American Dexter Cattle Association

- - - - - - - - - - Otto C. Jensen - "To a Grand Little Cow - - - - - - - - - -
From July 9th, 1962 ADCA Newsletter

A Dexter is a grand little Cow;
You'll often wonder exactly how,
For size, she produces so much milk
She does! and just as smooth as silk,
She has other qualities, soon you'll know,
Especially at the Cattle show.
With ribbons blue, and champions grand,
She brings home prizes and cash in hand.
Gentle and affectionate, easy to mind;
Quick to respond to treatment kind;
A pleasure to own, a pleasure to raise.
Much, much more can be said in her praise,
But let's stop right here and now:
Simply say, A Dexter is a Grand Little Cow.

Otto Jensen was the owner of the Tak-Sca-Du-Hav Farm in Lancaster, New York. By 1963, his herd of Dexters totaled about 100 head, and was one of the largest Dexter herds in the world at that time. Otto Jensen served as President of the American Dexter Cattle Association from 1959 to 1965.

In the April 1973 American Dexter Cattle Association newsletter, Palmer H. Langdon wrote the following entitled, "My Last Ride with Otto Jensen":

It was October 18, 1969 and the Dexter meeting at Albany, New York had just concluded. Otto Jensen had come by train, as he always did, arriving very late the previous night after milking his cows on his farm near Buffalo. In fact, he had gotten to the hotel long after the rest of us had turned in, but he was right on hand to take part in the breakfast session putting forth his positive ideas on the way to promote the sale and breeding of Dexter cattle. After a look at the timetable, Otto saw that no train would come through Buffalo until much later in the afternoon, so I said, "Why not ride with me as far as Utica?"--to which he readily agreed.

As we rolled along past farms at their autumn best, we talked of how much Dexter cattle had meant to both of us. Otto and I had met just ten years earlier at the home of the secretary of our Association, Mrs. Daisy Moore, in Decorah, Iowa. As we had left that evening to return to the little hotel, Otto remarked to me, "We've got to keep this thing (the Association) going strong or all we have is beefsteak." The next day we had a nice conference at the farm of our founder, John Logsdon, father of Daisy Moore. As a newcomer to
Dexters, I had listened intently to the conversation of these two veteran cattlemen with their hopes of enlarging the numbers of our little breed. Otto had traveled by train all the way to Decorah for the meeting each year.

From April 1, 1959 until April 25, 1965, Otto served as President of the Association, never missing a meeting and always getting up a large exhibit of Dexters for the Erie County Fair. He was a "twilight" cattleman, working at his food brokerage business during the day, while milking his herd at dawn and evening. At one point, as a result of acquisitions to keep registered stock from going to market, he was running 100 head.

As President, Otto always stressed the importance of selling "a package" to a new breeder of three bred heifers and a bull calf, so that the new member had enough stock to mean something and to grow with, rather than selling single animals. Otto always also stressed the importance of getting the young people on the farm interested, of working with 4-H groups and the like. He felt very strongly that if the owners had daily care of their stock, they would become as attached as he was and would stay with Dexters.

As we approached Utica, I had a feeling that Otto was rather tired from his strenuous life and urged him to take things a little easier now that he was in his seventies, but he said that was impossible with the shortage of farm help, and besides, he wanted to expand his herd and promote the breed. The Utica station was nearly deserted when I dropped him off, and I remarked, "Otto, it's the end of the railroad era - looks like you are the only passenger waiting for the Buffalo train." We shook hands and I left him, agreeing to meet
again soon. A few days later, Otto was found dead on his barn floor amongst the cattle he loved so much.

In the newsletter, Daisy Moore added the following:

"The ADCA is grateful to Palmer Langdon, one of our Directors, for sharing the above tribute to a fine man, Otto Jensen. It was a small incident, a sharing of a few short hours in a busy day, but it tells much of Otto's character and his great love of animals. Otto did much to help unite the Dexter people and he served the Association with distinction. He won many trophies when he took his herd to shows, particularly in Hamburg, New York. His herd was one of the finest in America and he was very proud of his Dexters."

I wish we could have known this man in our time.

- Patti Adams


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American Dexter Cattle Association

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