2019 Master Breeder Awards
2019 Active Master Breeder
The story goes that this year’s Active Master Breeder’s first calf was brought home in the back seat of his parent’s car.
L-R: Roger Neitzel, Kathy Demay, Gordon Demay, Russ Giesy
Drivers on the New York State Thruway that passed that car were amazed when they saw the calf looking out the back window. That calf was Kay Kay and this year’s Active Master Breeder is Gordon, Kathy and Jason DeMay, Palmyra, New York.
Gordon grew up on his parent’s Empire Farm. The DeMay family has owned registered Brown Swiss since 1950. Gordon farmed in partnership with his father, Maynard, until his retirement and dispersal. Gordon and Kathy then began their own Towpath Farm in 1979 and moved to the current farm Christmas Day 1979. Towpath was home to 120 registered Brown Swiss. In 2009, Gordon and Kathy had a sale selling most of their animals. Shortly thereafter, their son, Jason, his wife Amber and now 3 children, returned to the home farm with his herd. It is now operated as Towpath/Empire Farm, milking about 70 head.
The DeMay family has been very active participating in shows. While in partnership with his father and as a member of Coventry Swiss Syndicate, Gordon worked with some outstanding cows on the show circuit. One such cow that everyone will know was Vine Valley Paul LuAnn. Born in 1967, she was purchased by DeMays after she became All American 2 year old in 1970. LuAnn was classified 5E at 15 years of age, was a Superior Brood Cow and an “Elite” cow. She was Total Performance winner at both the Eastern and Central National shows and Reserve All American Aged Cow in 1974. She was the National Total Performance winner in 1979. Her lifetime production was over 232,000 pounds of milk and 10,000 pounds of fat. The current herd includes ninth generation “EX” Towpath Agenda Lark, and over 20 milking cows from this family. Luann’s headstone is located at Brigeen Farm where she spent her final days. DeMays also purchased her full sister Vine Valley Paul Patsy 5E 90. In the mid-90’s, half of the milking herd were descendents of these two cows. Approximately 30% of the herd traces back to their legacy.
In 1975, Gordon had the Eastern National Grand Champion with Maple Shade Stretch Gilda (Coventry Swiss) and followed in 1976 with the Eastern Grand again with Needmor Lyric J owned by Maynard and Gordon. Another cow of theirs, Little Hills Stretchy Ozzie, was the Total Performance winner at the 1975 Eastern Show. The farm has won Premier Breeder several times at the New York State Fair.
At the 1983 Pennsylvania National Sale, Gordon & Kathy purchased the high selling cow, Arnola Louie Jessie as a 4 year old. Bred by last year’s Historical Master Breeder, Roy Arnold, Jessie was developed into a 5E-92 point cow at 18 years of age. She was a Superior Brood Cow, Elite cow, and produced over 239,000 pounds milk, 9900 pounds fat and 8346 pounds protein. Her son, Towpath Telstar Aytola ET put his mark on the breed and was one of the most popular bulls in the early 90’s. Aytola was one of the top PTI sires and sired over 2500 registered offspring with 6745 daughters on test.
Most recently Cutting Edge T Delilah, WDE 2018 Supreme Champion, is a daughter of Towpath Agenda Dancer, who was sold as a calf at the Towpath Dispersal and purchased by Elite Dairy.
Towpath Emerald Wish 5E 91, owned by Jason, recently celebrated her 18th birthday. Her dam came from a pick of a flush from Whizbang in the 1999 national sale. 30% of the current herd is derived from her breeding.
Gordon is a graduate of the New York State Agricultural and Technical College at Alfred, New York, majoring in Animal Husbandry. Gordon has served as President of the New York Brown Swiss Association, was chairman of the National Type Committee, member of Dairy Shrine, Farm Bureau and the New York PDCA Board. He served as District One National Director for 6 years from 1980-1987. Kathy taught school for 30 years and then served as a principle for 14 years.
Gordon and Kathy have one son, Jason, who is now in partnership, using his grandfather’s prefix, Empire Farm and one daughter, Kelly. Kelly lives in Rochester and is Vice-Pres. at AXA Advisors. Kelly owned one of the first 94-point cows, Laubs Jade Sheree. Sheree is 5E- 94 with 252,000 pounds milk, 11037 fat and 8823 protein. You can see these cows produce and produce for a lifetime. Sheree was Grand at the 1997 NY state fair, 2nd Aged cow at the Eastern National in 1998 and Reserve Grand at the New York State Fair in 1999.
More recently, Shelburne Legacy Bonnie, owned by Jason, is another 94-point cow in the DeMay herd. She also has over 224,000 pounds of milk lifetime. Bonnie’s Victor daughter was sold at the National Sale.
Congratulations to the 2019 Active Master Breeder award, Gordon, Kathy and Jason DeMay.