American Shorthorn Association Launches Locally Raised Beef Program

Shorthorn breeders unite to promote fresh, quality beef to consumers.

In the early days of the global coronavirus pandemic, many Americans faced an unsettling reality: empty grocery store shelves.

Dramatic changes set in almost overnight and left families spending all of their time at home, limiting trips to the store and buying in bulk to prepare for the unknown. While the pandemic sent shockwaves across all levels of the U.S. economy, it also provided the chance to serve consumers in new and creative ways.

The American Shorthorn Association (ASA) recently launched an initiative to promote members who are offering beef products directly to consumers.

It’s called Shorthorn Beef — Locally Raised.

“During the pandemic some consumers faced food shortages, and this brought to light the importance of having a local source for beef,” says ASA President Nancy Grathwohl-Heter. “A local program is appealing to consumers, because they know where their meat is sourced and how it is raised.”

The Shorthorn Beef program is an avenue for connecting the breed’s cattle producers with those interested in buying locally raised beef. The effort includes promotional opportunities through social media, the ASA website and other media platforms.

“It’s really about families supporting families,” says Montie Soules, ASA executive secretary and CEO. “When you purchase Shorthorn Beef, you’re supporting a family farm and their livelihood. We hope this program continues to open doors between the community and livestock producers.”

When buying directly from a local farmer or rancher, Grathwohl-Heter says consumers can purchase a quarter, half or whole Shorthorn beef and receive great-tasting, healthy products at a reasonable price point. She and her family manage DTR Cattle Company near Raymond, Kansas, and were early participants in Shorthorn Beef — Locally Raised.

“Our family has been raising Shorthorn cattle for four generations, and we strive to produce a tender and delicious product that exceeds consumer expectations,” Grathwohl-Heter says. “We enjoy having a conversation with consumers and sharing our story as a family-owned Shorthorn cattle operation.” 

The gentle, quiet Shorthorn breed — ideal for family-focused farms and ranches — has long been known for its superior-quality beef, ASA says. The breed also has a unique ability to produce high levels of marbling combined with greater levels of muscling than other breeds.

“Shorthorn cattle have always been known for producing tender and highly marbled beef,” Grathwohl-Heter says. “The Shorthorn Beef program highlights the breed’s great end product, and helps breeders create more value and demand for Shorthorn genetics.” 

Participating members will receive marketing support and be featured on the ASA website among the growing directory of Shorthorn breeders with beef to sell. They will also be able to brand their product using the program’s official logo.

“Through this new effort, we hope to provide a niche market for fresh, high-quality local Shorthorn Beef,” Soules says. “Our more than 6,000 adult and junior members from across the country are committed to raising the best possible Shorthorns and supporting the way of life they enjoy. We want to share that message with consumers.”

In addition, Soules sees the effort behind Shorthorn Beef — Locally Raised as an extension of the breed’s American legacy. The Shorthorn was country’s first beef breed and traces its U.S. history to the 1780s.

Next year, the organization celebrates its 150th anniversary — making ASA the nation’s oldest beef cattle association. Go online to access the list of Shorthorn Beef participating breeders or contact ASA for more information on how to get involved in the new program.

IMPORTANT NAILE INFORMATION:

As most of you know by now, the North American International Livestock Exposition is on! It was announced on September 18th that they are planning to move forward and have the show, which makes us all happy after hearing Denver had postponed. With that being said, it is going to look a little different at NAILE this year. Please find the information below for what we know will be happening at NAILE. There is always possibility of change. As we get more information, we will do our best to pass along information to our breeders.   

