Interns Remarks from working at ASA

As the intern’s time slowly comes to an end, they looked back on our time here with ASA and want to give our thanks and remarks of this internship.

Wyatt

My time at the American Shorthorn Association has been nothing but remarkable. Taking on this position as the Communication Intern for the summer has been very rewarding. I have accomplished various career development skills and I am so grateful for all that I have learned. I can honestly say that this job has taught me many things that you can’t learn in a classroom. The staff at ASA is truly amazing and I am so glad I had the opportunity to work and get know to each of them. (Even though I might have annoyed them by playing my music too loud and sometimes bickering with the other interns about silly stuff.) I am also grateful for the networking and relationships I have built through this internship and really appreciate all the support and friendly conversations I’ve had with members, volunteers, and youth of this association. The people involved in this association were my favorite part of this internship and truly made my time here worth it. I hope the best for this association and anyone involved in it and hope to keep in contact in the future. Enjoy the rest of your summer and good luck with your involvement with ASA!

 

Faith

My time here with the American Shorthorn Association has been one of the most beneficial times. I will miss everyone in the office as my time ends. I enjoyed getting to work on tasks for junior nationals and loved the chance to help the youth here. This internship gave me a chance to work and develop more than just computer skills and I will be grateful for the things that I learned here as the Registration Intern. I think it is safe to say that I have learned, developed great friendships, and made many acquaintances that I hope to see develop into friendships later. Thank you to the other interns Wade and Wyatt Minihan for working with me and to Shelby for putting up with us this summer. Can’t wait to see where the American Shorthorn Association goes in the future!

 

Wade

Although my time at the American Shorthorn Association has been short, it has been great. From the first day, the staff has been nothing but welcoming and helpful. Through this internship, I have learned so much, met many new faces, and have a gained numerous skill that I will be able to take with me, as I continue on down the road in life. I very much enjoyed preparing all the contest materials for junior nationals and hope I was able to leave an impact on those junior members. I would like to thank all the staff, and volunteers that helped pull of a successful junior national. You never realize all the work and dedication that is put into a show, until you’re in those shoes. I’m walking away from this internship feeling blessed and honored to have been able to serve as the Youth Activities Internship this summer. A special thanks to Shelby Rogers, Wyatt Minihan and Faith Massingill for all their time and dedication they put in at the ASA. The Shorthorn breed is growing and look forward to watching the breeds growth and development in the years to come.

 

Thank you from all of us for welcoming us into the family-friendly breed. We are sad the summer is over but look forward to seeing everyone down the road!

College Insight from the Interns

  1. Preparation
  • Start as a high school freshman and keep track of all involvement through clubs, organizations, associations, sports, youth groups, volunteering, awards, etc. This will make filling out applications less stressful. Also, apply for as many scholarships as you can!
  • Research the different universities of interest, make a campus visit and then pick your best fit.
  1. Live in the Dorms
  • This is a great way to meet friends and give you the true “college experience.” It also makes for some great stories to tell down the road.

Below are a few stories from the interns days in the dorms.

Wyatt– My roommate and I did not get along very well, and he made living with him very difficult. I finally had enough and put laxative in his workout powders. Although this is not something I would ever do again, it does get a laugh out of most people!

Faith– One time my roommates boyfriend branded himself and came over to our room for medical attention. Let’s just say the scar is fairly ugly and it wasn’t his best decision but it’s a memory that we will all share till we go to the grave.

Wade– My friend and I would have weekly movie parties and would leave the door to my room open so other people could join. One time we ended up with 25 people in my room although by dorm rules we were only allowed to have 10 people in a room at a time.

