Roland Ripley of Ripley Farms, Cortland, New York, was selected as the 2011 American Guernsey Association Master Breeder Award recipient. The award is given annually to an individual or farm that has made a significant lifetime impact towards the genetic improvement of the Guernsey breed through careful and successful breeding of Registered Guernseys. It was presented to Roland at the recent Annual National Guernsey Convention held in Colliersville, Illinois.
The presenter of the award, Blaine Crosser, Vice President of Select Sires, had the following comments concerning this year’s recipient. “Today I have the privilege to introduce the 2011 Master Breeder recipient. Words like these come to mind when we think of a “Master” – dedicated, hard working, caring, encouraging, successful at meeting goals, willing to share ideas and knowledge with others and having high standards of ethics. Our recipient has exhibited these characteristics throughout his life and during his years of involvement with the Guernsey breed. His most respected “master” attribute that I have observed is his priority to his faith first, his family second and the Guernsey cow as third with great attention to all three.”
A local fellow NY Guernsey breeder from Dryden, Richard Church relates these remarks, “Roland developed Ripley’s Guernsey Farm from the ground up. His father, Charles, died when Roland was still in high school. Following graduation, he married his wife, Patty, who became a valuable partner supporting the developing farm with her labor, family and faith.
In 1974, Roland was presented the Outstanding Young Guernsey Farmer award. Ripley Farms has been home to many outstanding animals including more than 30 homebred Excellent Guernseys. Many animals have excelled under the prodding of Roland, including Ripley Farms G Conni Rose, who is a prime example of the master breeding at Ripley Farms combining show winning type with elite production. She was named Grand Champion of the New York State Fair in 2007 and earned an All American nomination.
Ripley Farms has shown successfully at the state and national levels earning multiple All American nominations nearly every year. In 2009, Ripley Farms earned Double Gold Star Breeder recognition for the first time. Roland has always been driven to breed cows that will produce in the show ring and in the milk string. He takes great pride in his animals , recently receiving both Premier Breeder and Exhibitor at the 2009 New York State Fair.”
Roland has always supported and been involved in dairy activities. He is a member of the American Guernsey Association and the New York State Guernsey Breeders serving as secretary for more than 30 years. He is also a PDCA approved judge and has been privileged to judge the National Guernsey show in Louisville, the Canadian Royal Winter Fair and the National show in Australia, as well as many local and county shows in the Northeast. Roland has always been a staunch supporter of New York Guernsey sales and has spent many long hours on the road picking animals for the sales. When animals were in short supply, Roland has been known to return home and sell more of his own as well as support youth in show ring endeavors by leasing them Guernsey heifers. He and his wife were also awarded the Purple Ribbon Loyalty Award in 1997 for their valuable support of the Cortland County Junior Fair each year.
Ripley remains in high visibility at the home farm and at local, state and national shows and sales. He is often found instructing one of his 22 grandchildren or 3 great grandchildren on the fine points of exhibiting Dairy Cattle at the various shows. His daughter, Christel (Ripley) Axtell commented “If there is one thing I can say about Dad, it’s that he is always willing to help out another fellow breeder or child on their quest for excellence in the show ring. He has a passion for making others successful, even if it is his or his children’s competition. It is a quality I hope to continue to pass on to the next generation”.