Brookview Farms Continues the Legacy of Breeding the Good Ones.
This story was originially published in the July/August HolsteinWorld Exclusive under the publishing rights of Purebred Publishing. It has been updated with more recent information.
The Holstein legacy of great cows brings one cow to mind immediately from the Buckeye state. That cow is the legendary Brookview Tony Charity EX-97, the multiple-time supreme champion.
Today Brookview Farms of Fremont, Ohio, under the ownership and management of Eric Havens, continues to produce blue ribbon winners and high-caliber genomic stock as well. Brookview Party Pooper-ET was the Best Bred and Owned Heifer and first-place Winter Yearling at the New York Spring Show and second in a strong Junior show at Madison. She sold in the Best of Triple-T & Heath Second Edition Sale and was exhibited by Whitney Ebert this fall. Eric credits Joe and Amanda Nash for their help with her development. She is a Doorman out of an Excellent Destry that traces back to the great Redrose cow family. “We purchased her Advent granddam in the Starmark sale and we have Destry daughters from flushing her; and we have Doorman eggs available from Party Pooper’s dam as well,” said Eric.
Carters-Corner Shot Melody, EX-90, DOM, purchased at the Branson, Missouri, sale has produced multiple off-spring that have gone into AI service as well as produced high genomic animals that sold well through the sale ring. Melody is a great granddaughter of Wesswood-HC Rudy Missy-ET EX-92, DOM. “She has been of the most profitable cows we have ever had here. We’ve sold embryos out of her to Japan, Holland, Italy, France and Canada to name a few. She was one of the highest indexing Shottle daughters of the breed at the time. And when genomics came out, she tested pretty high as well. There is some luck involved too. We have had fun times with her and she flushed like she worked. She made over 32,600M, almost 1,500F and over 1,000P as a two-year-old. She wasn’t a show cow but she was typey. We still have some descendants here out of her,” he said.
Brookview Farms has bred multiple All-Americans throughout the years. Just to name a few, in 1984, right after one of the dispersals, Brookview Farms had the All-American Best Three Females in 1984 and again in 1985. In 1998 Brookview Encore Lucky Star sold to Delbert and Heather Yoder and she was named 1999 Junior All-American Jr. Yearling. In 2005 Brookview Spirit Pleasure EX-92 was Reserve All-American Sr. Three-Year-Old for Kingsmill Farm who purchased her as a two-year-old. This past year, Ms Brookview Scaredy-Cat was nominated Jr. All-American Summer Yearling for son Garrett and partner Kris Ackley. She stood seventh in an outstanding Junior Two-Year-Old class at Madison during the Junior Show this fall.
One Brookview name synonymous with All-Americans is, of course, Brookview Tony Charity. Eric’s grandfather, Willis, began with registered Holsteins in 1925. For 17 years those registered Holsteins
provided a living for the growing Havens family as Willis and his wife, Gertrude, bottled and delivered the milk to a growing local market. In 1942 the first Brookview Farms dispersal was held. Willis, along with two of the Haven boys, Karl and John, continued developing the herd from the remaining stock. Karl purchased the current farm on Tiffin Road in the early ‘60s. They converted the Jersey operation from head to head tie stalls to tail to tail and that current barn, along with a few other renovations and expansions over the years, is where the current Brookview Farms herd is housed.
Two more dispersals were held over the years to keep the herd manageable for the family involved. They also farmed 1100 acres of grains and produce. The final dispersal was held in 1991 when Eric, John’s son, was still at The Ohio State University - ATI. He did come back to the farm to help during that time but returned in 1992 to finish his degree. On January 19, 1993, Eric purchased the Roger Schug herd and began rebuilding the Brookview legacy based on the beliefs and system he had developed over the years under the tutelage of his father and uncle.
