Interesting times at the recent NCBA Convention and Trade Show in Phoenix this past January. I attended a packed-house press event held, surprisingly, by two of the most popular breed associations in America; Red Angus and Hereford. Whatever could they be up to in concert with each other. Well, here’s a portion of the press release.
Leading Beef Breed Associations Partner to Release “Premium Red Baldy” Program
Phoenix – Two of the largest beef breed associations in the U.S. have teamed up to offer commercial cattlemen a groundbreaking, genetically verified program to improve their bottom line. The Red Angus Association of America and the American Hereford Association are proud to introduce the “Premium Red Baldy” program, designed to capitalize on the best traits from both breeds while developing supreme quality commercial females.
RAAA CEO Tom Brink and AHA Executive Vice President Jack Ward announced the new initiative at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix.
At The Red Reception, a special breeder’s event held to commemorate the joint venture, Brink said, “Both Red Angus and Hereford are committed to the success of commercial cow-calf producers, and we believe the pathway to profitability begins with having the right genetics in the cow herd. This new program will help producers access genetically verified females that are packed with heterosis and ready to go to work on farms and ranches all across the country. It all starts with the right cow traits, and Premium Red Baldy females will excel in that regard.”
“AHA is honored to join Red Angus to introduce the Premium Red Baldy program that identifies genetically superior F-1 females,” Ward said. “The AHA and RAAA are the only two breed associations that implement a mandatory whole herd reporting performance program which gives strength and reliability to their respective genetic evaluations.”
Premium Red Baldy is a tagging program designed to take advantage of hybrid vigor by maximizing the best traits of both breeds and providing commercial producers with premium replacement females. This program, targeting only heifers, will generate females for the commercial producer by emphasizing longevity, fertility, adaptability and efficiency. This partnership of powerhouse breeds promises to elevate the best genetics from each, and will build better F1 females to further the beef industry.
For more information about the Premium Red Baldy program, contact Trey Befort, AHA Director of Commercial Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chessie Mitchell, RAAA Tag Program Coordinator at email@example.com.
Good luck with that, folks. I’ve always loved those baldies. Good mama cows.
Honesty, Fairness, Trust…not just words in a column
I received this letter not long ago;
Dear Mr. O’Byrne,
I noticed your last issue of WR did not include any information about the recent Oklahoma Beef Checkoff vote. The vote was about 2500 against and 2000 in favor. If the Oklahoma vote had been conducted as the one in Missouri by mailing ballots to every rancher, we would have had the same results as Missouri with an 80 percent negative vote.
I have attached a couple of articles for your review.
Dr. Gary Greene
Round Rock Ranch
Thanks for that, Dr. Greene.
The ‘articles’ were A) what appeared to be an opinion piece titled Time to Check Out of the Checkoff, no byline; B) a news article titled Audit firm gets sued after embezzlement – by Jack Money, Business Writer, Oklahoman; and C) a letter to OK Governor Mary Fallin et al., subject line Beef Check-Off Vote, signed Dr. Gary Greene.
I took the time to read them over, and appreciated the very real concerns that Dr. Greene and many others bring to the table. Although the content was complex, the basic thread of the articles/letters is that Dr. Greene felt that the Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC) did a poor job of protecting the money in their care ($2.6 million of it was embezzled by an OBC employee awhile back – that was a shocker), the Checkoff vote was not handled fairly by the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, and cash is/was being used inappropriately (cited NY Times article from 2010 Audit Finds Problems in Cattlemen’s Spending by William Neuman – google it).
Reflection on these papers made me conjure up this scenario from the old West.
Out of necessity early cattlemen created a handshake association, agreed on a Mission Statement, adopted Rules of Order, and through a shared belief that trust was not just a cornerstone, it was the entire foundation of the effort, these cattle associations came into being. Many of them are over a century old and healthier than ever.
The early associations elected a Treasurer they could trust who was responsible for collecting, accounting for and protecting a steel lock box full of cash and papers belonging to the membership. It was a pretty simple concept; steal from the box and you best saddle a fast horse. The second concept Dr. Greene brings up is, “I want a voice in how much money is collected, how it’s collected, and how it’s spent,” (becoming a member of your local cattle association is a good start).
I believe the Checkoff, put into place in 1985, can and has done much good. Many times we are not even aware of all the Checkoff-funded efforts that are constantly chugging and perking away, but if the goal is to promote beef consumption to a consumer that has lost touch with us and what we do and how well we do it, I’m all for it. To a point. Comparing the simplistic early cattle associations and accounting of a treasurer and a lock box with today’s mega-business workings of an association dealing with millions of dollars that you can’t even physically count and stack on the table is like comparing a Model T with a RAM 3500. Therein lie our challenges. Masking nefarious dealings like skimming, padding or flat out embezzlement today may appear easier the more complicated society gets, although electronic trails generally lead to the ultimate downfall of such endeavors.
However, the foundation of our industry remains the same: Trust. But not blind trust…we’re too cagey for that.