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Breeding for the Next Best One

By Melissa Hart

“My goal is to breed top-end show cattle that will be in the middle of the ring for champion at Madison,” emphatically stated by fifteen-year-old Isaac Folts of Folts Farm in North Collins, NY.


The youngest of four boys and the son of Josh and Ginny Folts, Isaac owns 40 head of Registered Holsteins and a couple of Jerseys. “The majority of the show cattle, I own by myself, but there are a few partnership animals owned with my older brother.” His siblings include J.R., Gunnar, and Zane.


Isaac has been hard at work on remodeling a barn for his show cows that will have six pack pens and each pen will accommodate two milk cows or 3-4 heifers or 4-5 calves. Currently the Folts milk 110 head with two Lely robots. Isaac and his brother Zane and their parents monitor the herd. After operating a successful trucking business, the Folts began milking cows five years ago.

Making all the breeding decisions he said, “I believe that every bull has it’s place. Right now, I’m using Dundee, Goldwyn, Awesome Unstopabul, Doorman and Master.” He continued, “I use a little more Unstopabul because he gets the cows settled.”

While most of his breeding decisions revolve around type, Isaac has dabbled in genomics. “I used to be into genomics a little bit more and I still try to breed for it, but I’m not buying them anymore.” One of his highest genomic animals is red.

Currently, Isaac is flushing several cows. Curr-Vale Brokaw Haven is one he is flushing to Awesome  to make full sisters to J-Folts Awesome Hokulani. “Hokulani is the cow that I sold to Dave Dyment and Mike Duckett and was she was nominated All-American last year as a Sr.2-year-old.” He continued, “Since I am designing and financing the showbarn myself, I used this money as seed money to get started on my barn.” Haven goes back to the Hezbollah family. 

Another cow is Gen-Com Aftershock Lynn. She is a daughter of Idee Goldwyn Lynley EX-94 who was Intermediate Champion at World Dairy Expo in 2010. “Lynn is the dam to J-Folts Sandstorm Lydia, who was reserve junior champion of the junior show at New York Holstein State show this year. I flushed Lynn to Sid, Master, Moovin, Doorman, Denver, and Warrior,” Isaac commented.

Oakfield RB Shantay is a daughter of Stony-Pillar Sharmaine-Red EX-94 2E. “Shantay was third at expo as a milking yearling. Although she has not responded well to IVF, I do have a couple of Avalanche calves and I am currently flushing her to Warrior,” explained Isaac.

“Also, Tusc-Vu Avalanche Cali. Cali is my Sr.3-year-old who I had great success with this year, but I have always felt that she was not at her full potential and next year would be her year.” He continued, “She was tenth junior as a fall calf at World Dairy Expo and this year she was grand of the junior and open show at Nioga, second open, first junior, and reserve grand of junior show at Cortland.” She was also the first junior at the NY State Holstein Show and second junior at the North American Open Dairy Show in Circleville. She has been flushed to Goldwyn.

Isaac is driven by three things: His competitiveness and passion for the dairy industry, the desire to breed a great cow and the people who have encouraged him along the way. New York Holstein breeders have been very influential in his life. “Tyler and Kelly Reynolds took me under their wing and helped me a lot. Katie Coyne mentored me also. Johnathan and Alicia Lamb have been great to me.” He continued, “Joe Nash and Ryan Lawton, have been great inspirations for me. But overall, my father has inspired me the most because he is a first-generation dairy farmer and has taught me that you can achieve any dream if you work hard enough.”

Isaac has been learning how to ultrasound and breed cows, thanks to the neighbor, Connor O’Gorman at Mammosers Dairy. “I would like to become good enough to do my own embryo work,” he said.

Majoring in dairy science at Cornell University is the next big goal after high school graduation. And then he would like to go back to the family farm and continue to breed great cows.  Isaac’s plan for the herd is simple, “All of my cows are for sale and I’m always breeding for the next best one. But, the next best one is also for sale.”

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