  1. Check and make sure that the college credits you have taken in high school will transfer to your university. Talk to your advisor & see how you can make them all work.
  2. Get involved!
  • Have an open mind and don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Whether its high school or college don’t hold yourself back in fear. Life is too short to not venture out and try new things.
  1. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
  • Although you might think your parents and siblings are the worst thing ever, moving away will make you realize that they aren’t all that bad. You may not always agree with them but your time away will help you to appreciate them and value them. Also, you’ll be calling your parents often(they know more than you would like to admit)
  1. Take a fun class!
  • These sometimes turn out to be the best part of college. You’ll meet new people and develop new fun skills all while having a good time! Yes, it’s going to cost a little money, but you can only use the young and irresponsible card for so many years!
  1. Get to know your professors
  • Especially the professors in you major. They will be tremendous help in your education and career development.
  1. Make a packing list and do some research
  • Every college is different, and some may require more packing than others. What kind of clothes are you going to need? Does your dorm come with a fridge and/or microwave? What movies help you get over homesickness? This is a time where overpacking should be a priority. Below are a few items that the interns were very glad they packed.
  1. Dorm size vacuum (‘Dirt Devil’ from amazon)
  2. Iron and Ironing Board (you or someone on your floor will need this sometime)
  3. Pillows and favorite blanket/s (this is a great reminder of home)
  4. Air mattress (you will have visitors)
  5. Plates and silverware (you will be eating in your room often)
  6. Take your time
  • Enjoy your time at college and take it at your own pace. There is no shame in taking extra time or graduating early. Your main focus should be getting an education that has prepared you enough for the work force.
  1. Internships!
  • Internships are important in so many ways. They give you real life work experience and sometimes can be the make or break factor in realizing if your major is the right fit for you. They’re also great for networking and meeting new people-you never know who your boss/supervisor will know and they could be very helpful in your career down the road.

Interns View on NJSS

As we unpack and recover from the busy and fun week in Lebanon, Tennessee, the interns wanted to give our views on NJSS.

Wyatt

Attending Shorthorn Junior Nationals was a different experience for myself in many ways. It was rewarding to see all the hard work come together. This great week of fun made memories for the youth and their families. Although, I am used to attending Hereford Junior Nationals, the dedication and passion the youth have for the Shorthorn breed is similar and was rewarding to encounter. I was able to spend most of my time capturing photos of the exhibitors and their animals. I know the time and dedication it takes and it’s fulfilling to be able to capture their success through a lens. Be sure to check out the AJSA Facebook page in the next few days for all the photos I captured at the 2019 NJSS in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Faith

Wow! Junior Nationals is done and it’s hard to believe that it is already over. I had such a great time getting to meet the juniors and parents involved with the Shorthorn association. Overall, this was one of my favorite shows to attend and work as an intern. I had fun helping wherever I was needed and hope the juniors had a blast at the 2019 NJSS in Tennessee. Congratulations to everyone who participated in Lebanon, I wish you luck for the upcoming show season. Get out there and show off the great breed of Shorthorns!

Wade

NJSS was a different experience for me, as I grew up going to Hereford Junior Nationals. As the youth activities intern, I had the opportunity to prepare all the contests, scripts, organize awards and help with many other tasks. Until you are actually in those shoes, you never realize all the work behind the scenes to make a junior national successful. I have a new-found respect for all those hard-working individuals who help make a show happen without any major issues. I really enjoyed all the task my internship gave this year. While in Lebanon, Tennessee I was able to match a name to a face at the end of the week and look forward to seeing those familiar face at other shows. The Shorthorn breed, as a whole, welcomed us with smiling faces and great personalities. Overall, the NJSS was an awesome experience and, although I may be a Hereford kid, look out for me at future Shorthorn Junior Nationals.

ASA Members, welcome the newly formed band, “The Red Roans”

Our names are Wade, Wyatt, and Faith and we will be your entertainment (interns) for this summer’s tour. The biggest show of the year is scheduled in Lebanon, Tennessee, on June 17. We have been very busy preparing for the performance of the year and we’re ready for a week of “Strumming a Shorthorn Tune!” Our band members and stage crew here at ASA are excited for a fun filled week and can’t wait for the final performance!

 

Keyboard Player Wyatt

Is everyone ready for a good time?!? This past week in the office has been very busy but also very enjoyable! My main focus has been preparing the set list (exhibitor folders), designing graphics and preparing content for our social media pages. I have really enjoyed meeting my fellow band members (other interns, well only one of the interns since the one of them is my twin brother) and the stage crew (ASA staff) as we prepare for this great performance! I have really enjoyed Kansas City and look forward to exploring more! I’m very excited to meet you all in Tennessee!

