SYDF BEEF Purchase!

The Shorthorn Youth Development Fund (SYDF) was established in 2020 to provide financial support that will sustain and expand excellent programming to develop Shorthorn youth as cattle producers and responsible, productive citizens. SYDF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a resource that allows you to directly invest in the future of the breed that is your business, your lifestyle and your passion. 

According to a survey conducted at the 2015 Shorthorn Impact Conference, 61% of the breeders in attendance started as junior members. These now active members of the American Shorthorn Association prove how important youth development is, and that junior involvement is the pathway to the future success of our breed. One example of excellent programming that SYDF supports is the National Junior Shorthorn Show & Youth Conference (NJSS). It’s an action-packed week of learning and fun that develops skills, knowledge, and confidence, along with love for the breed and lifetime friendships. The cost to produce this annual event is more than $320,000, mostly raised through sponsorships and donations. 



To learn about other ways to support SYDF, visit our website:

No contribution is too small, and every dollar counts!

By making the commitment to “pay it forward” through an annual contribution to the Shorthorn Youth Development Fund, today’s breeders accept responsibility of seeing to it that our youth have the opportunities they need to prepare for their time as the Shorthorn breeders of tomorrow.

Click here to order Red, White, and Roan Beef

The Shorthorn Bull Pen

Are you caught up on The Shorthorn Bull Pen podcast episodes? You can watch episodes on YouTube by clicking each available episode below or you can find them anywhere you listen to podcasts (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon Music).

Episodes are released the Wednesday after the second Insider e-blast of the month. We share them on Facebook or follow us on YouTube/podcast services to be notified of the next available episode!

Ep. 1 – Frank Lucas (R), U.S. Representative, Oklahoma (3rd District)

Ep. 2 – Frank Stoltzfus, NCBA Region 1 Policy VP

Ep. 3 – IGS, Dr. Wade Shaffer and Chip Kemp

Ep. 4 – John Sonderman, ASA President

Ep. 5 – Past AJSA Presidents

Ep. 6. – AJSA Board of Directors (releases Aug. 23)

Ep. 7 – Shelby Diehm, Director of Youth Activities (releases Sept. 20)

Shorthorn Apparel

Have you checked out the Shorthorn Apparel we have available? The Shorthorn online store will be open from July 18th – August 25th.  All proceeds benefit the Shorthorn Youth Development Fund. Click here to order your apparel. Check out what we have available below! T-Shirts, Windbreaker, Sweatshirts, Hats and Youth Shirts!

**Please note these are pre-orders, apparel does not enter production until the ordering window is closed. **

We appreciate your support of the SYDF!!

Adult Shirts
Adult Sweatshirts
Youth Shirts

Protect Your Investment

This time of year, a lot of money is being invested in future herd sires for both Shorthorn breeders and commercial producers. Plenty of preparations go into making the selection of your next bull, and we all enjoy the thrill of winning the bid at auction or striking the deal private treaty. However, the purchase is merely the beginning. You want to protect your investment to maximize his return to your operation, and proper considerations need to be taken to maximize the performance of your newest team member while attempting to minimize your risk.

The first step to minimize your risk in this purchase is making the decision regarding mortality insurance on your new purchase. We all know accidents happen, and it seems that Murphy’s Law (if it can happen, it will) most directly corresponds to the best animals in the herd. I would anticipate that if you brought in a new young bull, he’s probably going to be one of your better prospects, and the small insurance premium (usually 6% of purchase price) is worth the peace of mind it brings that you are financially covered if the new guy does the unthinkable during his first breeding season. If at all possible, freezing a collection of semen to store can be viewed as an ”insurance policy” that the bull’s genetic power isn’t totally lost if he isn’t walking the pastures.

It’s important to remember if you bought a yearling bull, you bought the bovine equivalent of a teenage boy. They are still growing and developing, and they need the nutrition to help them reach peak physical maturity. Getting a bull into the right shape for breeding season might require losing some extra sale day condition before turnout. Going from a sale prep ration to breeding cows out on pasture could be a bit of a shock to the system if you don’t help your bull transition to that exclusively forage diet.

Whatever your usual herd health protocol includes, it’s important to get your bull on the same program as the rest of the herd as soon as you can. Visit with the seller of the bull to see what measures they may have taken for herd health while he was still in their care. Proper vaccinations, pour on, and even fly control can be important to keeping your bull in the best of shape during the summer working months.

Before turnout, check to make sure that the proper DNA work has been done on your new bull. With the ruling passed by the ASA Board of Directors in 2022, any bull that you buy born on or after January 1, 2022 will need to be 100K genomic tested with ASA in order to register his progeny. You can log in to Digital Beef to see if he has been tested by the seller before you take possession. If his EPDs are highlighted in yellow, you are good to go. If not, you need to grab a DNA sample while he is still around the barn and it is handy to get.

In most cases, the seller of the bull will guarantee you that he will pass a breeding soundness exam (BSE). If the bull has not had a BSE at the time you purchase him, it is absolutely vital to have your veterinarian perform one before you turn him out. Catching the problem of an infertile bull is infinitely better when caught before turnout instead of when a chunk of your cows come back open. Most sellers will do everything they can to make the deal right if your new bull does pass a BSE and isn’t deemed fit to breed cows. It’s something you never want to have to discuss, but make sure you and the seller are clear on expectations from both sides if the bull isn’t a breeder. Refunds, sale credits, or replacement bulls are all ways I have seen this handled. Both sides need to be ok with whatever arrangement is struck.

