An Interview with an Expo Premier Breeder, Christy Ratliff

Take a moment to get to know the Premier Breeder of the 2021 International Jersey Show at World Dairy Expo, Madison, Wis., — Christy Ratliff, Garnett, Kan. She took a few moments to answer a few questions for the Jersey Journal between the trip to Madison and Louisville, Ky.

How did it feel to be awarded Premier Breeder of the International Jersey Show?

“The feeling of being named Premier Breeder was totally amazing, it never gets old. This is the best award of the show!”

What everyday tasks went into preparing your string for the International Jersey Show?

“The task of getting cows ready for Madison starts in June each year. This begins with trying to put a string of cows together that will do well and we make sure to have enough bred and owned cows to win Premier Breeder. Cows get fed four times a day and we try to wash them three times a week. The cows get fed differently so I make a feed sheet with each cow on it. This changes several times during the year. Also, I have Donald Richardson come every month and lead the show string.”

Tell me about the story behind the cow/s that won?

“The cows that won the award- DELIRIOUS is one I sold at Louisville last fall, she is now owned by Misty Meadow Dairy. ANNIE- (we call her Pistol Annie), she is by Angel EX-94%, then Alicia E-95%- three time National Champion. VIXEN- All American Milking Yearling last year, by the National Jersey Jug winner “Vancy”, then “Vision” E-95%. VICKI- Supreme Champion at Ozark Empire this year, she goes back to Velvet E-95%; she was sold in one of my first sales.”

What is your favorite memory from the International Jersey Show before this week?

“My favorite memory was when we were standing in the ring and they announced we were Premier Breeder. We were totally surprised and jumped up and down like kids.”

What does a show day look like for you at the International Jersey Show?

“Show day is a busy day. I plan to lead as many that day as I can if things are going my way. This means communication has to happen before the show starts.”

How many people are behind the scenes and what are their different roles?

“I have a great group of people behind me. Dan Fredrich and Donald Richardson make it so I can show. Caleb Peterson takes great care of my cows, helps us get there, and fills cows on show day. My fitter is always important at the show and gets the cows ready. The Leach family has become a big part of the show partnering on expenses, they are great help and seem like family. Donald and Dan milk the cows at the show and help with feeding.  Dan always has a drink for me at ringside.”

Are there any traditions you hold at shows, especially the International Jersey Show?

“A tradition at Madison is getting to see my Canadian friends.”