BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — For the 2022 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder, returning home to farm was always a clear choice. Now, 30-year-old Mitch Kappelman manages his family’s dairy, Meadow Brook Farms. Because of his enthusiasm for dairy farming and the Registered Holstein® cow, Holstein Association USA is proud to honor Kappelman with the 2022 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award.
Located near Manitowoc, Wis., Meadow Brook Farms milks around 425 cows, three times a day, in a double-nine parallel parlor. The rolling herd average is just over 30,000 pounds of milk, with 1,230 pounds of fat and 927 pounds of protein. They are currently at 4.1% fat and 3.1% protein.
Through the years, Kappelman’s passion for agriculture was ignited as he competed in shows and activities like Dairy Bowl through the National Junior Holstein Association. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with a degree in dairy science in 2013.
After working as a herd analyst for a couple of years, Kappelman followed his heart back home to the farm. “I loved the genetics side of things and working with other farmers, but there’s nothing like working with your own cows,” he says.
Today, Kappelman is involved in all of the day-to-day activities at Meadow Brook Farms, where his biggest priorities are managing employees and cow health. He is always striving for new genetic goals with his Registered Holsteins, while remaining focused on keeping cows healthy and comfortable.
Kappelman has taken on leadership roles in his local Manitowoc County Holstein Association, serving on the board for six years. He’s also a graduate of Class 10 of the Holstein Foundation’s Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI). As he looks ahead, Kappelman plans to continue his involvement in the dairy industry, both on and off the farm.
“To win this award means that I’m on the right track,” he says. “It means I’m doing good things, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop. I want to keep going, I want to do more, I want to be better. And I’m excited for where that future is going to lead.”
About the Award
The Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award recognizes significant accomplishments of young Registered Holstein® breeders for their commitment to preserving the dairy industry and for achieving excellence in their daily lives. Mitch Kappelman will be recognized on July 1 during the 2022 National Holstein Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
— Holstein Association USA