The Jessica Story

“Just a few bids on a nice young calf that was in my price range as a 16yr old, when I was helping lead at the Northern Lights Sale.” It all began there……Steve said.
Working on the farm with Geoff & Rosa, Steve bought a few animals over a five-year period, “not many, just enough to have something I called my own”. That’s exactly where the cow family started at Elmar.
The Jessica family can be traced back through the Holstein pedigrees to Ingloston Mooie Triumph 3131 born in 1926 – 95 years later those genetics have spread far and wide.
The calf was Barkly Starbuck Jennie ET VG87. Jennie went on to be a 4-star brood cow. A big raw-boned black cow; typical Starbuck attitude as she waltzed through the seven double up dairy.
After Steve’s grandfather Martin Hore passed away, he received a small amount of money. Enough for a feed at the pub nowadays, but in the 80’s it was enough to single flush the Starbuck to Bridon Astro Jet when the ET program was happening.

As luck would happen it was a heifer. Steve wasn’t fussed on the name Jennie & decided to put his mark on the family and change the name to Jessica along with his prefix. Elmarste Astro Jessica ET VG85 entered the herd. This nice young cow produced 4 daughters over 8 lactations. The most lasting impact was Elmarste Was Jessica VG88 – 2 star. Still carrying the Elmarste prefix “Wars Jessica” as she was known, went around the show circuit in the early 90’s, Steve on the halter.
ET work helped expand the family by 12 daughters. A Broker Jessica daughter (2Lacts) resulted in the one and only Elmar Leader Jessica.

“As a calf she always stood out, bold and beautiful and a touch of brown in colour” Steve said. Halter broken early in life she attended calf days through to IDW, always winning.
Leader Jessica actually attended Bendigo Spring Feature Show in the October of 1999 as a very fresh 2.5yrs in milk & finished mid field, wearing fairly heavy thighs at the time. That year as IDW entries closed, there were no more thoughts on showing her as she needed to work the weight off. That year after IDW, Elmar hosted the annual post dairy week sub branch get together. Back then some of the international visitors and judges would stay on and look around. On this day, with the Elmar herd under the willow trees up the drive, Lowell Lindsay was looking through the herd. One cow is on the wrong side of the tree bay, and Steve doesn’t know how she got there. Lowell Lindsay casually says “Man, that cow would have been my Intermediate Champion, why wasn’t she at the show?”. We guessed she had lost the weight but didn’t pay the late entry fee!

The following year in 2001 Leader Jessica was Intermediate Champion and Supreme Udder. A fine effort for a senior 3 year old to come up with an udder over all other entries. Jessica attracted a lot of attention worldwide. Steve’s comment; “She was before her time”. That year the international judges had their eyes on a prize. Could they get Jessica to the USA. Actually No.
What stopped them? – protocols. Live animals had to complete a total of 90 days quarantine both in Australia and in the USA and Jessica was pregnant with a due date in that time frame. The stumbling hurdle given that no one in quarantine knows anything about milking cows or calving them. Hurdle two – she was bigger than a horse so the shipping box for a horse would
need to be modified. Steve was pretty sure he would get a ticket to the US with Jessica on the same cargo plane. Setting the price and making the conversion into AUD was just another hurdle.
Ultimately it all became unrealistic and we loved Jessica in our herd. Judges Norm Atkins & Norman Nabholz followed Leader Jessica as fans throughout her career.

Jessica was All Australian in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Jessica’s run had started. Steve and Deanne had three children, built a 44 rotary dairy and milked 250 cows, but still found time to show.
At IDW 2002 Jessica calved and returned for Reserve Champion Holstein under Hank Van Exel USA – Steve always behind the prep and on the halter.
IDW 2003 was to be Jessica’s year again, crowned Supreme Exhibit & Supreme Udder of the Show. Internationally recognized judges Robert Yeoman & Norman Nabholz again loved Jessica enough to demand a price. Live export was just too hard. So, given the world recognition Elmar Leader Jessica had received she was nominated for the Holstein International Cow of the
Year award. Jessica was awarded reserve by the narrowest of margins and back then no one from Australia could vote!
Jessica calved again in 2004 and took out the Semex on Farm Mature cow award.

IDW 2005 rolled around with the Gordon boys in tow as teenagers, helping prep a cow they thought looked pretty good.
Everything had gone to plan until one hour before the show. Jessica stopped eating, but in true form she paraded into the hot ring like a champ. After being crowned Reserve Champion she left the ring hot, flat and would later collapse. Vets worked with Jessica but under the most stressful time she passed away the next morning. Autopsy results proved an infectious bug Klebsiella, that is prolific in wood shavings, to be the cause. Jessica is buried at Elmar.
Jessica’s loss was felt amongst so many people in the show and Holstein world. We received some of the most beautiful messages and words of comfort at this time but after that, we as a family needed a break from showing.

As time went by, we kept breeding cows and growing our family until the time felt right to enter the show circuit again. We started with a couple for calves at the local Cohuna show again with the help of the Gordon boys who had grown up just a bit into young men. It was time for Kelsie, Marty and Brady to start showing. Little did we know the ride was going to be full of thrills.
The next show was Kerang in the spring. The boys were keen as mustard, however not all our milkers were quiet enough to handle the old halters we were using and a little bit of Goldwyn pressure and snap – we nearly had a Goldwyn Jessica loose on the show grounds, luckily someone shut the doors on the shed. This didn’t stop the boys from their enthusiasm to get a blue
We all worked behind the scenes to grow the Jessica family, we always knew Elmar Leader Jessica was before her time and we needed to find the next special one. But we found more than one!
The biggest day in our lives was to be IDW 2015. Grand, Reserve & Honourable Mention – all three Jessica’s. Bred, owned and shown by Steve, Marty and Brady with Mitchell Flemming behind the scenes.

That night we had a party to remember. No winners, no losers, just Elmar.
The story doesn’t end there, we’re not sure where or when it will end.
At IDW 2018 Goldwyn Jessica 11 won Supreme Exhibit after being the Reserve cow in 2015.
About now is your opportunity to start your own dream ……. 9 direct daughters and 17 Granddaughters to sell, as well as
many other great opportunities.
Remember, our ride started with one cow. Yours can too!