On June 28, Steven Brett Dixon of Conway, Missouri was presented the National Outstanding Young Guernsey Farmer award as part of the National Guernsey Convention and 141st Annual Meeting in Saratoga Springs, New York. The award is presented annually to a Guernsey breeder under the age of 35 who has made a significant impact on the Guernsey cow and who shows a bright future in the industry.
Dixon and his wife Jessica and son Diesel, who is almost four, milk 70 head of Guernseys, Ayrshires, Holsteins and Jerseys under the name Stil Dreamn Dairy. Brett finds each breed to have their own pros and cons but feels Guernseys come to the top by excelling with high component milk, easier temperament, are more suitable to grazing and have more success in the show ring—making them more of a marketable and profitable cow.
Brett and Jessica work hard as a team to breed for a solid and complete cow that will last for a long time, and don’t tend to follow the trends of what is “hot” if the sire doesn’t meet their needs. Feet and legs, udder quality, components, body depth and strength are all very important traits for them when making mating decisions. While still farming with his father Keith and sister Katie, the Dixon family topped the national sale in 2007 with Dix Lee Tiller Joke, who has gone on to become a household name in many Guernsey herds through the influence of her sons: Jackpot, Judgment, Lone Star, Jester and Jaguar. Joke also went on to become National Grand Champion for her new owners, Springhill.
While Brett has a taken a flexible full-time job at a local handmade furniture store to bring in additional income to work toward their goals for the future, he and Jessica own and manage their own 100-acre farm and rent an additional 100 acres of haylage and pasture land, where they focus on intensive grazing practices. With such busy schedules and a growing son, Brett and Jessica have designated duties. Jessica manages the calves and Brett manages the nutrition and AI work while they jointly run the farm and do some hoof trimming and vet work. Together, they are the only labor force on the farm, with the help of their young son. Securing their son’s future in the dairy has been their most important goal.
Wesley Miller of North East, Maryland was named as runner-up. Miller, upon graduating from Penn State, returned to the family farm to manage the dairy. His focus is to transition his herd to be exclusively Guernsey and then to market direct to the consumer with A2A2 Guernsey milk.