, as they were set up to deal with a potential show cow more appropriately than we were. She calved as a really exciting 2 year-old, but had a very immature udder. She calved again as a 3 year-old, and was everything we hoped for. We had a ton of interest in her that fall. In Louisville Greg, Joel, and myself decided to price her. River Valley Farm bought her just prior to walking in for the jersey jug that day. That afternoon she was the winner for her new owners and the next day she was Intermediate Champion. When we sold her she was short bred and ended up checking pregnant to that same service. The following year, she calved in just as we had hoped and the way everyone at River Valley envisioned her to. That year she went on to be named Grand and Supreme Champion at both World Dairy Expo and the All-American Jersey Show.

Describe your plans looking into the future

As for judging, I would like to continue building my resume and eventually judging more International shows. Traveling to Australia has always been on both Shianne and I’s bucket lists, so to get to travel there and judge cattle would truly be an honor. We plan to continue breeding and marketing elite genetic cattle, with the hopes of breeding more champions whether it’s for ourselves or some we sell to others.

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