  • Everyone must enter through Gate 1. It will be the only open gate!
  • Health inspections will be conducted at the time of arrival at the grounds. All animals must have a valid health paper with official USDA 840 EID Tag.
  • All cattle shall be reported Negative on an ELISA or BVD-PI test and can be listed on the health paper.  
  • You will then be directed to the lot right there next to Gate 1 to receive your packet that will include all your passes.
  • Barn Badges will be provided to exhibitors. This will be by the amount you enter so keep that in mind.
    • Exhibitors with 1-5 head will receive 3 passes.
    • Exhibitors with 6-10 head will receive 5 passes.
    • Exhibitors with 11-15 head will receive 7 passes.
    • Exhibitors with 16+ head will receive 8 passes.
  • The Barn Badges will be like lanyards, where you can take them off and give to another person. These will be to get into the barn. If you do not have one on you will not be allowed in the barn, but you can be out at tie-outs or the trailer. The facility is limited on the number of people allowed in the barns at a time and this is how they plan to control that.
  • Participants will not be able to enter the facility without completing the Covid-19 document provided by NAILE.
  • Mask will be required.
  • The Pavilion (where Shorthorns are normally stalled), is partially being used for Covid-19 things. With that being said, there is a possibility we will be stalled somewhere different.
  • Stalling will be the same as last year and we will be following our Stalling Policy. Please see that policy below.
  • Bedding will be pre-bedded. They will disinfect in-between each breed but will not be able to re-bed, so be respectful when loading out and clean up trash. This will allow them to rotate breeds quicker.
  • Shorthorns are lucky enough to be on the same schedule, meaning we will be one of the first breeds in and out of the barns. We will show Junior cattle on Saturday and Sunday, and Open cattle will show on Monday. We will start Monday with ShorthornPlus Bulls followed by ShorthornPlus Females. Then continue with Purebred Bulls followed by Purebred Females.
  • There will be NO Spectators allowed in the show ring. Only people with barn badges will be allowed.
  • There will be restrictions on the number of people allowed in the make-area with each animal. We do not know this number yet.
  • They are considering opening up the Sale Arena for a certain number of spectators during sales only, but this has not yet been confirmed. This does not mean that those people will be allowed in the barn.

Disclaimer, this is what we know as of now but there is possibility this could change. We wanted to get this information out to our Shorthorn Breeders to try and stop rumors and help you make decisions before entries close. Entries close on October 1st with late entries being October 10th.

Stalling Policy; we will be following the NAILE stalling policy.

            NAILE uses our entries from the previous year to plan how much stalling we receive for our breed. They will take a percentage away from our previous year entries and then take a percentage away for no shows of current entries. So, what does this mean for you?

We get less stalls assigned for Shorthorns than what are entered. We advise that you enter more head then what you plan to bring because we will cut down on your stall space from what you enter by the same percentage that we are cut by NAILE. Please add space for tack to your entries. (NAILE does not allow any tack space when assigning breed stalling space)

If you have any stalling request, we will take them, but we cannot promise that you will get them as we will be stalling where you fit best. Stalling request need to be in by November 1st to Emily at emilyv@shorthorn.org, in order for them to be taken into consideration. Also, please contact Emily if you are coming or not coming to the show. Stall space will be made solely off of number of head entered.

2021 IGS Steer Profitability Competition

The Steer Profitability Competition (SPC) is designed to provide junior members meaningful exposure to the opportunities and challenges associated with cattle feeding. The SPC will not only allow participants to measure and compare the profitability of their own animal(s), but of greater importance, it will introduce young beef enthusiasts to peers, mentors, industry advocates, and experiences that are exceedingly difficult to acquire for any beef producer. Participants in the SPC program will be powerful voices as they transition from junior membership to adult participation within the beef industry.

Regional Show Update!

Last month we put out that we would be continuing the Regional Points with the shows that were left in each region. Unfortunately, since then, almost all of the State Fairs hosting regional shows have cancelled. The Show Committee had a meeting at the junior nationals in Texas and made the recommendation to suspend the regional points for this year because of all the cancellations. The ASA Board of Directors followed the recommendation of the Show Committee and as a result the Super Regional and Regional point system will be suspended for the 2020-2021 show season.

With this change, we are still going to move forward with National Show Points. As, a way to give out more awards for this show season the ASA Board approved to add division winners for our National Show Points. We will score these division winners with the same points that allocate for the National Show Female and Bull awards. It is also approved that there must be at least two National Shows during the 2020-2021 show season in order for any national awards to be presented. This does not mean that an animal must exhibit at two National Shows, just that two Nationals Shows must take place. So far, one of the National Shows have cancelled, Keystone International Livestock Exposition. If any more cancel we will get these updates to the membership as best as we can. During these unprecedented times because of Covid-19 we all have to anticipate possible adjustments happening to everything we do. The resulting awards for the National Shows will be presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting, which is the kickoff of our 150th Anniversary Celebration. 

