By MELISSA HART
LOWELL, Mich. — The Michigan Holstein Assoc. (MHA) has awarded several young talents in the past and this year is no exception; the MHA Outstanding Young Breeder award recognizes a Michigan Registered Holstein breeder between the ages of 21-40 who has successfully managed a dairy herd and exemplifies attributes of an accomplished Holstein breeder.
The 2013 winner is the couple of Moss and Renee McCauley of Lowell. Tumbleweed Holsteins and Jerseys have been the heart of the McCauleys’ breeding efforts, and Nugentdale Holsteins is where they make their home and hone their breeding and management skills.
The couple received a double dose of cultivation of their love for the Holstein cow and their desire to begin their own herd. Moss’ father, Alan, was instrumental in teaching him at a young age to take care of the cattle and pay attention to the breeding decisions.
“Alan helped Moss develop his ability to take care of cows and treat them well, as well as emphasizing the importance of cow families when making breeding and marketing decisions,” explained Renee.
Her side of the family handed out plenty of encouragement to the young couple as well. Although her parents, Terry and Jean Nugent, made a successful team working side by side on the farm, what they offered Moss and Renee were from different angles.
“While both my parents were involved, my mom is really the one that taught us the value of being vigilant in care and monitoring of the entire herd,” Renee said. “She also has a keen interest in breeding and improving the next generation.
“As for my dad, he demonstrated how you can make anything happen and also the importance of loyalty. He also showed our family the ability to work hard, but still have time for industry involvement and family.”
The industry is important to Moss and Renee, as evidenced by their involvement in many areas. They are active not only with their local 4-H group but have exhibited at the state and national levels, taking cows they’ve bred and developed on the tanbark trail.
Spreading their fondness for the purebred industry, they are enthusiastically involved with their nieces, nephews and local youth with developing and showing cattle.
While Moss is the manager of the dairy, taking care of the herd health, breeding and managing the young stock, Renee keeps on top of the registrations, records, show calves and heifers – and most important, Cash management: Their toddler-age son, Cash McCauley.
Their long-term goal is to have a sustainable family farm to transition to the next generation, while their goal with the herd is to continue to evolve and improve from generation to generation with a focus on quality in genetics, milk and environment. Breeding decisions for the herd revolve around correcting faults, type, production and longevity.
Cow comfort and increasing milk production per cow are daily goals for the McCauleys.
In 2009, Moss was given the coveted Klusendorf-MacKenzie award at World Dairy Expo. He and Renee have served the MHA in several capacities, including as co-chairs of the Show Committee. Renee is editor of the MHA flagship, the Michigan-Indiana Holstein News.