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53rd Annual Meeting and Convention Proceedings

January 28 - 29, 2021 — Virtual     |

 

Finance

By J.W. Brune, Treasurer
Committee members: J.W. Brune, Tim Curran, Jim Ligon, Mike Forman, and Randy Moody Staff leads: Linda Kesler, CFO, and Wade Shafer, EVP         

The Background of the Finance Committee: It shall consist of five members of the Board of Trustees of which no more than three can be currently sitting on the Executive Committee. The Finance Committee shall monitor the investment program of the association on a periodic basis.  Review the income and expense reports monthly, prepare an annual operating budget and review proposed capital expenditures for approval or recommendation to the Board.

Being stewards of the American Simmental Association memberships funds should always be taken as the most serious of responsibility. This committee and the Board of Trustees undertake sound financial decisions to move the Board forward now and into the future. 

In a cost comparison across cattle breeds association, the services provided to our membership are at or below average for the same processes. We want our members to receive the best in services at a price point that is equitable for all.

This has been a historic year for the ASA in many ways. 

Number one would be the sale of the remaining old property and building at One Simmental Way, Bozeman, MT. The original property was purchased after a great discussion over regions of the country to best locate the ASA headquarters. Bozeman won this debate and 20 acres was purchased north of the city along the interstate highway.

The Association’s Building Committee recommended the purchase for $90,000. The Board agreed and the money was borrowed at an interest rate of 6.5%. A wise decision in more ways than one, as the next year interest rates doubled and real estate values in the Bozeman area also doubled. The construction of the ASA headquarters (building) was next and by July of 1974, the building was completed at a cost of $281,000. Dr. Bob Hough shares in the book Simmental’s American Journey, “The Swiss-style building was a showplace of business for the American Simmental Association.” Today we have reaped the rewards of our founding members. We have a new building on a property with great potential value. All paid for by ASA members.

The original property was sold for $4,500,000 this fiscal year. The proceeds were invested in our Vanguard investment accounts in a monthly staggered insertion schedule.

To help our membership navigate through COVID-19, a membership relief allocation of a 10% reduction in THE, registration and transfer fees for members in the fiscal year 2021 was approved.

The fiscal year 2020 is from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. The income was $5,153,080, and the expenses were $4,776,019, for a net of $377,061 realized gain. ASA’s total assets on June 20, 2020, were $17,297,470 for the end of fiscal year 2020.

Our position is strong financially due to acceptance of our breed in the beef industry. The membership has a lot to be thankful for as Simmental and Simbrah genetics are on the march across the country.

Mr. Chairman and ASA members, this concludes this report from the Finance Committee. I ask that this report be accepted in the minutes of the 53rd Annual Meeting.

 

Breed Improvement

By Tom Hook, Chairman
Committee members: Tom Hook, Gary Updyke, Steve Eichacker, Fred Schuetze, Mike Forman, Clay Lassle, Tom Nelson, and Kent Brunner. Staff lead: Jackie Atkins

 

The Breed Improvement Committee (BIC) and ASA staff sustained the longstanding charge of applying practical science to improve current services and create new initiatives which bring value to the ASA membership, its customers, and the greater commercial beef industry. The current BIC has strived to enhance successful programs while launching new, innovative projects to improve the genetic platform of the Simmental breed. I want to compliment and recognize the ASA staff for their perseverance and commitment to the ASA membership during this most unique year of work and scheduling-related interruptions. Their flexibility and professional attitude in supporting this committee has led to many improvements in programs and member services. My sincere and heartfelt appreciation to the individual Trustees who served on the BIC for their sacrifice of time, dedication to the Simmental membership, and service to the beef industry.

The IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation continues to be the global genetic evaluation leader and a model for beef breed collaboration and genetic improvement. The IGS database now represents close to 20 breed associations and companies from around the globe, supported by 20 million individual animal records and over 300,000 individual genotypes. Not only is this the largest beef cattle database in the world, but the IGS multi-breed model also allows for unique breed connectivity and results in the most accurate across breed genetic evaluation available to seedstock and commercial producers in the world. This breed collaboration has yielded over 60,000 new carcass records being added to the database in 2020 alone. Additional IGS enhancements made this past fall include improved growth trait model predictions, updated carcass traits with current USDA MARC breed differences, and an expanded age range for ultrasound records.

