Harmonizing Our Past and Present

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Harmonizing Our Past and Present

By Chip Kemp          |             

We just wrapped up the holidays. I hope that you and yours enjoyed the time, the perspective, and the real purpose of the season. I suspect in the midst of everything you enjoyed various get-togethers and parties that allowed you to reconnect with family and friends and I bet you even met some new faces along the way. This had me thinking about interesting guests and conversations that one could have in this sort of environment. One voice from history that I find engaging and fascinating and would have loved to have at a dinner party, is that of Winston Churchill. We know of his courage, his ability to tell a tale and layout a loaded quip, and his immeasurable impact on the course of human history. In fact, he delivered his famous Iron Curtain speech mere miles from my house. Clearly, Churchill is one of the most quoted humans of modern time. His quotes make for great reading that’ll make a person laugh more than once. So what? What’s the point? The point is it is now 2020 – a “round” year that provides for nostalgia and benchmarking of progress. An opportunity to consider how we align where we’ve been with where we are going.

Enter Churchill. His pondering for the day “Of this I am quite sure: That if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future.”   

Let’s face it, we all “quarrel” with comparing today with yesterday. Whether it is to help youth see how clearly our upbringing was better, more wholesome, harder, hillier, snowier, etc. than theirs or if it is to say how much we’ve gotten off track, on track, forgot the track, whatever. We do this constantly. Comparing the present with the past and all the while jeopardizing the potential for a meaningful future.

So, as we prep for the beef business in 2020 and beyond, I couldn’t help but try to harmonize our past and present with a little easy reading. I spent some time going through old notes and minutes from annual meetings. A who’s who of Simmental could be found in this exercise. I’ll be honest, it is a humbling experience when you remind yourself of the names of those who built this organization, this business of SimGenetics. One voice caught my attention multiple times. Lora Rose served as the chair of the Breed Improvement Committee for numerous years between the late 90s and early 2000s. Her annual reports show that our past aligns well with our present and sets the stage for an even greater role in the future. So as opposed to my words, I’d encourage you to read hers…   

“This committee has focused its support for programs used to identify and measure genetics for carcass and maternal value.” 2003 Beef Improvement Committee (BIC)   

“Your staff and BIC members are working on your maternal traits for genetic evaluation; multi-breed calving ease, reproductive performance and convenience traits that make cattle less troublesome.” 2003 BIC   

“We’ve produced the first multi-breed carcass EPDs that incorporate ultrasound technology.” 2004 BIC   

“We’ve instituted THE, established a progeny carcass testing program and heifer breeding project . . .” 2004 BIC   

2020 brings its own set of challenges, but optimism should reign! Beef is in demand, collaboration is in demand, and data is in demand. This is the past, present, and future of a successful ASA. So, our job… stay the course of working tirelessly to better serve the commercial industry with cattle and programs that meet where our industry will be in five and ten years. Focus less on what “was” and focus more on the realities before us. Continue to build for what is coming and 2030’s lookback will be even more profound and staggering than today. 

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