Ever-Green-View farm ships bovine embryos globally
Tom Kestell began milking cows more than 60 years ago, and over the years his family has developed a love of Holstein cows, a Wisconsin hallmark and a pasture mainstay.
Breeding-age heifers at Ever-Green-View farm
The 130-cow herd at Ever-Green-View farm, in the Sheboygan County community of Waldo, produces milk that is made into Italian cheeses at a local cheese factory. It’s a familiar story that helped make Wisconsin America’s Dairyland. But it doesn’t end there.
Kestell, his wife Gin, and son Chris and wife Jen run the farm and pay scrupulous attention to every aspect of dairy production. For 12 years, the family’s dairy herd has been named a Herd of Excellence by the Holstein Association USA.
That attention to detail and love of dairy production led the Kestells to build a related business that has shipped tens of thousands of cow embryos overseas to help build and strengthen the international dairy industry.
Bovine brilliance spans the globe
Ever-Green-View’s embryo business has earned the Kestells a global reputation. In the past 40 years, its embryos have been sent to more than 30 countries.
“We’re one of the largest exporters of embryos in the world,” said Kestell, whose business sent embryos to nations such as Tanzania, Pakistan, China, Japan, Russia, and Canada in 2022 alone.
Kestell is devoted to spreading the genetic excellence that has resulted in his family farm developing some incredibly productive cows. For example, in 2016, the average U.S. dairy cow produced 22,770 pounds of milk, but one of Kestell’s cows, named My Gold, produced 77,480 pounds that year, making the cow the nation’s most productive.
“I think about improving Holstein genetics around the world and how, by doing so, the world will improve the nutrition of dairy cattle and people,” Kestell said.
Developing markets in developing nations
The addition of Tanzania, a developing East African nation heavily dependent on agriculture, was a first for Ever-Green-View, and was made possible partly by a $10,000 International Market Access Grant from WEDC.
Kestell had met representatives from a Tanzanian dairy farming operation while attending a seminar in the United Arab Emirates. But because of travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel to Tanzania was out of the question. So, Kestell was able to use the grant funding to hire consultants to facilitate the sale. He hopes to be able to visit Tanzania in person one day to share his knowledge of dairy farming.
“It’s the very beginning of modern dairy farming in Tanzania,” Kestell said, noting that farmers there could use embryos with the same genetic makeup of Ever-Green-View’s prize-winning stock to boost milk production in the African nation.