The Shorthorn Merit Award will recognize individuals that are not Shorthorn breeders who support and promote the cattle industry. This award honors those beef cattle industry leaders who have specifically assisted and had a positive influence on the Shorthorn breed. These individuals have been exceptional supporters and dedicated friends of the Shorthorn breed for many years.
Larry Cundiff was reared on a livestock and grain farm near Abilene, Kansas. He and his wife have a son, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. Larry received a B.S. degree in Animal Science at Kansas State University in 1961 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Oklahoma State University in 1964 and 1966.
From 1966 to 1967, he was Assistant Professor of Animal Science at the University of Kentucky. In 1967 he joined the United States Department of Agriculture as a Research Geneticist. He conducted beef cattle breeding research and was Coordinator of Regional Research Project NC-1 (1967-1988) located at the University of Nebraska from 1967 to 1973 and at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE from 1973- to 2007.
At the USMARC, he was an important member of a team of scientists that impacted genetic improvement programs, choice of breeds, crossbreeding systems and composite populations used for beef production in the United States and other countries. His colleagues included Drs. Gregory, Dickerson, Koch, and Van Vleck and many key scientists, staff and graduate students at the USMARC, University of Nebraska, and other cooperating institutions.
Dr. Cundiff was leader of a heterosis project evaluating effects of heterosis over four generations of systematic crossing of Herefords, Angus and Shorthorn cattle. Results from this program had a major influence on use of crossbreeding globally to utilize heterosis and reduce cost of beef production. Dr. Cundiff also served 32 years as leader of a comprehensive Germplasm Evaluation Program to characterize performance of 37 diverse breeds of beef cattle. Results from this research have impacted choice of breeds used in beef production in the U.S. and other countries. Data from this ongoing program provided the basis for across-breed EPD’s (expected progeny differences) used widely to compare animals of different breeds for 25 years.