Searching for Answers

written by Matt Woolfolk, ASA director of performance programs

With most of the Shorthorn bull sales completed by the time you read this (hopefully you got the bull you wanted), it’s time to shift focus to breeding season. There’s plenty of decision making to be made in your breeding program, from breeding pasture size and availability, cow to bull ratio (don’t overload the young guys), and whether to use AI or natural breeding. This month, we will focus on the breeding and mating decision aspect of the season and how you can use Digital Beef to plan matings and identify genetics to add to your herd. As always, it is important to have goals for your breeding program headed into planning your matings for the coming year. Take the time to study your own herd (genetically and phenotypically) and determine where improvements can be made in the next generation. It’s hard to get where you want to go if you don’t know where that is!

There are many ways to utilize the online breed registry to help you during breeding season planning, both from the female and male sides of the equation. Starting with the females, the “Reports” section of Digital Beef is a good resource. Utilizing the “Production Summary” report pulls together the production records on all your active females. It’s essentially the report card of your cow herd. The system will pull together all your cows, and all recorded data on their progeny, giving you the ability to see which cows are making the grades and which ones may need some time in detention! To get a better look at EPDs in the cow herd, I love using the “Custom Report Builder” feature. The Custom Report allows you to focus on the information that is of most interest to your breeding program. Reports can be pulled based on age and sex, and you can select which data points, production info, and EPDs you want presented to you on the final spreadsheet that is output at the end. This is my go-to method to efficiently study data on groups of females.

After studying those females, you might decide that AI is the most effective way to infuse the genetics that will take you towards your destination the quickest. The EPD Search function is a good option for identifying those potential AI sire candidates. Via “Search Tools” at the top of your Digital Beef page, you’re taken to the EPD search where you can enter your parameters a potential sire needs to meet. In addition to EPD thresholds (minimum and/or maximums), you can sort purebreds only, by color, and if a bull has sired registered progeny to date. Once you input search parameters, the search will give back to you a list of bulls that meet your criteria, their entire EPD profile, and a link to their individual animal page in the registry to allow for further study. You will want to enter a couple different EPD criteria into the search (to narrow the list some), but also don’t want to have criteria for every EPD (yield no matches). The message on the screen “fetching results…please be patient” needs to be adhered to, as it takes a few minutes to search the whole database. Clicking the button to start the search again just takes you back to square one and will make the process even longer.

Once you’ve identified some prospect sires, you can see how they complement your cow herd on paper using the Progeny Calculator tool in Digital Beef. You can find this feature under the Tools menu. The Progeny Calculator tool gives you a quick glimpse into projected EPD profiles of a sire (herd bull or AI) for calves out of your females. For a more in-depth discussion of this tool, you can reference back to my article in the November 2021 issue of the Country.

Best of luck with your upcoming breeding season. Hopefully, the information that Digital Beef puts at your fingertips gives you the opportunity to move your breeding program in the direction you want to take it in your pursuit of breeding better Shorthorns. If you have any questions about any of the features mentioned in this article, feel free to shoot me an email (matt@ shorthorn.org).

2022 ASA/AJSA Interns

Lily Gisclair is originally from Longville, Louisiana, where she lived on a cattle farm. She is currently a senior at Oklahoma State University where she is pursuing a dual degree in Agricultural Education and Agricultural Communications. With this, she hopes to obtain a job as an agriculture teacher or a position in agriculture communications. Either way she plans to continue being involved in the agriculture industry that she loves. Lily grew up showing and raising Registered Black Angus Cattle, steers, and market lambs. Growing up in the cattle industry, specifically the National Junior Angus Association, she understands the valuable important work associations put forth to not only have a successful show season but develop leadership skills for junior members. She is thrilled at the opportunity to work for the American Shorthorn Association this summer as the Registrations Intern.

