2021 Active Master Breeder Award
Elite Dairy, Ken Main and Peter Vail, Copake, New York
It was 2002, when Ken Main and Peter Vail joined together to establish Elite Dairy. Their goal was to buy the best and make them better. And that’s exactly what they have accomplished.
Their first investment in 2003 was Top Acres M J Peggy Two ET. Peggy was the All-American Jr. 2-Year-Old in 2003 and repeated in 2004 as the All-American Jr. 3-Year-Old. That same year, the Elite Dairy facilities were built at Copake, NY.
In 2004, they purchased Hill-N-Dale Co Swallow ET and Arthurst Garbro Dixie ET, both who were named All-Americans that year. Elite continued to buy, sell, and breed the top end of the Brown Swiss breed. Over the next 16 years, animals owned or bred by Elite amassed over 40 All-American recognitions as well as some 20 Reserves and 28 Honorable Mentions.
Their first Grand Champion at WDE was in 2010, when Old Mill JP Grace topped the 5-year-old class and went on to be crowned Grand Champion. They purchased Dublin-Hills Treats in 2007. In 2011, Treats was one of only two cows of any breed to be named Grand Champion at Harrisburg, Madison, and the Royal, all in one season. Elite’s breeding was recognized in 2011 when Cutting Edge B Gretchen-ET was All-American Sr. 2-Year-Old. Gretchen as a 4-year-old in 2013 was Grand Champion at WDE and at the Eastern National.
Hitting their stride in 2014, Elite garnered 6 All-Americans, including Aged Cow Eloc Wagor Kandid who was Grand Champion at WDE.
In 2015, Cutting Edge T Delilah becomes All-American Sr. Two-Year-Old. She is owned by grandson Kyle Barton. In 2016, Delilah becomes Reserve Grand in the Open Show, Grand of the Jr. Show, and Reserve Supreme of the Jr. Show.
The year 2018 begins with Delilah, now a five-year-old, being Grand at the Eastern National. Moving to WDE at Madison, Delilah becomes Grand of the Brown Swiss Show and then becomes the Supreme Champion of World Dairy Expo 2018. Once again, in 2019 under new ownership, Delilah repeats as Supreme Champion at WDE for the second year in a row.
To round out this story, on September 4, 2019, we witnessed “The Sale Like None Other”: The Elite Dairy Dispersal. There were two record-breaking sale prices for Brown Swiss. First Delilah sold for a record $210,000 to Dr. Kenny Joe Manion in partnership with Ken Main. Following closely behind was Cutting Edge Thunder Faye at $175,000. A total of 155 head averaged $8,948, another record dispersal sale.