One ironic note is that Roger Schug was the original purchaser of Brookview Tony Charity through a private sale after selling her mother to Brookview Farms. Charity, a bred heifer at the time, later calved at Schugs’ with a Conductor heifer calf. Albert Cormier of Cormdale Farm in Canada next purchased the young cow and took both Charity and her daughter back to Canada where she later sold in the Designer Fashion Sale and was purchased by Hanover Hill Farm and George Morgan. Hanover Hill purchased her outright and then she sold one final time in 1985 after winning both the World Dairy Expo and Royal again. The final price set a world record at $1.45 million.
Currently, Brookview Farms has a BAA of 110.2 with a RHA of 25,016M 1,002F 778P on 41 cows. Eric manages both the dairy and 1150 acres of grain and produce farming. “We have bred a lot of Excellent cows here. The biggest thing I’m proud of is probably the fact that since the rebirth of Brookview in 1993, there hasn’t been one year we have not been on the top 200 BAA herd list. We’ve sold a lot of cows through the years, prior to 1993 with Karl and dad and even since 1993, we’ve sold a lot of good ones. The only thing I knew was good cows – I knew what a good cow should look like and how you should do it. That came from growing up with my dad, who was a really good cowman even though he was more behind the scenes, and of course my uncle Karl and then those I was around, Bobby Binger and Roger Schug to name a few, all had herds emphasizing type and production. That’s what I learned,” said Eric. “The biggest thing I was taught was about building a gene pool in the herd. Using certain genetics, certain bulls, and when you have that gene pool, you can crack out some good ones every year or every other year.” Some of the current sires being used are Doorman, Solomon, Dempsy and occasionally Goldwyn, Gold Chip and High Octane. “I am concentrating hard on one of the biggest concerns I have in the breed, which is high pin cows. Lots of bulls are coded with that and it’s hard to find bulls that don’t raise pins. Not all are that way, but some. Health traits are important. I’m a big believer in those and in the genomics too. I believe some traits are more believable and from what I’m seeing the type traits are more accurate in genomics than what I’ve seen with the production. I love how the breed and studs are paying more attention to health traits and recessives,” he said.
When buying cattle he is rebuilding some of the gene pool he believes has been reduced and needs to be replaced. Currently Eric is excited about a fancy Atwood that has been purchased from the Jacobs of Canada. She is a maternal sister to the nominated All-American and All-Canadian Four-Year-Old, Jacobs Fever Cael.
Eric recently bought the farm and plans to continue at the current level of 50 cows. The cows are milked twice a day with help from a part-time employee during milking times and Eric’s sister Janelle who helps with feeding heifers and calves. That’s one reason Eric markets his genetics both privately and through public sales. “I try to keep the numbers manageable. I’d rather milk more but I have to understand the strengths and weaknesses we have and work with what we have.” Eric and his wife Carrie have three younger children. Garrett is 14, Grant is 10 and daughter Aniston is six. All are heavily involved in school and sports as well as helping at the farm when they can. Family is important to Eric, which is another reason he tries to keep the workload manageable. “I want to enjoy the kids while they are growing up and not regret missing out on this part of their lives,” he said.
Two cows that Brookview has sold have scored 94 points this year, something Eric is proud of. Brookview Wind-brook Lady A, purchased as a bred heifer in the first Triple-T and Heath Sale, is owned by Pennwood Farm in Pennsyl-vania and goes back to Ms Kingstead Chief Adeen 2E-94 DOM. The other is Brookview Jordan Dazzlyn, who was recently purchased by Jarrod Burleigh of Pennsylvania. She is a Gillette Jordan out of a 94-point Primetime out of two more Excellent dams.
Eric continues a legacy of developing great cattle with the Brookview prefix started by his grandfather Willis. It has passed down through his father John who passed away from cancer and Uncle Karl who recently passed away. His plans over the next few years will be to maintain the dairy and continue marketing great cattle. The future of Brookview will lie with his children who have many years of growing to fill the big shoes left behind by the previous generations of great cowmen that make up Brookview Farms.