Reflections on 2020

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Reflections on 2020

Jackie Atkins, Ph.D.        |      

The year 2020 will be permanently branded in our minds as a year of adjusting and persevering. The list of norm-breaking disruptions include the COVID-19 global pandemic, economic strife, civil unrest, record-breaking fire season, hurricanes, flooding in some parts and drought in others, and the US presidential election. In response to these disrupters, we need to be nimble and inventive to continue to do the essential.

ASA did not merely survive 2020, but put in place new programs, new assistance for members, and found ways to continue to grow.

2020 Highlights

Move to Virtual Board Meetings

While the personal face-to-face time in the board meetings was certainly missed, the ASA Board of Trustees seamlessly switched to all-virtual meetings starting in April 2020. The silver lining in hosting virtual board meetings was a record engagement from the membership. Not only was there a great turn-out with members, many productive actions came from the virtual meetings — the results of which can be seen by the following highlights.

Membership Relief Package

Knowing economic hardships would hit ASA members, the board passed a membership relief package to give back over $280,000 to the membership. Starting in July 2020, the ASA offered a 10% allotment for active ASA members based on their 2019 fiscal year (July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019) animal registrations, transfers, and Total Herd Enrollments (THE).

Calf Crop Genomics Launched

The ASA in partnership with Neogen® launched a new genomic incentive program for members genotyping the entire calf crop. Calf Crop Genomics offers a 50% off genomic test including parentage ($25 compared to $50 equivalent test) to participating members who test their entire birth group. Similar to the Cow Herd DNA Roundup, members can receive a rebate with complete phenotype records on birth, weaning, and yearling weights with additional rebates available for carcass records.

National Classic Success

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AJSA had a very successful National Classic in Brookings, SD. This year’s Classic had 729 head of cattle shown by 508 exhibitors, making 2020 one for the record books.

the Register Redesign

The November issue of the Register marked the 30-year anniversary for the in-house production of the magazine and was the official launch of a new look for the Register. From the cover and table of contents to the industry updates, the magazine received an overhaul of fonts, colors, and layout to modernize the look of this staple for our members.

Expansion of the IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation

2020 brought in new associations to the genetic evaluation, bringing the total number of partners to 20 with over 20 million animals. The genetic evaluation launched a package of improvements to growth trait predictions in the summer as well as carcass trait updates in the fall. The IGS Science team made strides forward to fine-tune Stayability predictions and initiated a collaboration with Colorado State University to develop the first multi-breed prediction of heifer pregnancy.

IGS Feeder Profit Calculator™

2020 again saw a significant increase in the number of cattle receiving a FPC view of their terminal profit potential: 17,000 head of feeder calves received an analysis this year which was a 50% increase over 2019! The average lot size was well over 100 calves per certificate.


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