Now that you’ve got him insured, fed right, as healthy as can be, and certified to be fertile, it’s time to put the new guy to work. It’s important to not put too much workload on your young bull in his first breeding season. Sometimes we forget that young bulls aren’t machines. They are being asked to grow, mature, and breed cows all at once, making it a tough stage of life. The old adage is that a young bull can handle one cow per one month of his age. If you are using him in a cleanup situation behind a round of AI, you can probably increase this number a little bit, provided you are getting decent conception rates with artificial insemination.

The perfect recipe for disaster when you bring home a new, young herd bull is to drive him to the pasture, open the gate, and kick him out with 40 cows and wish him well. You take proper care of the other major investments around your farm (tractors, pickups, hay balers). Your bull should be no exception, as he is a major investment in the future of your genetics. Taking the extra steps early on in his development can make the difference between sending your bull to town after one or two breeding seasons or having him properly developed to still walk the pastures at a ripe old age.

written by Matt Woolfolk, ASA Director of Performance Programs

2023 Interns

Welcome to our 2023 American Shorthorn Association Interns. We are looking forward to their arrival in May!

Jana Owen is a junior at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she is majoring in Animal Science and minoring in Agricultural Communications. Jana grew up on her family’s Shorthorn farm in southern middle Tennessee. As an alumna of both 4-H and FFA, she enjoyed exhibiting cattle and goats and competing in multiple judging, quiz bowl, speech, and portfolio competitions. At UT, she loves staying plugged in with the agriculture industry through organizations like Block and Bridle, TN Ag Communicators of Tomorrow, Dairy Club, Livestock Judging Team, and Collegiate 4-H & FFA, where she serves as Vice President. Outside of these activities, she enjoys going to church, UT games, concerts, and thrift stores. Jana is passionate about the Shorthorn breed and is ecstatic to learn more about the association this summer!

Kaylee McInvale is currently a senior at Tarleton State University pursuing a degree in Animal Science and a minor in Agricultural economics. Kaylee wants to pursue a master’s and take a path into animal nutrition or reproduction. She is very active on campus as she is a Tarleton State Block and Bridle club member. She serves as the scholarship chair for the Alpha Zeta chapter of the Sigma Alpha Sorority. As well as she is currently serving as a Residential Leader for the Tarleton Housing Department. Kaylee has been raising and showing livestock all her life. She has raised Chianinas, Simmentals, and Herefords. She has helped her parents run cow operations like Circle M Farms and Foster Brothers Farm, registered Simmental and Angus farms. Kaylee served in various positions as a Texas State Junior Director for both Horn and Polled Associations. She was in various royalty roles for the Polled Association. Kaylee served as the 2020-2021 National Hereford Queen, leading her to where she is today. She is currently serving on the National Junior Hereford Board of Directors. She was elected to the board this past summer. Kaylee is looking forward to meeting and working with all of you this summer. Kaylee will be serving as our Junior Activities Intern.

Anna Bonnet is a junior agriculture media and communications major at West Texas A&M University. She is from Karnes City, TX where she grew up helping her family on their Brangus cattle ranch and showing cattle for many years. Throughout college she has had the opportunity to intern for several national livestock shows, growing her passion for the stock show and cattle industries. Anna is very excited to be joining us in Kansas City for the summer as the communications intern.

The New Season

As many of you are entering calving season, this is a good opportunity to remind you of the important information to collect in your calving book. There are some points that are mandatory for recording your Shorthorns into Digital Beef, as well as others that are vital pieces of the puzzle for our genetic predictions in early life traits. Some things will help you with management of the herd going forward from calving season. Below is a breakdown of the items you need to be prepared to take note of this year:

The essentials. These are the items that are required to record any calf into the registry: pedigree (sire and dam), birth date, an individual ID (tattoo), coat color, and whether the calf is horned, polled, or scurred. I know it’s not always easy to determine polled status at such a young age, but you will eventually need that data point when you enter your 2023 calf crop.

Calf measurables. Calving ease score and birth weight are useful pieces to the genetic evaluation puzzle to collect in the calving barn. If you’re unfamiliar with the calving ease scoring system, a 1 designates calves born unassisted, and the numeric score increases with the amount of assistance required to get the calf into the world. These data options are spelled out for you when entering calves into Digital Beef. For birth weight, you have the option to indicate if the weight you are recording was taken by a scale, a birth weight measuring tape, or a visual estimation. Please, do NOT record guesses by visual estimation. A scale or tape are miles more accurate than trying to guess a weight, and poor weights only hurt the quality of our genetic evaluation tools.

Record the entire crop. When you collect those calving ease and birth weights, record them into the record system on every calf in the herd, even if you do not intend to register them. A complete dataset tells the most honest picture of your genetics and does a better job identifying the outstanding and the underwhelming than only recording those you choose to register. This philosophy applies to all collected data points, not just calving ease and birth weight.

Consider the mother. Pre-calving body condition scores might be helpful in planning your nutritional needs postpartum, especially if your cows are coming up thinner than expected. Scoring the udder for teat size and suspension of the udder should be done within the first 24 hours after calving. Both udder traits are on a 1 to 9 scale, with 9s being very small teats and super tight suspensions. There are visuals available online to give you a reference to the scoring chart. The Beef Improvement Federation guidelines are the most helpful drawings I have found for clear definitions of the various scores.

Health records. Any treatments of cow or calf in the early stages of life are important to note. Having this information can come in handy later in the year when making decisions, or to jog your memory when that poor-doing calf at weaning is the same little guy you treated three times early on.

Personal info. If you want to record how much sleep you lost doing nighttime checks on your maternity ward, that’s up to you. While this data can’t be input into the registry, it might serve as a reminder to the sacrifices we make for our herd.

Best of luck with your calving season. While we might both be making middle of the night checks, wait until the sun rises to call and chat, just in case it’s the one night that all is calm out in the barn, and we can catch a few extra minutes of sleep.

written by: Matt Woolfolk, ASA Director of Performance Programs