Guitarist Faith

How’s everyone doing?! I have been Strumming a Shorthorn Tune all week as my band members (other interns) and I prepare for our upcoming concert! I have been working hard on ticket orders (entries) to make sure that you have all the correct information and payments to attend this great performance that you don’t want to miss. I’m excited to be here and can’t wait to learn more about Kansas City and the Shorthorn breed. Hope you’re ready to rock out and strum along with my crew and me! If you have any questions about your tickets (entries) make sure to contact me or our lead singer (Shelby Rogers) at any time!

Drummer Wade

Who’s ready to have some fun?! Hope you’re all ready to pack the seats and tap along to the best hits at the greatest concert of the summer. I have been incredibly busy preparing contests for our audience (Junior members) and making sure the week is filled with exciting and competitive activities. The fellow band members and set crew have enjoyed the last week of getting to know each other and we are looking forward for the final performance in Tennessee. Kansas City has been a good time and I’m excited for more adventures in the near future. Make sure to get your tickets booked and get ready to jam along to the newest and hottest hit of the summer!

 

We are 18 days away from the biggest concert of the summer and can’t wait to enjoy the fun filled week in Tennessee!

 

An In-Depth Look at Selection Indices: Part 3

We’ve reached the finale in the series of articles discussing the lineup of available selection indices for Shorthorn breeders and customers. After covering the basics of what goes into a selection index in January, and further explaining $Calving Ease and $Feedlot in February, March finds us with two final pieces of the index puzzle to piece together: $British Maternal Index ($BMI) and $Fescue.

$British Maternal Index

The written definition of $BMI on the ASA website is as follows:

“This multi-trait selection index attempts to measure a bull’s potential profitability when complimenting the British cow base (Angus, Red Angus, Hereford, etc.) in a maternal breeding program. Shorthorn females can likewise be gauged at adding value to British or British-composite bulls of other breeds. A balance of growth (WW) and carcass traits (REA, Fat, MB) are desired with a strong maternal component (CED, Milk, CEM) aimed at moderate mature size (YW), optimum reproductive efficiency and cow longevity.”

A few points of emphasis can be gleaned from this Websteresque definition. First and foremost, you can figure out that there are several traits of interest included in $BMI. In a more comprehensive scenario like this one, there are more traits that become involved. I think you will notice that the production situation outlined in this index is more complex than $Feedlot, and certainly more involved than $Calving Ease. Many of America’s commercial cattle producers have their programs set up with management similar to what is described in $BMI: British-based cows, selling calves at weaning, and retaining replacements heifers.

With most commercial cattlemen selling calves at weaning, the economic drivers of this sector of their enterprise are ive calves and pounds of calf at weaning. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense for the CED and WW EPDs to play a significant part of $BMI. Weaning weight has arguably the most significant impact on $BMI of any included traits. When retaining females for the breeding herd, they need to be able to have a live calf, produce milk to raise that calf, and do so in a moderate mature size. While we have EPDs to measure two of these 3 traits (CEM and Milk), we have to use YW as an indicator trait for mature size since there is a not current EPD for mature cow weight in the Shorthorn genetic evaluation. A higher YW EPD has a more negative impact on $BMI, as bigger YW indicates a larger mature cow size. Even though it is not a direct point of emphasis in the scenario outlined for $BMI, carcass traits (REA, Fat, Marb) do play a role in the calculation, albeit smaller than the other traits outlined. Once these cattle are sold at weaning and enter the feedlot, the ones with the genetic capability to perform on the rail become more valuable to feeders.

When the $BMI index was developed, The American Shorthorn Association did not have a Stayability EPD to include in $BMI. Obviously, the ability of a female to stay in the cow herd productively has an impact on her ability to add profit to the ranch’s bottom line. Like I mentioned in the previous article for $Feedlot, it’s not as easy to edit an index as to just stick the Stayability EPD into the $BMI formula and it still work properly. There have been several discussions amongst staff, ASA BOD and breeders involved in ASA committees on the best way to improve this index going forward.

