By Jasmine Franklin
Ponoka’s Morsan Farms got a big surprise Nov. 12 when one beautiful three-year-old Holstein named Missy was sold at an auction for $1.2 million.
“It’s not often a cow will sell for anywhere near that,” said Chris Parry, Morsan Farms’ spokesman. “We knew she was a valuable cow but it’s a humbling surprise.”
Morsan Farms, open since 1996, has sold high-scale dairy genetics since 2002. Today, the farm markets genetics to 21 different countries. Missy, Parry said, was simply icing on the cake for the farm located just a few miles east of Ponoka.
“Breeders have already begun to purchase relatives to Missy,” Parry said. “She has brought a lot more international visitors to Alberta and really put Ponoka on the map.”
So how is it that a dairy cow can be worth $1.2 million?
Dairy shows that Missy has attended, much like the Toronto Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, judge the cows on numerous factors. Missy’s pedigree and past generation showings, her milk record, her size and appearance, as well as superior genetics and a list of top-awards, landed a dollar value so high it made her the fifth cow in the world to be worth over $1 million and only the second in Canada.
“These shows are a lot like beauty pagents for people,” Parry said. “They’re judged on their correctness, how they move and they’re judged against each other.”
The Toronto auction is the final showing, considered the “best of the best.” Missy was bought and is now jointly owned by one buyer in the United States and another in Denmark, while she will remain located at Morsan Farms where they own a share of her as well. The two buyers have right to her embryos while the farm owns everything born or sold from her. The joint-ownership hasn’t been structured yet but essentially all Missy’s offspring will be born at the farm and the embryos will be sold internationally.
“You can tell when you take her out that she knows she has all the attention,” Parry said. “You can tell she’s happy.”