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Bringing home banners: Mason Ziemba

Progressive Dairy Editorial Intern Matti Leak Published on 07 October 2021

EX-90, EX-91, EX-94. Four Junior All-American Holstein nominations. Breeder of the Honorable Mention All-American Holstein Junior Two-Year-Old in 2020 and two Junior Jersey All-American nominations.

Not a bad resume for a high school sophomore.

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It’s obvious from a casual conversation with the 15-year-old that Mason Ziemba knows cows. Rattling off a few of his favorite bulls and brood cows in the Holstein and Jersey breeds with the ease of someone discussing the weather, he lists some of his favorite traits of each animal and what he would do to fix them. An instrumental part of Ziem-Barb-Way (ZBW) Genetics of Durhamville, New York, Mason owns 30 head of registered show cattle alongside his parents, Kevin and Barb.

Having been raised in the dairy industry, Mason has always been exposed to showing cattle. It took one showmanship win to spark the passion inside of him, one that isn’t going away any time soon.

“Winning is great, but it’s not always winning that keeps me going,” says Mason. “Sometimes losing is the best motivator and makes you want to win even more.”

An accomplished leadsman, this year alone Mason has won the titles of Master Showman at the New York Spring Show and Premier Exhibitor at the Eastern New York Summer Jersey Show. He also claimed the first place spot in the youth judging contest at the New York State Show this past year. His father, Kevin, coaches the Cornell Dairy Judging team, and Mason often attends practices with him.

During the summer, you can find Mason washing his show heifers, breaking them to lead, doing regular chores around the farm and helping where needed. When school is in session, he splits his time among classes, soccer practice and his cows. As a midfielder for his competitive soccer team, Mason has traveled as far as Hawaii to the American Youth Soccer Organization National Games, where his team placed in the quarterfinals.

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With 30 head of Holsteins, Jerseys and a few Brown Swiss, Mason stays busy preparing his animals to show, which is a year-round process.

“I put a pretty big focus on nutrition,” says Mason. “A lot of exercise and working with the heifers, too. Washing them and walking them so they’ll perform well.”

While Mason is primarily responsible for youngstock, he still is heavily involved with animals after they’ve freshened and are shipped to a nearby facility for milking.

Some of Mason’s most recent successes include breeding ZBW M KD Lori VG-88, a King Doc who was nominated Junior All-American in 2018 and then sold in the 2019 Best of Triple-T and Heath sale. Currently owned by Siemers Holsteins and Arizona Dairy Company, Lori earned the title of Honorable Mention All-American Junior Two-Year-Old in her 2020 campaign.

Mason has made his presence known in the Jersey realm as well, owning a junior All-American nominated winter yearling and milking yearling this past year and breeding several class winners. He credits his love for Jerseys to one cow, ZBW Mason’s Remake Victoria. One of the first Mason ever bred, Victoria would win the New York State Show three times and be a foundational brood cow for Mason.

When it comes to breeding, Mason carefully examines his cows before deciding a mating.

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“I look at their faults,” Mason says. “I also look at the daughters of bulls I would like to use to determine what kind of calf I’m going to get. Breeding for cows with really good udders that milk well is a priority for me.”

With several of his animals bearing his prefix, Mason is excited for the upcoming fall show season.

“I’m really excited about all the young calves I’ve had born with my prefix this year,” Mason says. “One in particular is ZBW Masons Kid Rock Wish, she’s an April 2021 calf that hasn’t seen a show yet due to a hernia that’s taken a while to heal. Wish had a successful surgery and is almost fully recovered; she looks exceptional, and I’m excited to see her in the ring.”

In early August, Mason found some success in the New York State Holstein, Jersey and Red & White shows. ZBW-Ziems Listen To Me-Red, Mason’s first EX-94 cow, was named Grand Champion of the Red & White Junior Show, Reserve Senior Champion and Honorable Mention Grand Champion in the Holstein Show. ZBW M Denver Serenity, Mason’s spring calf, claimed the title of Champion Bred and Owned Heifer of the Junior Show. Mason also bred the Intermediate and Reserve Grand Champion of the Jersey Junior Show, the second place senior 2-year-old, ZBW Masons Fizzy Cola. He owns Four-Hills Casino Big Bucks, second place junior 2-year-old and Honorable Mention Intermediate Champion of the Junior Show.

It’s safe to say Mason has already established himself among the elite breeders in the Holstein and Jersey breeds, and you’ll be hearing his name associated with many show winners in the future. end mark

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