History

The Shorthorn breed originated on the Northeastern coast of England in the counties of Northcumberland, Durham, York and Lincoln. The first real development of the breed occurred in the valley of the Tees River about 1600. The large framed cattle that inhabited this fertile valley became known as Teeswater cattle.

The breed later spread to Scotland and then to America in 1783. When first brought to Virginia, the breed had attained the name Durham. It was the first improved breed to be imported into the new world and the qualities the animal possessed made it in great demand and its influence spread rapidly across America.

Shorthorns were popular with America’s early settlers. They valued this breed for meat and milk and found Shorthorns a willing power for the wagon and plow. The breed followed pioneer wagons across the Great Plains and into the far West. By 1854, Midwestern farmers had begun direct importations from Scotland, concentrating their efforts on Shorthorns strictly for beef production.

Even in its early history, the breed was recognized because of its ability to adapt. It could be easily bred with the Spanish breed, Longhorns, brought in earlier by conquistadors. These early animals fit neatly in the time period to meet demand and needs during the early development of the beef cattle industry.

Although Shorthorns came first, in the 1870’s breeders discovered ‘natural hornless’ cattle occurring from time-to-time in horned herds. Thus, Polled Shorthorns were discovered and were the first major beef breed to be developed in the United States, having gained its origin in 1881 in Minnesota. Polled Shorthorns possess the same qualities for adaptability, mothering ability, reproductive performance, good disposition, feed conversion, longevity and popularity as their horned counterparts.

In 1822, the first herd book record was established by Shorthorn breeders called the Coates Herd Book. In 1846 The American Shorthorn Herd Book was the first to be published in this country for any breed, with the formation of the American Shorthorn Association (ASA) following 26 years later in 1872. Breeders from nine states formulated the organization, wishing to provide a service for its members and a way to record ancestry through the registration of Shorthorns. The ASA is one of the oldest American breed organizations in existence today.

Today the ASA has an Appendix Registry (AR) program, which includes ShorthornPlus and Durham Red registered cattle, which has been ongoing since 1973 with the intent to promote and verify Shorthorn influence in commercial production. This program has strengthened the Shorthorn influence by increasing numbers and providing additional germ plasm through the use of related and non-related breeds. The ASA is the only British breed with an ongoing Appendix program documenting the influence of related and non-related breeds in the breed registry.

The ASA records approximately 15,000 animals each year. More than 20,000 head are maintained in the association’s whole herd registry. The current membership is in excess of 2,500 adult members, with more than 4,000 juniors on the membership roll.

Current statistics for the ASA as of Fall 2012

  1. Registrations are up to 14,000, with nearly 9,000 transfers
  2. ShorthornPlus = 17% of total
  3. Senior Membership up 5.6%
  4. Increase in WHR memberships (& cows)
    Currently > 20,000 cows
  5. Top 10 states make up 66.1% of total registrations:
    1. Iowa
    2. Illinois
    3. Indiana
    4. Kansas
    5. Ohio
    6. Texas
    7. Minnesota
    8. Nebraska
    9. Missouri
    10. Oklahoma

Past Executive Secretaries

  • Lewis P. Muir 1882-1883
  • James H. Pickrell 1884-1900
  • John W. Groves 1901-1912
  • Roy G. Groves 1913-1914
  • Frank W. Harding 1915-1919
  • K. Groves 1920-1930
  • Frank W. Harding 1931-1938
  • J. Gramlick 1939-1942
  • Clint K. Tomson 1943-1951
  • Allan C. Atlason 1952-1957
  • Kenneth Fulk 1958-1960
  • D. “Pete” Swaffar 1961-1979
  • James W. Shirley 1980-1982
  • Roger E. Hunsley 1983-2002
  • Ron Bolze 2003-2006
  • Greg Ruehle 2007-2008
  • Bert Moore 2008-2013
  • Montie D. Soules 2013-Present

History

  • 1600

    The Shorthorn breed originated on the Northeastern coast of England in the counties of Northcumberland, Durham, York and Lincoln. The first real development of the breed occurred in the valley of the Tees River about 1600. The large framed cattle that inhabited this fertile valley became known as Teeswater cattle.

  • 1783

    The breed later spread to Scotland and then to America in 1783. When first brought to Virginia, the breed had attained the name Durham. It was the first improved breed to be imported into the new world and the qualities the animal possessed made it in great demand and its influence spread rapidly across America.