Below are the points that will be used for the National Shows.

5 National Shows

1st: 8 points

2nd: 7 points

3rd: 6 points

4th: 5 points

5th: 4 points

Division Champion: 7 points

Reserve Division Champion: 5 points

Grand Champion: 11 points

Reserve Grand Champion: 9 points

SHORTHORN REPRESENTATION ON BIF BOARD

MANHATTAN, Kan. (June 8, 2020) —The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) announced new directors and officers June 8 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium, hosted virtually this year.

Joe Mushrush, Strong City, Kansas, was introduced as the 2020-2021 BIF president during the Monday session. Matt Perrier, Eureka, Kansas, is the new vice president. New directors elected to serve on the BIF board were producers John Irvine, Manhattan, Kansas; Troy Marshall, Burlington, Colorado; and Joy Reznicek, West Point, Mississippi. New association representatives elected were Shane Bedwell, American Hereford Association; Kelli Retallick, American Angus Association; and Matt Woolfolk, American Shorthorn Association.

Bob Weaber, Kansas State University professor, was announced as the new BIF executive director. Weaber will be taking the reins from Jane Parish, Mississippi State University, who served as executive director from 2015-2020.

“Jane has been a great leader for the organization, and we are grateful for the years she dedicated to BIF,” says Tommy Clark, 2019-2020 BIF president. “Under her leadership, BIF has raised the bar in member services, as well as its communication and marketing efforts to members, the board and the organization’s partners.”

Also retiring from the staff after 18 years of service to BIF is Lois Schreiner. From 2002-2020, Schreiner served as executive assistant to several directors and has been integral in BIF’s success.

“Lois is phenomenal,” says Weaber. “She has been the heart and soul of BIF, and the behind-the-scenes contribution she has made to BIF for the past 18 years is immeasurable.”

More than 1,300 beef producers, academia and industry representatives registered to participate in the organization’s 52nd Annual Research Symposium — Online. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.

For more information about this year’s symposium, including additional award winners and coverage of meeting, visit the Awards and Newsroom pages of BIFconference.com. For more information about BIF, visit BeefImprovement.org.

The 2021 BIF Convention and Research Symposium will be June 22-25 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Are You Listening?

Written by: Matt Woolfolk, Director of Performance Programs

The title of the article is always my opportunity to grab your attention, hoping you’ll read my monthly column. In this instance, I’m not worried about if you are listening to me, but rather the customers that show up to your farms and ranches to buy cattle. There’s one media publication that is trying to get the bull customer to talk about what they want, and their report gives us a chance to listen. 

For the past six years, BEEF Magazine has put together a project titled The Seedstock 100. The project was printed in the January 2020 issue of BEEF Magazine. The Seedstock 100 sets out to identify those producers across the United States who merchandise the most bulls into the marketplace. This list of elite bull marketers ranges from selling 230 bulls in 2019 to almost 4,000 young sires, and can be found in 23 states coast to coast. Within the breeding programs of the Seedstock 100, there are 33 different breeds, composites, or hybrid breeds of cattle listed. Unfortunately, neither Shorthorn nor ShorthornPlus are included in those 33 bull breed types. 

As part of their publishing of the Seedstock 100 list, BEEF also included some findings from a producer survey in regards to genetic makeup, purchasing demands, and management practices in their operations. The summary article compiled by BEEF writer Wes Ishmael was pretty enlightening. I encourage you to go read the whole report, if you can. While treating the responses to any survey as pure gospel is always a cautionary tale, it is still interesting to look at the responses from commercial producers in hopes of identifying a potential trend.

According to respondents to this survey, 72% of their cow herds were classified as mostly straightbred British or British crossbred females. From that subset of cattlemen, 97% of those straight and British crossbred cattle were classified as Angus (73%), Red Angus (15%) or Hereford (9%). When it comes to bull purchasing, the responses to this survey indicate that those same three breeds make up 84% of the bulls most recently purchased. Those same three breeds also dominate the responses for the breed of choice for bull purchases in the next three years.  When asked if they planned to change the breed composition of their cow herd over the next five years, only 22% indicated that they were planning to do so. Eighty-five percent of responses indicated raising their own replacement females, while 68% market their feeder cattle at auction. In terms of retained ownership, 18% indicated that they keep ownership of their calves. 

