All-American sweetheart and ‘the happiness of working with a cow.’

Delilah joins short list of Brown Swiss to go supreme at All-American in Harrisburg.

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Story and Photos by Sherry Bunting, from Farmshine, Sept. 28, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. – “It’s just overwhelming and a blessing to lead a cow like her. She is definitely a sweetheart,” says Kyle Barton of Copake, New York about Delilah.

The All-American Dairy Show judges thought so too. In fact, Delilah joins the famed Snickerdoodle as one of the only Brown Swiss champions to be named supreme champion over all breeds in the 55-year history of the All American Dairy Show (AADS) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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The top animals of the 55th All-American Dairy Show were homebred beauties. Supreme cow, heifer and bred-and-owned were selected Sept. 20 at All-American Dairy Show (AADS) in Harrisburg. From left are Mike Eby representing supreme heifer sponsor Allied Milk Producers ‘Powered By Milk’; Pennsylvania Dairy Princess second alternate Casandra Blickley;  Chase and Chip Savage of Union Bridge, Maryland with their supreme heifer, Savage Leigh Lalas, a fall calf that was junior champion of the open Holstein Show; Kyle Barton at the halter of Cutting Edge T Delilah EX-94, chosen supreme cow and supreme bred-and-owned after earning grand and senior champion of the open Brown Swiss Show; Donna and Mikey Barton; Jared Zimmerman representing supreme cow sponsor Cargill; Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Yvonne Longenecker; Harrison Frantz, show manager; Jon Parmer representing bred-and-owned sponsor M.H. Eby; Peter Vail, Marian Duksa and Ken Main of Elite Dairy; Pennsylvania Dairy Princess first alternate Gretchen Little; and Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding.

Cutting Edge T Delilah EX93 94MS, fresh in June with her fourth calf, was grand and senior champion of the open Brown Swiss Show and then captured AADS supreme on Sept. 20 in Harrisburg. Exhibited by Elite Dairy, home of Cutting Edge Genetics, Delilah was also the supreme bred-and-owned. Her dam was another of Kyle’s favorite cows to work with — Towpath Agenda Dancer.

Elite Dairy was founded in 2002 by Kyle’s grandfather Ken Main and his partner Peter Vail. Kyle’s brother Mikey, a recent Penn State animal science graduate, now manages the dairy. His uncle Lyn Main heads up the cropping and the commercial dairy at the Berkshire Valley farm located just over 100 miles away from New York City.

We caught up with Kyle a few days after the Harrisburg show as he prepared to head out to Madison, Wisconsin for the World Dairy Expo.

“She represents the breed so well with so much strength and width and power in her front end, but still showing a lot of dairyness with an awesome udder,” he responded when asked what makes Delilah special – other than her sweet personality.

uwAASupreme-0074.jpgIn fact, the AADS judges mentioned her strength and that awesome udder in their comments.

“It was honestly overwhelming,” Kyle reflects. “It’s not something you wake up thinking will happen. What makes it so rewarding is that she grew up on our farm since she was a calf in the hutch.”

He notes that having a homebred and home-raised animal do well is always a testament to everyone with a hand in caring for the animals at home and at the shows, and that care includes so many details, including Udder Comfort. “Everything fresh gets Udder Comfort, we use it a lot at the farm and the shows,” says Kyle.

Many who saw Delilah last Thursday thought she looked very competitive heading into Madison. But the folks at Elite Dairy don’t want to jinx it.

“A lot has to happen for her to get there,” says Kyle. That began with Kyle and a few others heading out last Wednesday morning to set up the pack. Another group started the trek with the cattle last Thursday night, stopping halfway to milk and chore everything on the trailer.

Kyle has shown Delilah at every show, except two, from the time she was a baby calf until now. She was previously reserve grand champion of the junior Brown Swiss show at the 2017 World Dairy Expo, reserve All-American 4-year-old last year and senior and grand champion of the open and junior shows at the Big E in 2017. She was All-American senior 3-year-old in 2016 and AA senior 2-year-old in 2015. At the 2016 World Dairy Expo, she was the intermediate and reserve as well as being intermediate and grand at the Eastern National that year.

“This, so far, is the highlight for me, but every time I walk out with this cow… it’s hard to top because of what it is like to lead her,” Kyle says with a nod to why Delilah is special to those who work with her.

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Delilah with her leader Kyle Barton, along with (l-r) Ken Main, Marian Duksa, Peter Vail, Mikey Barton and Donna Barton.

“I’m thankful to my grandfather (Ken Main), and to Peter (Vail), for giving me the opportunity to do what I do with her and to represent Elite Dairy. It’s awesome and humbling to be able to learn from the best in the business who are also so humble, like Tim Coon,” he says, noting that Tim gets the Elite Dairy cows ready at the shows.

While Kyle is a professional barber full-time, he stays involved with the cattle at Elite Dairy.

“The dairy industry has definitely helped me to mature,” says Kyle. “It has taught me a work ethic… to put my head down and push through to get a job done, that when something needs done, it doesn’t matter how long it takes or where you have to do it or what the weather is, you stay with it until the job is done. It has also taught me how to communicate and how to strive for something that you really want. It has molded me into the person I am today.”

For Kyle and his brother Mikey, cows equal happiness. “Dairy is a good way of life, and I know it’s tough with the economics, but I can’t imagine anything providing the happiness of working with a cow,” Kyle relates.

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