The Carcass Merit Program (CMP) and Cow Herd Roundup (CHR) are existing programs that have stood the test of time. Their success is noted as they continue to provide valuable data inputs which result in better knowledge, genetic selection tools, and serve as a foundation for new trait development utilized by both feedstock and commercial herds.

The first phase of the CHR project yielded powerful results with 52,300 female genomic tests, many on cows with sought-after traits (mature weights, frame, and body condition score). The BIC wanted to continue this type of breeder-friendly and intense data-gathering project, but try to include members that did not initially participate in CHR. The Calf Crop Genomics (CCG) project was launched to provide the membership with an economical price structure for DNA testing of an entire calf crop. In exchange for the lower fees, breeders must submit samples on 90% of an entire birth group. Additional rebates are available for complete birth, weaning, and yearling phenotypes. The ASA membership has embraced this breeder-driven program with gusto adding 10,229 genomic tests in just the first six months since the program was launched. The ASA science team expects the CCG project to yield an enhanced data set with complete contemporary BW, WW, and YW records which will help validate and improve genomic predictions.

The Carcass Expansion Project (CXP) is entering its third year with over 7,000 carcass records on calves with DNA. This project was conceived to bolster carcass trait predictions from high-use Simmental sires with and especially without actual carcass data. Once carcass data is collected and submitted to ASA staff, a complimentary genomic test with parentage is performed on each animal with a terminal record. The CXP is generating valuable phenotypes and genotypes for improving carcass trait predictions in a cross-section of high-use Simmental sires. This will result in a yet more accurate tool for the Simmental membership to use when making genetic selection decisions for end-product value.

In March of 2020, a feature was added to Herdbook allowing members to electronically submit scores for three feet and leg traits: claw shape, hoof angle, and rear leg-side view. Over 5,000 records are presently on file with a score for at least one of the feet/leg traits. Planned investigation strategies for these scores include looking into feet and leg data as an indicator observation for the Stayability EPD. Training, explanation, and visual aids are available on the ASA website for more information on how to correctly score and submit these hoof/leg traits.


The first set of research PAP EPDs was released early this past spring based on our joint research partnership with Colorado State University. An additional 3,000 more animal records have been added this fall to further build the database and accuracy of the PAP EPD research. These early research EPDs can be downloaded from Herdbook.

This year also marked the initiation of research to develop a multi-breed Heifer Pregnancy EPD using the Walton-Berry Grant funds. As the IGS genetic evaluation does not currently have a prediction for heifer fertility, a multi-breed heifer pregnancy EPD will better leverage the across breed connectivity of the IGS breeds. Over 740,00 IGS females with exposure and pregnancy records will be evaluated in conjunction with Colorado State researchers, ASA staff and IGS partners to develop the genetic prediction. S

Striving to improve member service, several updates were initiated. A new visual Performance Advocate Dashboard was added to quickly see how complete herd records are for each submission category. The Herdbook reported ratio for birthweight was standardized with other IGS partners so that a higher ratio goes with a higher actual weight for that trait (i.e., heavier BW). Finally, as Neogen® updated their GGP-LD genomic panel `to just under 100,000 markers, this panel will now meet the high-density requirement for AI sires and donor dams. This BIC action will save members $40 on the approved genomic test.

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for the appointment to chair the Breed Improvement Committee for the membership of the American Simmental Association. This concludes my report for the 2020 ASA Breed Improvement Committee, and I move that it be accepted into the minutes of the 53rd Annual Meeting.

 

Activities and Events

By Fred Schuetze, Chairman
Committee members: Fred Schuetze, Barry Wesner, Cliff Orley, Steve Eichacker, J.W. Brune, Tom Hook, John Griswold, and Gary Updyke. Staff lead: Luke Bowman

First, I would like to thank the Activities and Events (A&E) committee members: Barry Wesner, Steve Eichacker, Cliff Orley, John Griswold, J.W. Brune, Tom Hook, and the staff liaisons Luke Bowman, Darla Aegerter, and Linda Kesler, for all the time and effort spent this year. The A&E Committee is the marathon committee but they work hard and get the job done.