When it comes to data and information to make a bull buying decision, birth and calving ease information are most valued in this survey. Seventy eight percent want to know the actual birth weight of the calf, while more respondents want the EPD for Calving Ease Direct (77%) than they do Birth Weight (71%). Buyers prefer an actual weaning weight (63%) over a 205-day adjusted weight (55%), and 62% of buyers want access to a WW EPD. Albeit by a small margin, more responses indicated wanting a disposition score over a yearling weight (54% vs 51%). When it comes to the use of selection indexes, 56% of the respondents “routinely” use these tools to identify potential bulls to buy. In terms of priority of index type, maternal (44%) was the most popular, followed by end product/carcass (39%) and multipurpose (31%). Eighty-two percent of responses say that the information provided to them by the seedstock producer is understandable, while only 14% say that the information is too complicated. Only one in four responses indicated they needed a genomic profile on a bull, while 46% of responses use genomic data in their bull selection. That tells me that while they may not require the information, if genomic information is available, they are fairly likely to use it. As Wes Ishmael said himself in the article, “The idea that about half of bull buyers use genomic data in selection would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.”

While this is a lot of information to digest, I think it lends some wisdom on what the customer is thinking. Truthfully, I don’t agree with everything that we see in the results of this survey, but that’s just the number crunching side of me showing. However, if gaining commercial acceptance as a breed is an avenue we would like to pursue, I feel that knowing the mindset of the customer can help you get there. That is the reasoning behind ASA collecting data at NCBA Convention and in our own commercial survey.  The dominance of British genetics is not a surprise, and certainly offers us a challenge as a British breed fighting in the 3% that the Big Three don’t occupy. However, with the survey indicating that one out of five cattlemen are looking to make changes to their herd’s genetic makeup, opportunity is available for a breed that offers unique, useful traits. With the increasing value being placed on docility (and Shorthorn’s natural propensity to for good docility), there might be an opening for the right kind of Shorthorn cattle to make a market impact. While nobody but your customer can tell you what the right kind of Shorthorn is, the responses to this survey show what type of information a bull buyer asks for and the type of cow herd most bulls are getting used in. Fortunately for you, being a part of the American Shorthorn Association offers you the opportunity to give them all the things they asked for through this BEEF Magazine survey.

ASA Board Elects First Female President

During the American Shorthorn Association Annual Meeting the board elected new officers to serve for the 2019-2020 term.

Nancy Grathwohl-Heter of Kansas, made Shorthorn history when the board elected her to serve as the first female president of the ASA.

Nancy has spent her life raising and showing Shorthorn cattle which has grown her passion for the breed. She served on the American Junior Shorthorn Association board of directors from 1994-1997, serving as president her last year. Nancy and her husband Ryan, run DTR Cattle Company in Raymond, Kansas. Their two kids, Josie and Ryder, exhibit Shorthorns at local, state and national shows. Her love for the breed is evident in her dedication to serving on the board and raising Shorthorns.

“I am very honored to serve as the President of the ASA board,” Nancy said. “Growing up in the Shorthorn breed, I have looked up to members of our association and feel the opportunities available to junior members have helped develop me into the person I am today. I am looking forward to this next year as I get to work with my fellow board members for the betterment of the breed.”

With almost 150 years of history, the ASA continues to develop a passion in its members to serve and grow the Shorthorn breed.

New Board Members and Officers Elected

During the American Shorthorn Association Annual Meeting on November 23, delegates from all over the country gathered to elect new ASA board members.

The nominating committee submitted three candidates for the available positions. Jerrell Crow from Oklahoma, Lee Miller from Ohio, and John Russell from Texas were elected to each serve a three-year term. The board elected new officers for the nine-member board. The new president of the board is Nancy Grathwohl-Heter of Kansas, the first female president of the American Shorthorn Association. The vice-president is Hugh Mooney of California and the executive director is Dave Greenhorn of Ohio. They serve alongside Joe Bales of Tennessee, Toby Jordan of Indiana, John Sonderman of Nebraska, Jerrell Crow of Oklahoma, Lee Miller of Ohio, and John Russell of Texas.