2023 Master Breeders

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2023 Master Breeder Awards

Historical Master Breeder

Walhalla Farms (1899-1962)

(Frank Freemyer, J. Frank Zoller, Mrs. Jessie T. Zoller)

Breakabeen, NY, Middleburg, NY, Rexford, NY

This year’s Historical Master Breeder had a tremendous influence on the early development of the Brown Swiss breed for over 60 years from 1899 to 1962. This year we recognize the Walhalla Farm of New York and the 3 owners over those 60 some years.

The Walhalla herd was founded in 1899 by Frank Freemyer (owner from 1899-1924) initially at Breakabeen, NY and then at Middleburg, NY. While taking a course of Agriculture at Cornell University, he was attracted by the sturdy and pleasing appearance of Brown Swiss and the recent record of the cow Brienz. By 1922, he had as many as 150 head and had sold more than 600 head in 26 different states and 5 foreign countries. He also had the first Swiss to go into Canada.

The September 1922 Bulletin cover shows one of two fine big dairy barns at Walhalla Farms in Middleburg, NY. Also shown is Mr. Freemyer and the cow, Edna C 3rd as referenced below.

If you have read the recent April Visiting the Past page in the Bulletin, you will see that Mr. Freemyer was appointed Secretary of Production when the Registry of Production (ROP) program was established in 1911. He was also the first to enroll his cows on the ROP program.

Also beginning about 1911, the herd traveled the show circuit east of the Mississippi for 10 years winning highest honors at the St. Louis exposition where it won ten blue ribbons, three championships and two diplomas. The herd was also recognized for its records of production. The cow, Iola 3923, produced 16,844 pounds of milk and 685 pounds of fat as a five-year old placing her 4th in her honor roll class. The cow Edna C 3rd, on the September cover, produced 16,496 pounds milk and 669 pounds fat, making her the World’s Record four-year old of the breed.

Mr. Freemyer developed the bull, Tom Phylis 1769, who was the first bull to have 6 daughters on the ROP list. Born in 1903 and registered by Walter Fish, Mystic, CT, Tom Phylis was sold to Adna Barnes of Burlington, CT and then to Freemyer, who eventually sold the bull to Mr. T.N. Vail, President of the Bell Telephone Co.   Your Historical Society has the yoke worn by Tom Phylis on display at the Historical Museum at the National Office.

In 1924 the Walhalla herd was purchased by J. Frank Zoller (owner from 1924-1932) of Schenectady, NY including the Walhalla name. Zoller, an officer at the General Electric Co., after a tour to Europe, was determined to have the best herd in the country. He found that in the Walhalla herd. He also bought splendid stock from various parts of the country. The herd was located at Hammond, NY and the Herdsman was R.C. Klussendorf.

In March of 1927, Zoller hired Harold C. Magnussen of Wisconsin as Herdsman. Magnussen served as manager of Walhalla Farms for 35 years until their dispersal in 1962.

Beginning in January 1926, Walhalla held the back cover ad of the Bulletin until the mid-thirties.   The December 1927 ad shows their success at various shows including their first Grand Champion bull, Maiden’s Vronicka’s College Boy. This began a series of 8 Grand Champion bulls from 1927 to 1950 as either Owner or Breeder. They also garnered Grand Champion cows in 1928, 1931, 1935 and 1939.

Also reported in December 1927 Bulletin, was the announcement of the cow Minnie W 11024, record breaking Fat record in the Mature Farmer’s Class of 639 pounds. In the January and November issues of the Bulletin in 1928 Walhalla ran 10-page ads.

In December 1928, it was reported that Walhalla had again bought the best cows as they purchased Cyrene L. 12308 owned by Orbec Sherry of Wisconsin and bred by A. Lilly of Minnesota and Cinnamon’s Maiden from N.C. Schmid of Wisconsin. Cyrene L. had recently become a world record cow in the 10 months Farmer’s class with 701 pounds of fat. Cinnamon’s Maiden was grand champion cow at the National Dairy Show in 1925 and is the dam of Maiden’s Vronika College Boy, grand champion bull in 1927 and 1928. The April 1930 Bulletin back cover shows these 4 famous animals, June’s College Girl, Swiss Valley Girl 10th, Silver Belle, and Maiden’s Vronika ‘s College Boy.