$Fescue

The youngest and most unique member of the Shorthorn index lineup is $Fescue. The components of $Fescue are very similar to $BMI, but with an added genomic piece to the puzzle. The addition of $Fescue is only for those animals who have had the Fescue Tolerance T-Snip test that is offered by AgBotanica performed and recorded with ASA. The test results are reported on a 0-50 scale, with cattle scoring a 50 considered to be most tolerant of toxic fescue. Research from AgBotanica indicates that cows with incrementally higher scores for the fescue tolerance test weaned off heavier calves than those with lower scores (40s weaned off heavier calves than 30s, who weaned off heavier than 20s, etc.)

The methodology behind $Fescue includes the calculation of $BMI with the Fescue Tolerance test score incorporated into the equation as a weighted factor. With the research conducted by AgBotanica showing how much of an effect the score has on weaning weight produced, it was possible to weight the score into a selection index. The most logical piece to incorporate with $Fescue is $BMI, as a production scenario that is most likely to be impacted by grazing toxic fescue is a cow/calf situation like the one outlined for $BMI.

Wrap Up
With this look into the components of each selection index that is offered to ASA members, hopefully you now have a better idea of what makes up these tools and have more confidence to use them in your mating decisions. As always, these are just a few of the available tools out there to help you breed better cattle. A tool is only useful if it’s used properly, and only using one tool to try and do a complex job (like breeding cattle) can prove very difficult. Use your knowledge of your herd, in addition to the available tools like EPDs and selection indices, to make the most informed decision.

Written by Matt Woolfolk, Director of Performance Programs

An In-Depth Look at Selection Indices: Part 2

I kicked off 2019 by beginning this series on the selection index lineup we have available to Shorthorn breeders and their customers. In the January issue, a basic overview of selection index technology was provided in Part 1. With the concepts of how selection indices are constructed laid out, it’s time to go deeper into the specific indices that are available in the Shorthorn genetic evaluation. In this installment, I’m going to provide you some more information on two of our selection indices; $Calving Ease and $Feedlot.

$Calving Ease ($CEZ)
The $Calving Ease index in our genetic evaluation is the simplest in terms of the number of traits included. This index is designed to identify the bulls that are best suited for use in breeding heifers. Bulls with a high $CEZ value are the bulls that are expected to sire offspring that calve unassisted and then grow out to a moderate mature weight. To meet that goal, the EPDs included in $CEZ are Calving Ease Direct (CED) and Yearling Weight (YW). CED is weighted heavily in this index, while YW is taken into consideration as an indicator trait for mature weight, which we do not have an EPD for currently. Higher growth cattle (the ones with really high YW EPDs) will see their $CEZ impacted more heavily than moderate YW EPD cattle, as the index is designed to select for cattle that will reach a moderate mature weight. Currently, the average of all non-parent cattle in the Shorthorn database for $CEZ is 28.10. Cattle in the top 25% of the breed have a $CEZ of 36.56 or greater, while cattle in the top 10% will boast a 46.10 or greater $CEZ.

$Feedlot ($F)
For those of you who retain ownership of feeder cattle, or might have customers that do so, the $Feedlot index is designed with that production scenario in mind. Sires that excel in $F are expected to sire feeder calves that will grow rapidly and produce a carcass that can grade very well on a quality scale. The $Feedlot has a few more pieces to it when compared to $Calving Ease. The EPDs included in $F include CED, Weaning Weight (WW), YW, Fat, Ribeye Area (REA), and Marbling (MB).

I’m sure the first thing that catches your attention from this list is the inclusion of CED. CED is incorporated into $F because even though this is a terminal index with growth and end product emphasized, completely ignoring calving ease could lead to dystocia problems, even in a terminally-focused operation. Therefore, CED is included in $F, albeit in a smaller emphasis than the other traits involved. As you would expect, growth and carcass merit are highlighted in $F. Of all of the carcass traits (Fat, REA, and MB), MB is more heavily emphasized than the others, as quality-based premiums and improving carcass quality grade are increasingly important in the industry. Both growth traits are more heavily emphasized in $F than CED and the carcass traits. After all, even at harvest, cattle are still sold by the pound, and cattle that grow are more likely to produce heavier (and more valuable) carcasses. Yearling Weight is used as an indicator trait for Carcass Weight, with the reasoning being that when $F was developed several years ago, there was no Carcass Weight EPD to include. Unfortunately, implementing Carcass Weight in place of YW is not as simple as taking one number out and putting another in.