Regan Culp is from Francesville, Indiana, where she grew up on a beef feedlot and grain farm while exhibiting cattle and pigs nationally with her family. Regan graduated from Purdue University with her Bachelor’s in Animal Science Agribusiness and is now a graduate student at Kansas State University obtaining her Master’s in Agricultural Education and Communications. Her research for her Master’s is focused on making livestock expositions more accessible for youth with disabilities to exhibit their livestock and obtain life skills. During her undergrad, Regan served on the Indiana Junior Beef Cattle Association for five terms where she was able to interact with junior members across the state by helping host 27 jackpot shows and attend events such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Convention. She looks forward to utilizing her past experiences of being the Indiana State Fair Livestock Intern and the Showtimes Blackout 7 Intern to her advantage to effectively serve as the Youth Activities Intern and work closely with the American Shorthorn Association to host a great Shorthorn Junior Nationals and Youth Conference!

Sara Frost will be the 2022 American Shorthorn Association Communications Intern. She is currently a student at OSU majoring in agricultural communications. Sara really enjoys photography, graphic design, and art as she works on her major. She is originally from California and grew up on her family’s beef cattle ranch, showing and working cattle is a large part of her life. She is incredibly happy to be able to continue to be part of the industry that has shaped her life. She hopes to continue the long tradition of excellence and to help this amazing industry grow stronger and prouder while meeting new people and learning new things along the way. Sara is honored to be given this opportunity and will proudly do her best to serve this industry to the best of her ability. As always for Sara, “life is better on the ranch.”

Message from ASA President

I want to thank all the breeders who have reached out to me or other board members with questions or thoughts on the new ASA rule regarding DNA testing for bulls, that goes into effect in January. As Board members, it’s important that we hear from breeders and stay abreast of their questions and concerns.

The new testing rule came about after we learned that, across a number of breeds that do DNA testing, there are a significant and increasing number of cattle that are registered that do not match their listed parentage. These errors are often unintentional (the wrong semen was used, the calf was born between the AI date and the turn out date, etc), but nevertheless the registration is incorrect. This is not just a Shorthorn problem, it is one many breeds face, and a number of breed associations are taking similar steps to address the issue.

Ultimately the goal is to help assure that an individual animal’s pedigree is accurate and breeders can be confident in the genetic background of an animal they use in their breeding program.

In developing the rule, we looked at what other breeds are doing or considering and what would be reasonable for the majority of our breeders. After looking at the options, the Board felt that requiring testing for Shorthorn bulls that would be used to produce pedigreed Shorthorns and Shorthorn Plus would be the fairest approach. This approach would allow breeders to continue to register all bull calves and would have a minimal impact on the majority of commercial bull sales.

In the long term, the Board felt this approach would begin to address the issue of inaccurate registration and provide greater assurance to purebred breeders that the genetics they select to add to their herds are “as advertised”. Couple this with an increased demand, across all sectors of the beef industry, for increased genetic information, and we felt this was a reasonable solution. As breeders wondering about the impact on their own program, a few things to keep in mind.

DNA testing is NOT required to register a calf. Only those bulls, born in 2022 or after, that will be used to sire registered cattle will need to be tested.Bulls can be tested at any time, and their status adjusted. So a bull sold to a commercial herd that turns out to be a superior sire, can be tested as a mature bull and then used to sire pedigreed offspring. Parental verification can be done as a separate genetic test or included in most of the current DNA tests, allowing breeders flexibility in the costs associated with the testing.

While it will always be a challenge to be error free in our respective programs, the intent of the Board is to assure the accuracy and integrity of your breeding decisions, helping maintain the value of your cattle for both you and your customers.

Joe Bales, ASA Board President

American Shorthorn Association Announces Release of “Shorthorn and the American Cattle Industry”

“Shorthorn and the American Cattle Industry” will be released Saturday, October 23rd as the American Shorthorn Association kicks off their Sesquicentennial year as America’s First beef breed association. Written by Dr. Bob Hough and Dr. Bert Moore, this coffee table style book is unique without a doubt. 

“Writing this book was a labor of love for Dr. Bert Moore and me.” Said Dr. Bob Hough, “We had the time, curiosity and backing of the Association to dig deep into all aspects of the breed and our industry to reveal the important, but often forgotten events and people that have made the cattle business what it is today.” 

Comprised of 26 chapters, 270 pages and over 800 photos, the commissioned book exemplifies the American Shorthorn Association’s prestigious position in the history of the animal breeding industry. 

