Contact Us   |  
World Ayrshire Conference: The Amish Angle
By David Jons

A tour bus ride from New York State to Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 24th to visit the oldest Amish settlement in America was the start of phase II for the World Ayrshire Conference.

Attendees started with a self-guided tour of The Amish Village, viewing a one room Amish School House, Blacksmith Shop, Gift Shop and numerous other buildings and displays. After lunch at the Amish Village attendees were given a guided tour through an 1840’s Amish Farm house.  


United Nations - Ayrshire breeders John Eagles from Australia (left), Steve McDonald from the United States (middle) and Willie Whiteford from the United Kingdom (right) discuss the Ayrshire breeds international appeal. 

 A bus tour of the Amish farms surrounding Lancaster followed with the tour guide explaining that the average Amish farm consist of 60 acres with many growing tobacco and dairying. Many Amish families have at least 7 children and children attend a one room Amish School usually located within 1.5 miles of their home. Most of the 297 one room Amish Schools in Lancaster County have 20 to 30 students taught by young single Amish women that teach grades 1 thru 8, students attend school up to the eighth grade.


Arriving at S&M Ayr Farm in Pennsylvania in mid-afternoon the attendees were able to view this Ayrshire herd owned by Mike Zook and family.


Mike Zook visits with attendees as they tour his herd. 
Stressing longevity, this 70 cow herd boasts 14 cows that have produced over 100,000 pounds of milk and are still milking, a cull rate under twenty percent and numerous dam-daughter pairs in the milking herd.


Just one shining example of the longevity of the herd is Marian, a VG-87 cow born just a few days before Bill Clinton was elected to his second term as president of the United States.  Born October 28, 1996, Marian, has produced 286,449 lbs. of milk, 10,939 lbs. of fat and 8,918 lbs. of protein.


May EX-90 

Another herd favorite is May EX-90, a beautifully uddered young cow that freshened for her first lactation at 1 year 9 months, second lactation at 2 years 8 months and was just fresh on September 21st for her third lactation at 3 years 7 months.

A great dinner prepared by the Zook family for the attendees capped off the visit.