In September 1930, the Walhalla herd was moved to a new farm   near Rexford, NY. It consisted of 150 acres. The main barn was 131 feet long, with twin silos. At the end of the barn was a small room for milking 4 cows at a time, a milking parlor. The dedication program shows Mr. Zoller, Ira Inman, and Lewis Hull.

Zoller felt that new Brown Swiss blood needed to be brought to America, so in the summer of 1931, he imported two bulls, the second importation that year and the first animals since 1906. They were Imported Jack of Walhalla from Switzerland born in 1927 and Blankus of Walhalla from Mexico, born in 1930, whose sire and dam were imported from Switzerland.

Tragedy strikes on September 3, 1932, when Mr. Zoller was attacked by one of his bulls and died later that day. Zoller was 54 years of age. At the time of his death, he owned such famous producers as June’s College Girl, Swiss Valley Girl 10th, Swiss Girl F.C. and others. Following his death, his wife, Jessie T. Zoller   became owner and continued to operate the farm along with Manager Harold Magnussen until the herds dispersal in 1962. In the over 60-year history of Walhalla, Mrs. Zoller had the longest term (30 years) as owner and operator.

The Walhalla Farms Dispersal was held on Saturday, May 12, 1962, at Rexford, NY.   The sale averaged $422 on 140 head. The largest buyer was Derrick Webb of Shelburne Farm, Vermont, purchasing 23 head. Harold Magnussen was then associated with Shelburne Farm. Top selling animal was Walhalla Holly Della purchased by Meythaler-Cold Springs Farm of Monroe, WI for over $1000. The sale was managed by Norman E. Magnussen, Brown Swiss Sale Service, Lake Mills, WI.

Congratulations to Walhalla Farms as your 2023 Historical Master Breeder.


Active Master Breeder

y fair in the 20’s and at the Ohio State Fair in 1939. They also started official DHI testing in 1937.

La Rainbow Farm

Fred, Silas, Dennis & Brian Lammers, New Knoxville, Ohio

This year’s Active Master Breeder is truly a family and multi-generational affair, having been in the Brown Swiss business for over 105 years. This year we are recognizing the La Rainbow Farm, including Fred, Silas, Dennis, and Brian Lammers, of New Knoxville, Ohio.  

Fred Lammers started the herd with the purchase of a bull and a few cows in 1918, 105 years ago. Many area farmers bought Fred’s bulls to breed their cows and heifers in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Fred’s son, Silas, began showing his Brown Swiss at the count

The original farm was called the Rainbow Stock Farm, F.W. Lammers. When they went to register their prefix, they found Rainbow was already used. So, they added “LA” for Lammers to the front and La Rainbow was born in 1943.

During the 1950’s, Silas traveled by railroad box car with the La Rainbow show string out west. In 1957 and 1958, Dennis worked the show season at Lee’s Hill Farm. Silas was District 2 National Director from 1974-1982.  

The third generation, Dennis, continued with the La Rainbow show string and was best known for breeding the Butterfly cow family.  Here is Dennis with the 1998 Futurity winner, La Rainbow Ela Mandy.

Today, Brian, the next generation, provides the leadership for La Rainbow. Brian won the National Youth Achievement award in 1989. He then graduated with a Ph.D. in Animal Science from Penn State in 1998. Brian has now served 2 terms on the National Board of Directors and has been chair of the National Genetics committee for 5 years.

This Master Breeder award indicates that the nominees should have developed cow families that have impacted the breed. Well, La Rainbow has certainly filled that requirement. So, let’s look at some of those cow families.