Andy Frazier, author, livestock historian and host of the Podcast, “Top Lines and Tales” of the United Kingdom was “amazed at the depth of research the authors have gone to in order to underpin the origins of the Shorthorn Breed.” He adds, “the opening chapters of this book are as equally fascinating to the non-agriculturist as they are to the cattle enthusiast in general.” 

“This book depicts not only Shorthorn, but the American cattle industry as a whole.” states Executive Secretary/CEO of the American Shorthorn Association, Montie D. Soules. Soules goes onto say “This becomes a must read for anyone who has ever had an interest in the purebred cattle industry. I doubt there will ever be another book written with as much detail as Dr. Hough and Dr. Moore have done. The authors did a great job.” 

Limited-edition books are available now at shorthorn.org for ordering, with multiple pickup or shipping options to meet your needs.

Farewell From the Interns

It’s our last day in the office (we know, we’re sad about it too). We just wanted to take some time to reflect on our summer and give a final farewell in our last blog post. Thank you, ASA, Juniors, and parents, for an incredible 2021 junior nationals, it was a memory we won’t forget.

My time at the ASA has come to an end, and I’m truly going to miss this office atmosphere and the amazing ASA staff. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity provided to me by the ASA. This internship was truly rewarding, and I was able to gain so much from this. I got to get exactly the experience I had hoped for, and I gained knowledge I am going to use for the rest of my college career and I’m my future job. Shelby, thank you for being such a great supervisor. I honestly don’t think that this internship would be the same if you weren’t the one in charge. If you are a communications student, and you need an internship experience, this is an amazing opportunity, and you should definitely apply for summer 2022! I can’t wait to see where the future takes me!

As my time working for the American Shorthorn Association comes to a close, I want to say thank you to the ASA staff for being so welcoming and helpful. I have loved my time getting to know the staff, breeders, and juniors involved in the shorthorn breed. This summer has truly been a great learning experience; about the breed, myself, and putting on a junior national. I hope to see many of you again in the future; don’t be a stranger! While I am sad to leave the association after a wonderful two and a half months, I am excited to see where my future takes me.

As I finish my last day being the Youth Activities Intern, with the American Shorthorn Association, I want to take the time to thank the association for being so great. The people, the atmosphere; all of it has been a blessing in more ways than I can describe. I will forever cherish the last two and a half months: the connections I have made, and the friendships I have developed with my fellow interns! I am sad to leave but am excited for my future endeavors. Thank you all for this wonderful opportunity to work with such great breeders, youth, and staff. I hope to see everyone sometime in the future; if we cross paths, don’t be a stranger, as I always enjoy a little small talk! 

Again, thank you to everyone that helped us throughout the summer. We appreciate every single one of you, and we hope you all have a great rest of the summer. We are going to miss the office, but we hope to see everyone sometime in the future!

Potluck Lunch

Today in the office, we decided we would put together a potluck lunch. The interns selected a recipe from the 2021 junior nationals Beef Cook-Off Contest, and everyone else brought a side dish/dessert to enjoy along with it!

The recipe that we selected from the cook-off was actually the champion recipe. It was presented by the state of Indiana and is called Philly Cheese Steak Quesadillas; the recipe is provided below! As for everyone else in the office, they opted to bring a side dish of their choosing. Wade made for us a Sassy Salsa and cheese dip. Shelby made us some Frito Corn Salad, Heather made some Spanish Rice, Montie “made” us some Waldorf Salad, and Cassie brought a homemade S’mores Cheesecake for a dessert!

Philly Cheesesteak Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Tortillas
  • ½ lb shaved Ribeye
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ diced red pepper
  • ½ diced green pepper
  • 6 oz. diced mushrooms
  • 1 T light olive oil
  • 3 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ¼ t sea salt
  • 2 t mayonnaise

Directions:

  • Cook shaved ribeye with 2 t oil, salt + pepper, in a skillet. Once fully cooked, remove from skillet.
  • Sautee onion, peppers + mushrooms in the same skillet until tender. Adding 1 t of oil if needed
  • Add Ribeye + Garlic into skillet.
  • Spread mayo on tortillas
  • Add filling to ½ of each tortilla, top filling with provolone + fold the tortilla 
  • Place tortilla in a skillet with oil over medium heat. Sautee until the cheese is melted + outside is golden + crisp, flip once. 
  • Slice, serve & enjoy! 

