AGRICULTURE: A family affair

Genetics operation holds cattle auction

Elodie Reed

By Elodie Reed

Staff Writer

Just
The Facts

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“We do a lot with marketing and embryo transfer.”

- Sharyn Abbott, St. Jacobs ABC co-owner

RICHFORD — It was a quite a scene: lots of cows, mud, plenty of farmers, kids, food, drink, and a fast-talking auctioneer.

On Wednesday, St. Jacobs Animal Breeding Corp. held its first “Best of Both Worlds” elite cattle auction at one the St. Pierre farms, owned by Mark St. Pierre, in Richford.

“We just rented the farm the first of June,” said Sharyn Abbott, one of the owners of St. Jacobs ABC. “We just started operations here.”

The animal genetics venture is based in Franklin, where Abbott’s family business markets semen globally from bulls that they own in Wisconsin. Both Abbott and her husband, Tim, are plenty familiar with cows, raising them during childhood and into today.

“We both grew up on farms,” Abbott said.

The Abbotts also have worked or still work for the American Jersey Cattle Association, based in Ohio. Tim Abbott worked for ABS Global, a bovine genetics company, for two decades as well, and he continues to have a strong connection with the group.

“The bulls [are] housed in Wisconsin at ABS Global,” Sharyn Abbott said. In addition, St. Jacobs ABC works with female cows, housed all over the country and beyond.

“[The auction] is our female end of it,” she said. “We do a lot with marketing and embryo transfer.”

The end goal, Abbott said, is to have elite milking cows. This past Wednesday, St. Jacobs ABC held its event to showcase the daughters of their bulls. The auction saw 200 dairy cows sold, each going for an average of $5,575.

The cattle came from all over: Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, and, of course, Vermont.

So did the people. With more than 200 attendees, farmers from many of the 50 states, as well as Canada and Mexico, could be found milling around at Wednesday’s event. It was a family affair, with children dodging cattle in the mud and sitting attentively with their parents in the auction tent.

Families put the auction together, too. St. Jacobs ABC is run by Sharyn Abbott, her husband, Tim, and their two college-age daughters, Chelsea and Caitlyn, both of whom are studying dairy science at Virginia Tech. Richford couple Renee and Chet Baker managed the cattle herd for a week before the sale, and Mark and Amanda St. Pierre aided in the barn.

In addition, the Abbotts received help from Brian and Amber Craswell from Brian Craswell Auctions, Ltd. & Crasdale Farms in Prince Edward Island, and Simone Lalande and Kim Cote from Ferme Blondin in Quebec.

“It’s a family adventure,” Abbott said. She added that her family would like to have more events like this week’s auction. St. Jacobs ABC will be renting the Richford farm for the next three years, where they hope to bring the animals in their dairy family – many of whom are currently boarded – all under one roof.