The National Jersey Jug Futurity is known for the esteem of being the oldest and richest competition of purebred dairy cattle in the world. The man charged with the heavy task of placing 2019’s elite three-year-olds was Phillip Topp from Botkins, Ohio. In this exclusive Jersey Journal interview, Topp explains why this honor will forever be among his most treasured accomplishments as a judge.
Tell us a little about your dairy background. How did you first get involved with Registered Jerseys?
I have a small dairy farm in Botkins, Ohio where we milk 40 cows. Our herd is made up of all breeds. I bought my first Registered Jersey heifer when I was 16.
Was there a moment or experience where you knew you wanted to be a judge?
I had my first judging job when I was 18. I was extremely nervous then, but I enjoyed it a lot. Now that I have several years of judging experience, I find it very humbling when people have the confidence to nominate and vote for me to place their cattle.
Do any memories with and notable animals, especially Jerseys, stand out to you?
There are several accumulated memories over the years with many notable cows of different breeds that really stand out. There are just too many great ones to narrow it down for me.
Were there any favorite moments you’ve had in your judging career? Please describe.
I’ve had several moments that stood out to me, and the Jug is near the top of the list. It goes along with being associate to Mr. Lahmers at the 2015 World Dairy Expo International Jersey Show and being the official judge for the 2019 Ayrshire International.
What are some of the thoughts that went through your mind as you’d place a class?
As I had only one, yet very large, class of three-year-olds to judge, there are a lot of things that go through your head. First off, I look for a great udder, followed by dairy strength, good feet and legs. From there, it’s a matter of adding all those factors together to place the class.
Describe your emotions as you selected your winners and went to congratulate the exhibitors.
As they announced the top of the class, sixth through first, I enjoyed talking to exhibitors as they got placed and describing why they earned their spots.
Now a month out from Louisville, when you think back, what is the most memorable thing about this year’s Jersey Jug Futurity.
I am extremely honored to be part of the very rich history of the National Jersey Jug Futurity.