written by Montie Soules, Executive Secretary/CEO
As summer draws to a close, it seems more is going on this year with the Shorthorn family than in years past. Relief from the Covid-19 pandemic is one reason. Our folks are moving on with their lives and not letting daily lives be influenced by the anxieties of the past couple of years, resulting in more functions returning to normal, like county and state fairs, along with other Shorthorn events. The Shorthorn breed continues to prosper as breeders get back in the saddle.
One major function I attended this summer was the Shorthorn World Conference in the United Kingdom. This was one of the more successful World Conferences I have attended. It was very well planned and provided an interesting venue for activities. The theme for the 2022 Conference was celebrating 200 years of the Coates Herdbook. We spent a considerable amount of time in the region where the Shorthorn breed was founded over 200 years ago. The history of our breed and the passion of the breeders in that region make it very special. I mentioned in last month’s article the similarities of the issues we all share as Shorthorn breeders regardless of the country, which rang true this year. We spent a full day listening to speakers the UK Shorthorn Beef and Dairy Associations brought in. The main topics could have been right here in the USA.
One of the main concerns in the UK is greenhouse gases and how agriculture affects the environment. Much research is taking place on different kinds of feedstuffs and how they affect the methane gas from ruminants. It was interesting listening to the experts and breeders on this subject. I believe we can learn something from their advanced research. This was not only coming from the UK; other countries like Australia have the same issues. I feel they are further advanced in this area than we are here in the US. They are addressing this subject to satisfy the consumer. In the UK Shorthorn Beef has a branded program with a grocery chain like Whole Food Market stores. Their representative spoke of customers wanting to know more about the food they eat. This is so familiar with what is happening with consumers in the USA. It is easy to push aside these issues as they have not affected our market yet, but the light bulb should come on here in our country. We, as producers, should get ready for some dramatic market changes for our product – it is already happening in other locations around the world. Our ASA Shorthorn Beef locally raised is a good place to start.
I challenge all Shorthorn breeders to write your stories about your operation and/or family activity in the Shorthorn breed. Put a small, classified ad in your local papers about offering freezer meat from Shorthorn cattle raised in your family operation. It will make a difference in the years to come. This type of promotion is inexpensive and will present Shorthorn as an ideal option for the consumer and for the persons looking to get into the business of purebred cattle.
Another area of importance at the Conference in the UK was genomics. The importance of getting more data and genomic information on the cattle population. The dairy boys have proven this with their tenfold advancement in milk production using genomically enhanced EPDs. They even brought a speaker from the US to the UK for this subject. The conversation of getting a global data bank for Shorthorn cattle to take advantage of data from a worldwide view was also mentioned. Something like this would be a game changer.
I strongly recommend planning to attend the next Shorthorn World Conference in three years which will be hosted by Canada. The USA will be hosting the World Conference in 6 years, so start thinking about being involved in that process. Please look on page 26 for some photos taken at the Conference.
I want to bring attention to the ending of the 150th Anniversary Celebration for the American Shorthorn Association. We are planning a big finale at the North American Show in Louisville this year. On Saturday night we will be hosting a special 150th celebration festivity for all to attend. We hope to have past Builders of the Breed and past presidents of the ASA attend. This will be held on Saturday evening at the Crowne Plaza Hotel after the Deck the Stalls Fundraiser Auction in the barn. There will be hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and lots of Shorthorn fellowship. Make plans to attend as we end a fantastic year of celebrating the ASA as the oldest Beef Breed in the US!