The A&E committee deals with a multitude of items each year such as PTP judge selection approval for both the AJSA Regionals and National Classics as well as the judge approval for the four major PTP shows in Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, and Fort Worth; maintain the PTP judges list; Meet and Greets at the major shows; Fall Focus; Steer Profitability Competition; reviewing the Regional and National Classic programs; site selection for the AJSA; major show hosting responsibilities, and a sub-committee was appointed to review methods and requirements for selecting judges.

In June, the sub-committee, chaired by Steve Eichacker, reported to the A&E committee on the results of the many meetings they had on judge selection and these were adopted by A&E and the full board. 

ASA SUB-COMMITTEE PROPOSAL 

Here is a proposed scenario based on our 4-15-2020 meeting:

  • Six-member judge selection panel.
  • One delegate from each of the four major shows.
  • Two delegates at large nominated by the A&E Committee and full board (do not have to be board members)
  • Each delegate lists seven names in order of preference. 
  • Judge names do not have to come from the current PTP list.
  • The hosting state can use any method of picking delegates and creating a judge list that works for them.
  • Lists from each delegate are compiled by ASA staff.
  • ASA staff gathers the ballots from each delegate between the Fort Worth Show and our April board meeting and tabulates to come up with a top 20 list.
  • The top 20 judges list would be reviewed by the A&E Committee and the full board at the April board meeting.
  • The top 20 names are the official names that the AJSA Classics and the four majors must select from for that year.
  • Any name making the top 20 is automatically added to the PTP judges list, if not already on it.
  • ASA staff would distribute the already approved list for selection.

Order of selection would be:
1st: AJSA Classics
2nd: National Show
3rd, 4th, 5th: Others follow in the order of rotation after the National Show. 
Example: If North American hosted the National Show, they would have the second choice, followed by the National Western, the fourth would be Fort Worth and the fifth Kansas City.

The selection process would have to allow time for the host state to contact a judge and get confirmation they accept before the next selection is made. This selection process will take place during the summer which is one to one and a half years prior to the show.

Each show then has its lead judge with a verbal confirmation in place. If they need to turn in a list of three judges to the show coordinators, they fill in second and third selections with the remaining judges off the top-20 list or could come from the current PTP list.

This protocol was approved at the June 22 board meeting and the delegate process will take place starting in 2020-2021 for selecting judges for shows that will be held in the 2022-2023 show season.

As we all know COVID-19 caused major havoc with events scheduled such as the AJSA National Classic which had to be moved from Nebraska to South Dakota at the last minute. We should all give thanks to the South Dakota group that stepped in and put on one of the largest National Classics held in recent years even with COVID- 19. As time went on, we saw The National Western Stock Show canceled and moved to Nebraska, and then it was canceled while a new show was put together at Oklahoma City, which was followed by Fort Worth being canceled, and then the Dixie National was approved as an alternate show for one year to fill the void left when Fort Worth canceled.

So, in conclusion, it was a year where nothing was set in stone; but the committee and staff worked hard to accommodate all the changes that had to be made and the end result was a successful year. 

I again want to thank the committee members and staff for all the work that was put in to make this year successful even with all the challenges.

 

Growth and Development

By Mike Forman, Chairman
Committee members: Mike Forman, Kent Brunner, Gordon Hodges, Clay Lassle, Jim Ligon, Randy Moody, Tom Nelson, and Greg Walthall. Staff lead: Chip Kemp.

Likely, the only surprising statement one could make in 2020 is that “nothing changed”. Yet, in a time when it seems that we’ve been forced to bend, update, and navigate a new course at a moment’s notice, the truth is that the Growth and Development (G&D) efforts of ASA remain unchanged. Why? Because G&D has already embraced and aggressively benefited from change. Or nimbleness. Or adaptability. Call it what you will, but when it comes to growing the recognition of SimGenetics, ASA Trustees and staff long ago accepted the fact that “status quo” wasn’t good enough. And when it comes to telling the story, Your Story, we’ve learned to navigate the media space. Doing this well, doing it with impact, and
doing it with a tireless commitment to responsibly using your dollars has been a hallmark of the recent years of our promotion and educational awareness efforts.