The first impactful animal was back in 1955, when La Rainbow Ginger, became the first of 8 La Rainbow animals to become the All-American Futurity winner at the Ohio State Fair. Ginger also was the Grand Champion Female there that year for Silas and Dennis. Ginger sold later that fall in the Diamond Jubilee sale for $7200, was the second high selling female and purchased by Judd’s Bridge farm.

One of the most notable cow families is that of La Rainbow Butterfly ET, born in 1990. Butterfly is classified 3E-93 with a 93 mammary system. She has won the 4- and 5-year-old classes at the Ohio state fair, and in 1996 was first Aged Cow as well as Reserve Grand Champion. She has 2 natural and 38 ET offspring. Her daughters were competitive in the show ring. She has 7 daughters that have scored Excellent.

Her daughter, La Rainbow Fancy Girl was sold in the National sale and bought by Grant & Katie DeBruin. Fancy Girl is classified 2E94, became Reserve Sr. Champion at WDE and Reserve All American Aged Cow in 2003 and was the National Cow For All Seasons in 2004. Her 6/01 365-day record was 42,460 milk, 1668 fat and 1390 protein.

Another daughter, La Rainbow Party Girl was the 2000 All American Swiss Futurity winner at the Ohio State Fair. She is classified 2E91.

Butterfly’s daughter, La Rainbow Country Girl was sold in the National Sale to Mike Moyer. Her Starbuck daughter is Pot Luck SB Butterfly ET. This granddaughter hit the top in 2007 when she was Grand Champion at the Eastern National show, Reserve Grand at the Central National and All-American Aged Cow that year. SB Butterfly is scored 3E-94 with a E95 mammary system. She has 35 offspring.

In 2010 La Rainbow began doing IVF work. Brian bought Pot Luck SB Butterfly in the 2010 Elite Dairy Sale. He then sold one of her daughters, La Rainbow Bfly Sunkist ETV in the Midwest Revue sale to Richard Sparrow. Sunkist (pictured left) is scored 4E-94 with a 94 mammary. In 2019 Sunkist became a double winner as she was the National Total Performance Winner as well as the National Cow For All Seasons Winner.

The Butterfly family has two popular bulls, La Rainbow Bfly Dynamite and La Rainbow Bfly Skyhigh. For two years Dynamite was the top type bull of the breed. Now I would say that is a family that has impacted the Brown Swiss breed.

But there are other La Rainbow families we need to mention. The first is the Sweet Family beginning with La Rainbow Sweet Margarita. She is scored 2E-92 and a Superior Brood Cow. Her top record as a 5-year-old was over 40,000 pounds of milk. This family has many individuals with high genetic merits for type, milk, and type traits. Margarita is the great granddaughter of the first Sweet La Rainbow named animal, La Rainbow Sweet Cherish born in 1981. The Sweet family has produced 3 Futurity winners over the past 10 years. They are La Rainbow Sweet Milan ET in 2013, La Rainbow Sweet Silky ET in 2020 and La Rainbow Sweet Cheerios in 2022. Cheerios dam, La Rainbow Sweet Cheers ET was the first place 4-year-old at the Ohio State Fair last year. Cheerio’s daughter, La Rainbow Sweet Cheerful ETV was the 2nd high-selling animal in the World Premier Sale last year at $20,500. She is the 6th generation animal from Margarita.

Of the cows with a La Rainbow prefix, La Rainbow Sweet Silk is currently having the largest influence on the genetic pool of the breed. Silk has 5 daughters classified Excellent or nominated for All American. She has had 6 sons enter the AI program. For two years, Silk’s son, La Rainbow Sweet Silver was the top PPR bull. From the April Sire Summary, the top 6 bulls for PTAT (type) are all from the Sweet family. In total 10 of the top 20 PTAT bulls are from this family. So, if you are looking for type, you know where to go, look for a La Rainbow Sweet bull.

La Rainbow Farm has been Premier Breeder at the Ohio State Fair 9 times over an eleven-year period from 2009 to 2019. Here is a photo from the Ohio State Fair in 1988 with Silas, Dennis, Brian, and family.

Congratulations to the Lammers Family as the 2023 Active Master Breeder.