As of the time that this was written, the average of non-parent Shorthorn cattle for $F is 52.35. For an animal to be in the Top 25%, the $F must be 54.51 or greater, and a $F of 57.04 qualifies in the Top 10% of non-parent Shorthorns. Hopefully, having some insight into what goes into our stable of selection indices gives you a better idea of how they might be beneficial to use in your breeding programs. It’s hard to use something when you don’t understand how it works, whether it is a power tool, an electronic device, or a selection index. In the next issue of Shorthorn Country, Part 3 of this series will tackle the $British Maternal Index, as well as the $Fescue.

Written by Matt Woolfolk, ASA Director of Performance Programs

An In-Depth Look at Selection Indices: Part 1

A hot topic in the hallway at the ASA Annual Meeting in Kansas City was the use of selection indices and the tools we have available in the Shorthorn breed. Selection index technology wasn’t an official topic in the educational forum, but I believe there was a lot of interest and educating going on among many breeders in attendance. There was a lot of good information and philosophy spread amongst breeders, and I hate that everyone couldn’t be in attendance to be a part of these discussions. That spurred the idea to spend a few months writing about selection indices, how they work, and what we have available in the Shorthorn breed at this time for you to use in your breeding programs. In order to get the best view we can at the whole picture, I think it’s only fitting that we start with the basics before diving into the more specific material.

The development of selection indices in the beef cattle industry are a relatively new addition to genetic evaluations. After EPDs came along, the idea to combine some of those genetic predictors into a single figure to attempt to gauge economic and genetic merit led to the implementation of the selection index. A selection index is intended to give a cattleman a relative economic value for an individual animal when in a specific production scenario. Traits that are important to a scenario are identified and included in an equation. The traits in the equation are weighted based on their economic value in the individual production scenario. Depending on the situation, some traits will be weighted significantly in the calculations, while others may only play a small role in the final output. Simply put, a selection index is like a long, complicated algebra formula, but instead of just X and Y for variables, there are a LOT more, with some indices having nearly enough components to have variables A through Z!

Usually, an association will offer several selection index options to their membership to try and meet several of their breeding objectives. Each index is calculated from a specific production situation, and it is important to know and understand those situations when studying an index. An index built for a breeding program of mature cows may not be as effective for you if you are looking to breed heifers. An index built with retained ownership of feeder cattle in mind may not quite fit your needs (or the needs of your customers) if selling calves at weaning is your main objective. Of course, whatever index is available to you may not be a perfect fit for your operation, but there’s a good chance that one or more indices will fit the needs of your program pretty well.

A selection index is designed to help breeders improve genetic merit without the drawbacks of single trait selection that can sometimes occur when using a single EPD to make breeding decisions. We all know that multiple traits must be taken into consideration when evaluating what makes profitable cattle in any situation, and a selection index is the best tool we have of predicting which animals can work in an environment.

The American Shorthorn Association has four available selection indices available for breeder use in their mating and selection decisions. They include $Calving Ease, $British Maternal Index, $Feedlot and $Fescue. In future issues, I will go into more detail about the components and uses of each index. Identifying traits of importance, the production scenarios designed for each index, and how we can use them as Shorthorn breeders and commercial seedstock producers will be discussed.

In the ever changing world of beef cattle genetic evaluation and selection, the use of the selection index is growing increasingly popular with commercial bull buyers. As providers of commercial seedstock, I hope that you feel it is part of your responsibility to understand and assist your customers in finding and using the proper selection index that meets their operation’s criteria. Hopefully, I will be able to fulfill my responsibility to give you the information you need to accomplish this goal over the next few articles!