It was a great day for those of us here at the ASA office to spend some time together and enjoy good food and good conversation. We loved these Philly Cheese Steak Quesadillas, and we are excited to see what everyone comes up with for next years Beef Cook-Off Contest with the new cut of meat!

Achieving Our Goals

Goal setting is an important part of life. When you make a goal, ultimately you would like to achieve it. There are different types of goals, short-term goals, and long-term goals. How we choose to reach these goals is dependent on who we are as a person and what helps us to stay organized and keep us on track. Since our time here at the American Shorthorn Association is coming to a close, we (the interns) thought that we would tell you a little bit about our goals over the next year.

Michelle:

What are my goals for the year to come? That is a loaded question. The next year is going to be a big step, in terms of school and work. My plan as of now is to be graduating from Oklahoma State University in May with my Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Communications and hopefully starting my very first full-time job. If anyone reading this is new to college this year, I definitely recommend taking advantage of clubs and other activities going on, on campus. They are a great way to meet new people and make friends that you will likely have even after you graduate. Among the goals I have this year is to excel academically. I plan to do this by keeping organized and having a schedule that includes study time. The second important goal for me is to find a job that will essentially kick off my career. Tools that will help me to achieve that goal are to gain experience, and that is one thing that this internship has no doubt provided me. I am so glad to be returning to a fully opened university this fall, now that we are somewhat pandemic-free. I will be sad to leave Kansas City and all of the amazing Shorthorn staff but I am glad to have met everyone and to have had this experience.

Amelia:

My goals and aspirations throughout the course of the last year and a half have not necessarily changed, the only thing that has truly changed is the course in which it is taking me to reach them. I am very excited to start my fall semester back at Kansas State University, with all in-person classes. As a young college student, it has been very difficult to get everything out of, not only my education but my whole college experience with the troubled times we have faced in the last year and a half. However, like many other students my age, I have made the most of it: still applying myself to create opportunities for my future by getting a job within the university, applying for internships, and landing this one, as well as becoming involved with clubs, amidst the pandemic. The past year has taught me more than any other year combined. It may not have been materialistic lessons, but it has been lessons worth more than any academic degree ever could. It has taught me to never take time for granted, to never underestimate anything, additionally, it has taught me to never give up on anything, no matter the journey. That being said, my goals for the future are to continue my journey at Kansas State University and continue the path that He has carved for me. I have many goals to reach for within my major, within the clubs I am active in, as well as personal growth goals for myself. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer and takes the time to spend time with their loved ones!

Bella:

As my time at the American Shorthorn association is coming to an end, my academic career isn’t far behind. I will be a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this upcoming year, finish up my degree in Agricultural Communications. Being a senior, I have started to think about my future career. I hope to get a job post-graduation working in outreach and education for an agriculture company. This will require networking and communication throughout the next year. I am so excited to see where my future goes. I have learned a lot about adaptability and perseverance this last year and a half. As a college student, my world was turned upside down when my university closed due to COVID, as well as most classes switching to online for this past school year. But it gave me the skills and initiative to work on my own, get things accomplished, and accept change with grace. My main goals for the near future are to continue my education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating with a B.S. in Agricultural Communications, and continue to be resilient in all of my future endeavors. I hope everyone enjoys these last few weeks of summer!

Post Junior Nationals Reflection

Hey everyone! We hope you all had a blast at the 2021 Shorthorn Safari! Junior nationals have come to a close, and we wanted to reflect on our week and share with you!

Michelle:

The 2021 National Junior Shorthorn Show and Youth Conference is over, but I am so glad I was able to see so many smiling faces throughout the week, and I hope everyone is getting some much-needed rest. My week consisted of photos, photos, and more photos! I really enjoyed being able to watch the juniors as they participated and showed off their skills in contests, and especially the shows on Friday and Saturday. I am thankful for the opportunity to experience Shorthorn Junior Nationals, especially the behind-the-scenes and how much it truly takes to put on a national junior show of this size. It put things into perspective and makes me truly appreciate all the people who dedicated their time to put together the junior nationals that I was able to attend as a junior exhibitor. Juniors, be sure to thank your parents, and thank your breed associations, whether it be shorthorn or something else, for all the hard work they put in for you to be able to do what you love because without those people you would not have that opportunity.