Now, to be clear, 2020 has brought “opportunities”. For example, we can stretch print dollars much further as many of our advertising partners are willing to negotiate ad placements that are both more advantageous for ASA members and cheaper at the same time. Simply — we are getting more for less. At the same time, those publications are seeking meaningful, program-benefitting content and editorial more than ever. We’ve been positioned well to help fill that void for them. The combined efforts of ASA and ASA Publication staff, along with selective outside voices, have generated significant content that helps folks find a path forward towards operational profit and family-sustaining business decisions. Folks are clamoring for those things and your long-standing G&D approach has been ready to meet the need. Our ads and our content are both designed to benefit you and your customers. Yes, they must be striking and grab immediate viewer attention, but they must also show depth and true usefulness.

You may have even noticed that in the subtle evolution of our national ad campaign that is developed by the Grant Company, LLC. The ads used in 2020 maintained the strong emotional connection and response of the 2019 campaign; however, these newer pieces incorporated real and substantial data points to help the viewer get more insight into what SimGenetics can offer. For example, the “7X” ad (also known as the Demand Driver ad) speaks clearly to the sevenfold increase of SimAngus™ identified cattle on the Superior Livestock Auction platform. There are ads that highlight facts about maternal merit (especially important in an era of shorter-lived commercial cows), carcass value, and the power of our indexes. So, yes, this is change. But, planned and intentional change to benefit you by better telling your story to the beef business.

The same approach can be seen in our multimedia work as well. This area has greatly grown and ultimately surpasses print in terms of connectivity and interactions with our customer base. The Stand Strong series of social media posts early in the year, the regular use of compelling member feature videos and news stories through our website and social media platforms, the continual presence of news content on RFD-TV and hundreds of radio stations/podcasts across the country, the emerging growth of programmatic digital advertising — these are all testaments to the vision of trustees and staff.

Business flexibility carries to all aspects of what we do. As remarkable as the growth has been for all aspects of “the business of Simmental” (for details please seek out the Defining Decade article on the ASA website) the growth in our International Genetic Solutions (IGS) efforts has been similarly successful. We are now up to 20 global IGS partners involved with the IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation. The IGS Feeder Profit Calculator™ saw tremendous growth in 2020. Nearly 18,000 head of cattle received an FPC certificate in 2020 — a 50% increase over the previous year!

Success, even in 2020, is no accident. Continuing the march of SimGenetics, our association services, and our IGS platform takes forethought and the ability to navigate the landscape. I want to thank my fellow committee members for the time they put into making this happen. Also, a big thank you to the ASA staff for their help and support to the Growth and Development Committee. I move this G&D Annual Report to be accepted into the minutes of the Annual Meeting.

 

Policy and Procedure

By Randy Moody, Chairman
Committee members: Randy Moody, J.W. Brune, John Griswold, Gordon Hodges, Jim Ligon, Cliff Orley, Greg Walthall, and Barry Wesner. Staff lead: Sheldon Ross and Legal Counsel: Gene Summerlin.

This committee is charged with the responsibility of the aspects of the Association life that require an interpretation of policy or procedural questions or the formulation of proposals that will have a bearing on the membership of this association. Recommendations will be made to the Board of Trustees unless an interpretation of the Rules and Bylaws is involved in which event it shall be deferred to the Executive Committee.

This committee continued the work with electronic voting procedures this year. The election for Trustees continues to be handled through a third party. The change made to allow you to login to your Herdbook account and click on the vote icon which takes you directly to the third party voting worked really well.

During the last few years, we have seen an increase in the request for the DNA requirement waivers for deceased donor dams. This increase in requests has caused the Policy and Procedure committee to take a closer look at the requirements and the process. With considerable discussion and research, the committee presented a resolution to the board and was adopted. This policy includes the use of collateral relatives to better verify the parentage of these animals.

One other item the committee continues to work on is the ability to create a digital registration paper for animals registered in the ASA Herdbook. At this time, we are still working through the legal process and will hopefully have this as a viable option early in the calendar year 2021. The Policy and Procedure Committee continually looks at and reviews the Bylaws and Rules to assure these documents stay relevant. I am happy to report the Policy and Procedure Committee has no recommended change of these documents at this time.

