The Dairy Shrine presents the honor of Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder to the Jerry and Phyllis Luttropp family of Lost-Elm Farm, Berlin, WI.
The Luttropp family earned this annual award as a progressive dairy breeder who excels in managing their dairy herd based on sound genetic and business principles. Jerry and Phyllis initiated Lost-Elm Farm upon Jerry’s return home from Vietnam in 1972 where Jerry earned the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism as an Army Sergeant. Jerry purchased some Ayrshire calves from his father, and the pair purchased some Holstein cows from Phyllis’s father. They built their herd up to 70 registered All-American milking Holsteins. Over the last four decades, Lost-Elm Farm has been home to four breeds. The first Brown Swiss entered the herd as a 4-H project, sparking the transition to all Brown Swiss. Their son Jason currently manages the herd, which he has shifted to primarily home-bred, All-American, production and index leading Jerseys.
Jerry and Phyllis’s children are Jeff, Jason, Jodi and the late William. The family’s dedication to the dairy industry is evident in the educational paths they chose. Jeff and Jason attended UW-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course, and Jodi studied Dairy Science and Life Sciences Communication at UW-Madison. The family can claim a myriad of accolades across the global dairy industry as well as within their local community. Jerry is a lifetime 4-H leader and coached the Berlin FFA judging team to a win in the national judging contest. Some of the committees he served include the Wisconsin Holstein Association Sale Committee and the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association board of directors. Over the years, he also achieved countless recognitions both for the farm and individually. Phyllis volunteers at the Berlin hospital, and the couple has also served the town of Aurora. Jeff won his state FFA degree in dairy proficiency. Both Jeff and Jodi found success in the showring in showmanship and with the family’s award-winning show herd.
Lost-Elm Farm has been named Premier Breeder eight times and earned several Champion and All-American honors at shows across the country. They’ve owned over 106 Excellent Jerseys, 54 Excellent Brown Swiss and 28 Excellent Holsteins – a large percentage of which have been home bred. They built their legacy by connecting with other successful and established herds and making key, strategic purchases which would disseminate excellent genetics throughout their herd. Notable cows they developed in the early ‘80’s include LOST-ELM ROCKETS BINGO and LOST-ELM BOOTMAKER JOY. More recently, LOST-ELM COLTON SATURN EX-95 has earned recognition at the Wisconsin Summer Championship Show and World Dairy Expo. LOST-ELM PRELUDE PIXY-ET 2E 92, LOST-ELM GLAMOUR and LOST-ELM ROCKETS BINGO are a few more of the Luttropps’ prominent homebred cattle. The Luttropps’ early leap into ET technology allowed them to make 48 bulls in three breeds for sampling in AI, and to complete numerous embryo export orders. ET calves helped grow the genetic progress of the herd and expand domestic marketing opportunities. Because each breed has its own unique differences and marketing opportunities, as the breeds in the herd have changed, so has the breeding philosophy. The program has shifted from a focus on dairy strength with the index system to showring type and longevity. One constant throughout the years and various breeds has been a focus on cow families. Many of the Jersey cows in the barn today are backed by 10 or more generations of Excellents. In 2021, 38 Lost-Elm Jerseys classified Excellent – and 32 of them were homebred. The current average classification score on their herd of Jerseys is over 90 points.
Kristin Paul, Director of Field Services for the American Jersey Cattle Association says, “While the cows are great, the best part of working with Lost-Elm is the people. I have always appreciated the honesty and integrity of their family. Jerry and Jason are thorough, accurate and fair in everything they do. They are diligent and work hard to achieve and surpass their goals but are very humble in the process.” Kevin Jorgensen, Senior Holstein Sire Analyst adds, “Some of the best breeders take one breed and make that their life’s work, but there are a few that can excel at multiple breeds and be at the top of all of them. That would describe the Luttropps at Lost-Elm.
The Luttropps will receive the Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder award at Dairy Shrine’s Awards Banquet on Monday, October 2nd in Madison, Wisconsin. Their portrait will then be displayed in National Dairy Shrine’s Dairy Hall of Fame and Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. For more information about Dairy Shrine, the banquet or this
year’s award winners, please contact Dairy Shrine at inf[email protected] or visit their website at www.dairyshrine.org.