  • 1822

    In 1822, the first herd book record was established by Shorthorn breeders called the Coates Herd Book. In 1846 The American Shorthorn Herd Book was the first to be published in this country for any breed, with the formation of the American Shorthorn Association (ASA) following 26 years later in 1872. Breeders from nine states formulated the organization, wishing to provide a service for its members and a way to record ancestry through the registration of Shorthorns. The ASA is one of the oldest American breed organizations in existence today.

  • 1846

    American Shorthorn Herd Book, published by Lewis F Allen, Buffalo, New York

  • 1854

    Shorthorns were popular with America’s early settlers. They valued this breed for meat and milk and found Shorthorns a willing power for the wagon and plow. The breed followed pioneer wagons across the Great Plains and into the far West. By 1854, Midwestern farmers had begun direct importations from Scotland, concentrating their efforts on Shorthorns strictly for beef production.

    Even in its early history, the breed was recognized because of its ability to adapt. It could be easily bred with the Spanish breed, Longhorns, brought in earlier by conquistadors. These early animals fit neatly in the time period to meet demand and needs during the early development of the beef cattle industry.

  • 1869

    American Shorthorn Record established in Kentucky

  • 1872

    American Shorthorn Association Established at 27 Montauk Block, Chicago, Illinois

  • 1870's

    Although Shorthorns came first, in the 1870’s breeders discovered ‘natural hornless’ cattle occurring from time-to-time in horned herds. Thus, Polled Shorthorns were discovered and were the first major beef breed to be developed in the United States, having gained its origin in 1881 in Minnesota. Polled Shorthorns possess the same qualities for adaptability, mothering ability, reproductive performance, good disposition, feed conversion, longevity and popularity as their horned counterparts.

  • 1878

    Ohio Shorthorn Record established

  • 1883

    American Shorthorn Herd Book publishes 24th Volume under the control of the American Shorthorn Association. The American Shorthorn Association purchased copyrights to the American Shorthorn Herd Book for $25,000 followed by the purchase of the Kentucky and Ohio Shorthorn Records for $10,000 and $1,000 respectively. From this point forward, all herd books were under the management and control of the American Shorthorn Association.

  • 1894

    The American Shorthorn Association is relocated to 510 E. Monroe Street, Springfield, Illinois

  • 1889

    The American Polled Durham Association was formed with Polled Shorthorns recorded in the American Polled Durham Herd Book. The associations merged in 1923 and all registrations were then included in the same herd book.

  • 1903

    The American Shorthorn Association returns to Chicago, Illinois at the Purebred Livestock Record Building at 7 Dexter Park Avenue, Union Stock Yards, Chicago, Illinois

  • 1948

    Shorthorn Herd Book splits between Beef and Milking Shorthorn. The American Milking Shorthorn Association was established in this year.

  • 1958

    The American Shorthorn Association relocates to the Livestock Exchange Building, Omaha, Nebraska

  • 1963

    The present day American Shorthorn Association office is purchased at 8288 Hascall Street, Omaha, Nebraska

  • 1968

    The American Junior Shorthorn Association was established at the first National Shorthorn Youth Conference held in Louisville, Kentucky. Mark Tracy, Boulder, Colorado, was elected as the first President of the AJSA.

  • 1973

    Collection of data for the first Shorthorn Genetic Evaluation begins

  • 1973

    Today the ASA has an Appendix Registry (AR) program, which includes ShorthornPlus and Durham Red registered cattle, which has been ongoing since 1973 with the intent to promote and verify Shorthorn influence in commercial production. This program has strengthened the Shorthorn influence by increasing numbers and providing additional germ plasm through the use of related and non-related breeds. The ASA is the only British breed with an ongoing Appendix program documenting the influence of related and non-related breeds in the breed registry.

  • 1973

    The first National Junior Shorthorn Show & Youth Conference was held in Springfield, Illinois

  • 1982

    The first Shorthorn Genetic Evaluation was established to provide Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) to ASA members.

  • 1998

    Whole Herd Reporting Membership program established

  • 2010

    ASA Omaha Office Remodeled

  • 2014

    • ASA/AJSA assumes primary role in coordinating the annual National Junior Shorthorn Show & Youth Conference

    • New Regional Show System Announced

  • 2015

    • New District Structure for the election of ASA Delegates

    • ASA Rebranding to include new Logo and Website