Beef Improvement Federation Marks 50-Year Milestone

02 July 2018
Staff and board members represent ASA at BIF 
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) annual meeting held in Loveland, CO, last week was a
celebration of 50 years since a small group of innovative beef producers and researchers conceived the idea of an organization that would "connect science and industry to improve beef cattle genetics."

Initially, BIF focused on moving from selection based on visual appraisal to performance-based selection, and standardizing performance records across breeds. From that beginning, the science of beef cattle breeding and genetics has evolved through the maze of acronyms (EBV, BLUP, EPD, DNA) to the powerful genetic selection tools we have available today. A video history of BIF is available at There is an amazing parallel and symbiosis between BIF and ASA - both started in 1968 by innovative beef producers focused on the use of performance records to improve the accuracy of selection over visual appraisal. Think of the ASA motto displayed on the historic stained glass in the ASA office "Visual analysis tells you what a Simmental appears to be...performance and progeny test tell you what he actually is." 

In the parallel 50-year histories of ASA and BIF, many ASA members have provided leadership in BIF including many serving as BIF President, and many ASA members have been recognized by BIF for various awards. This year was no exception. ASA member Donnell Brown from Texas completed his term as BIF president during the convention last week, Gordon Jones, ASA member from Kentucky, was elected to the BIF board of directors, and Dr. Lauren Hyde, IGS Lead Geneticist continues her service on the BIF board. Lynn Pelton, ASA member from Kansas, was recognized for his longtime service receiving the 2018 BIF Continuing Service Award. Pelton served as BIF president in 2005.

ASA and IGS programs and staff were highlighted in a number of BIF sessions. Dr. Wade Shafer was a panel member discussing "Who Owns Your Data and Where Is It". The committee on Advancements in Selection Decisions really highlighted the IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation powered by BOLT. Steve McGuire, ASA COO, talked about "Stitching 13 Breed Association's Data Together." Dr. Bruce Golden, Theta Solutions, discussed the methods and models behind the IGS EPDs, and Dr. Lauren Hyde, IGS/ASA Geneticist, explained how the " New IGS EPDs are Really Better." The session concluded with Dr. Shafer on a panel discussing the "Trials and Tribulations of Weekly Evaluations". 

Proceedings of the BIF convention are available in printed form at

Steve McGuire
Steve McGuire, "Stitching 13 Breed Associations' Data Together"
Wade Shafer participates in panel discussion on "Who Owns Your DNA?"
Chip Kemp and Leoma Wells of the ASA catch up with George Owen from the American Waygu Association
Chip Kemp and Leoma Wells of the ASA catch up with George Owen from the American Waygu Association
Tim Smith_ ASA Board Chairman and Fred Smith_ ASA Board Treasurer
Tim Smith, ASA Board Chairman and Fred Schuetze, ASA Board Treasurer
Dr. Mahdi Saatchi, IGS Lead Genomicist
"New IGS EPDs are Really Better"
Marty Ropp_ Allied Genetic Resources.  _What I Learned from Pigs_
Marty Ropp, Allied Genetic Resources.  "What I Learned from Pigs"
ASA_s Chip Kemp and Lane Giess
ASA's Chip Kemp and Lane Giess
BIF is well attended and provides time for international collaboration. Pictured from left to right:  David Bolduc, Canadian Beef Breeds Council, Lauren Hyde, American Simmental,  Peter Parnell and Andrew Byrne, Australian Angus, and Wade Shafer, ASA.