Amelia:

To reflect upon this past week, overall, this was a great experience. I had a blast getting to know the junior board and candidates better, along with meeting the future of the Shorthorn breed. Being around the youth who are passionate and excited about the future of the Shorthorn breed, brings me joy to be able to empathize with them. Even though I was in the office much of the week, when I would venture out, I thoroughly enjoyed everything I saw. The highlight of my week was getting to see the State Cook-Off/Tailgate happen in conjunction with the cornhole tournament. It was exciting to see all the unique foods each state brought, as well as see everyone come together for a little friendly competition. All in all, I will never forget all the great people I have met through this journey and will always cherish this wonderful opportunity the American Shorthorn Association has given me to work for them.

Bella:

This past week was definitely an experience I will never forget. I loved getting around to meet the juniors and creating relationships with the junior board members! Working as the registrations intern, most of my work was completed prior to leaving for NJSS; this allowed me to be able to help with many different contests. Prospector team salesmanship was my favorite contest to help out with for the entertainment factor 😉. The kids were all awesome and I loved being able to watch them make their sale. Friday and Saturday, most of my time was spent writing down and posting results for the show; it was great to be able to watch and support all the juniors. Overall, the past week was an amazing event to be able to partake in and assist with. I am so thankful for the people I met and the ability to work with the American Junior Shorthorn Association!

Preparing for Junior Nationals

Hey everyone, it’s the interns again! Less than a week until we see everyone at Junior Nationals, and we could not be more excited here in the office. This week, in honor of Junior Nationals coming up, we thought we would tell you a little bit about our favorite livestock show activities, and maybe help you to remember some items that we have a habit of forgetting when packing!

Michelle:

            Hey everyone! I hope you are all excited for next week, we have been working hard in the office to get everything prepared! When it comes to shows, one of my absolute favorite pastimes is spending time with friends that I don’t get to see very often. Showing livestock opens doors to friends across the country that you may not have known otherwise, and I am always excited to spend time with my show family (oh, and also eating some very good food). I like to think that I am a strategic packer, however, there is always one thing that I manage to forget and that is my belt! Something else that I have learned over the years is that you can never pack too many socks, I always manage to soak my feet when I wash my livestock. The countdown to Junior Nationals is almost over and I cannot wait to see everyone there!

Amelia:

Hey there! Only a few more days in the office, until we head out to Louisville for the event we all have been waiting for! My favorite part of being at a show is honestly just spending forced family fun with my parents and siblings. It is what we all work for and even though we may bicker like cats and dogs at times, we tend to get along (for the most part), while at a show. It is where we come together and work as a team and not against one another. A show day setting gets very stressful for everyone; each one of us has a mindset of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, before arriving that day. We all get things done when they are needing to be done (sometimes with a friendly reminder ;-)). Another thing that excites me is being around other livestock enthusiasts. I have been gifted many friendships through showing livestock and I would not trade any of them for the world. 

            With packing for junior nationals, don’t forget your soap for those sudsy, early wash rack mornings. That seems to always be the one thing that I forget in terms of equipment. Otherwise, I always seem to forget my belt or boots for show day (only the necessities apparently). With everything else going on and being a little stressed for packing, think about this blog, and don’t forget these little things that might slip your mind! 

            Safe travels to all of you attending the NJSS, and I am so very excited to see everyone’s smiling faces come Monday at check-in!

Bella:

            Hi guys! As junior national is quickly approaching, I should probably start to think about what I’m going to pack. I always remember the crucial things (pants, shirts, etc.); but there are a few things I can never seem to remember: boot socks, my belt, and hairspray! Hopefully reading this week’s blog will help you remember the little things while packing 😉.  My favorite part of shows is definitely the time I get to spend with some of my best friends. I have created a large network of friends in the livestock industry, and they have become some of my favorite people. Any chance to see them and create memories is time well spent! I hope everyone is excited to get to junior nationals and create those memories in less than a week!! Catch ya’ll in Louisville 😊

L-R: Bella, Amelia, Michelle