STATE ASSOCIATION CO-OP ADVERTISING PROGRAM UPDATED GUIDELINES

STATE ASSOCIATION CO-OP ADVERTISING PROGRAM

  1. The state association coop advertising program is designed to help ASA and state associations share the cost of promoting the Shorthorn breed.
  2. Advertisement requests must be made by state association’s president, vice-president or secretary manager. Advertisements cannot be requested by groups of breeders or individuals.
  3. The ASA will reimburse 50% of the ad cost, up to a total of $650 per state per fiscal year.
  4. There are limited coop funds available for states in each fiscal year. No more coop ads will be funded when available funds have been utilized.
  5. Each state association must pay advertisement and send paid invoice to ASA to be reimbursed. ASA encourages the state association to include a copy of the ad placed with paid invoice.
  6. ASA will have 4 general ad choices and 2 contract ads for state associations to choose from. ASA encourages states to use contract ads for more Shorthorn promotion throughout the year.
    1. General Ads are a minimum of a quarter page in size and not larger than a full page in size.
    2. Contract Ads cannot be smaller than 1 column by 2 inches.
    3. Ads will have space to include the state association logo and contact information.
    4. Ads will include the ASA logo and contact information.
    5. Ads can include state events, dates and locations but not individual breeder information and dates.
    6. All ad requests must be submitted to ASA at least 5 business days before deadline. Ads will not be eligible for ad copy approval if received less than 10 business days before deadline.
  7. State Associations must provide the following ad specs to the ASA.
    1. Publication name, phone number and email address
    2. Ad Deadline
    3. Ad Size
    4. Full Color or Black & White
    5. State Association information to be included in ad
  8. State associations are required to meet above guidelines in order to be eligible to receive reimbursement for coop ads.

Guidelines updated September 26, 2018

KY State Fair Super Regional

On Friday, August 24, 2018, Shorthorn exhibitors showed at the Kentucky State Fair. The Super Regional Show was judged by Josh Taylor of Perkins, OK. Taylor evaluated 32 purebred females, 9 purebred bulls and 14 ShorthornPlus females.

Grand Champion Female was awarded to BRH Proud Fool 1720 shown by Caroline Winter of Ashville, OH.

Reserve Grand Champion Female honors went to GCC Evolution Charm 7102 ET, exhibited by Kolten Greenhorn of Waynesville, OH.

Grand Champion Bull was Armstrong Easy Rider 1603 exhibited by John Allen IV of Saxonburg, PA.

Reserve Grand Champion Bull was EGL Neptune MX 759 exhibited by Eva Ennis of Martinsville, IN.

In the ShorthornPlus show, Grand Champion Female honors went to 4D Mae Lynn D21E shown by Rachel Drumm of Winchester, KY.

Reserve Grand Champion ShorthornPlus Female was LCF Roxie Diamond 727 exhibited by Reba Prather of Nancy, KY.

Adios Interns

Today marks the last day of our internship here in Kansas City. It’s been a whirlwind of a time learning about the association, working with junior members and planning Junior Nationals and the IGS Summit. These summer months have flown by and we are going to miss all of the staff members in the office, but we are leaving with some great memories and experiences. Working in a breed association has been the perfect opportunity to help us grow in our professional skills and give us a look into career possibilities. Everyone in the office has been so welcoming and helpful, and we are grateful for the friendly atmosphere we were able to work in.

 

For our last day, we decided to throw a potluck brunch. This year, for the Beef Cook-Off contest at Junior Nationals, the key ingredient was steak. We decided to center our dish around this cut of beef and thought breakfast burritos would be the perfect way to start our last day. After searing the steak on the stove, we added some scrambled eggs and bundled the mix up in individual flour tortillas. Shelby brought potatoes as her side dish, which made for a great addition to the burritos. After a healthy dose of some salsa and cheese, the perfect burrito was born and the fiesta began!

 

Once everyone had eaten their body weight in burritos and side dishes, it was time for Anna and Emily Dyes to return to college for their final year of school, and Emily Meinhardt for her junior year. Our time here may have seemed short, but we will remember our experiences for a long time to come.