Mission Statement: The success of the American Simmental Association is dependent on our members’ cattle making a significant genetic contribution to the beef industry. By utilizing the most advanced science, the highest priority is to maintain services and products which bring value to ASA members’ customers.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes the report from the Policy and Procedure Committee and I move this report to be accepted into the minutes of the 53rd Annual Meeting. 

 

Simbrah

By Greg Walthall, Chairman
Committee members: Greg Walthall, Fred Schuetze, Randy Moody, Tom Nelson, Gary Updyke, J.W. Brune, Barry Wesner, and Jim Ligon. Staff lead: Luke Bowman

Mr. Chairman, I’d like to thank the fellow committee members for their commitment to serving on this committee. Some of these members are far removed geographically from the area of this committee’s focus, but each has been involved every step of the way. So thanks to you all: Fred Schuetze, Randy Moody, Tom Nelson, Dr. Gary Updyke, J.W. Brune, Barry Wesner, and Jim Ligon.

And a special thanks to Luke Bowman for keeping me up to date on steer feedout data and agenda items. It’s made my time as Chairman easier!

In January this committee pushed forward with the request to the Grant Company to create advertising with a focus on Southern SimGenetics/Simbrah cattle. We also requested that the Grant Company collect additional pictures of Simbrah Cattle for future promotions.

Additionally, the Grant Company produced a video focused on La Muñeca Cattle Co, with the emphasis on a multi-generational operation with a great commitment to Simbrah genetics and the junior program! Due to COVID-19 many of our intended events had to be canceled or postponed but we still were a limited participant in the Simbrah Roundup. A Simbrah Summit, Educational events, and seminars, participation in Texas A&M short course, and the Texas & Southwest Cattle Raisers Association events were impossible to achieve, but all of these are still our focus for future promotional opportunities!

On November 6, 52 head were delivered to Graham feedyards for the next cycle of the Carcass Expansion Program. This is down 21 head from the last cycle, but all things considered, still a nice selection of genetics! The committee would like to thank the Cattlemen’s Congress, Darla Aegerter, Chance Ujazdowski, Luke Bowman, and the A&E Committee for including a Simbrah Junior Heifer Show in the inaugural event. With the numerous event cancellations, Southern SimGenetic Juniors were eager to have another avenue in which to participate. Forty-five head of Simbrah females were shown in Oklahoma City.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes the report from the Simbrah Committee.

Chairman Report

By Tim Curran

https://www.simangus.us/mags/53annual_meeitng3.jpgIt would be easy to reflect on 2020 as a challenging and difficult year for our business here at ASA but compared to others less fortunate we had an outstanding year. Many businesses across the country have been forced to close permanently and some that were hurt financially but are still hanging on may take years to recover. ASA can count our blessing that we have come through virtually unscathed.

One area of our business that was faced with many challenges was the show side. Many shows were canceled but our two largest, the AJSA National Classic and the annual National Show carried on even though both had to change locations. And both saw record-setting entries as the Simmental show business continues to grow by leaps and bounds. 

Financially ASA is in a position that most breed associations could only imagine. ASA continues to show profits year after year while at the same time implementing industry-leading programs like Cow Herd DNA Roundup, Carcass Expansion Project, and Calf Crop Genomics just to name a few.

All Simmental breeders are aware of the mistakes that were made with our breed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even though most of the calving ease and color issues have long been corrected the old bias against Simmental cattle was hard to extinguish.

Finally, the worm has turned. SimGenetics have enjoyed outstanding industry acceptance over the last two decades but in the last few years it’s like a switch has been flipped.

Finally, commercial cattlemen that had abandoned crossbreeding and the use of continental breeds are coming back around on a large scale.

Finally, Sim Genetics bull sale averages across the nation are at par or above any other breeds in the US. The number of SimGenetics bull sales expands every year.

Finally, the concern of calving difficulty in SimGenetics bulls are gone.

Finally, the concern that SimGenetic bulls will sire calves with spots are gone.

And finally, it has never been easier to market SimAngus sired feeder cattle. Independent research on feeder cattle marketing has shown that Simmental influenced feeder cattle have expanded in total numbers seven times in the last decade. In 2020 on Superior Livestock Video sales SimGenetic feeder cattle topped the market for sale price.

It’s a good time to be Simmental.

 

 

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