54th Annual Meeting Proceedings

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54th Annual Meeting Proceedings

January 2022 — Virtual            |      

Assets & Finance
by Steve Eichacker, treasurer
Committee members: Victor Guerra, Chris Ivie, Randy Moody, and Barry Wesner
Staff leads: Linda Kesler, Wade Shafer

I’d like to start by thanking the committee members for their time and talent this past year, and especially our staff contacts, Wade Shafer and Linda Kesler. Until you have served on the ASA board and even more so on the Finance Committee you don’t grasp the commitment, dedication, and integrity that Linda Kesler brings to this association. Once Linda has gone over the finances and given them her stamp of approval, it’s a slim chance the auditors are going to change anything. For that I say thank you, Linda, for making our job easy.

I know it’s starting to sound like a broken record, but the numbers don’t lie. The American Simmental Association had another amazing year. If you were to gauge the success of ASA based on the financial reports, we’ve shown growth in every measurable category, including memberships, annual service fees, registrations, DNA services, and a huge year in the value of our investment funds with Vanguard.

It’s exciting to look at the trends of ASA on a balance sheet. Let’s just look at the last five years. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 ASA’s assets were $11,048,841.46; at the end of FY 2021 ASA’s assets were at $20,005,270.00. The value almost doubled over those years.

Trust me, this board is not here with the mindset of seeing how much wealth we can accumulate at ASA. It just seems like no matter what we do over the last few years it ends up being a positive at ASA. In FY 2021 we had a deficit budget proposed of -$257,118, but when the smoke cleared at the end of FY 2021 we showed a net operating profit of $839,223. We missed the mark by almost $1.1 million. That figure also takes into account where ASA allocated $219,205 through the member relief package where each member was given 10% credit toward THE registrations, or transfers based on the amount of business done with ASA in FY 2019.

There have been multiple programs implemented by recent boards and ASA to help reduce the cost of doing business with ASA, such as the Cow Herd DNA Roundup and Calf Crop Genomics where a member’s DNA bill and ad-on Genomic test can be reduced by half, or where ASA allocates $10 per head entered that goes to the host state of the Major PTP shows. Some say reduce registration fees, but the staff did some research and if you include one transfer, we are the most affordable association to do business with.

The hard numbers for FY 2021, which runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, show a total income of $5,937,396 and total expenses of $5,098,173, for a net operating income of $839,223. We maintain a nice level of comfort of available funds through several savings and checking accounts. We have implemented several security features in our checking account system to help in the event that an entity tries to hack into our system (and they have tried but have not been successful). If they were, the amount of damage would be kept to a minimum.

The value of our investment fund has grown to $14,042,373.21 as of June 30, 2021. We maintain what we consider to be a very conservative approach where our portfolio reads stocks at 55% and bonds at about 45% as far as an asset mix. We are in the mindset that we are in it for the long haul, and not in the business of out-guessing the markets, although it is tempting as we’ve seen quite a rally. We know there will be corrections in the market as we go forward, but many of us feel it’s like playing with dynamite as to when those corrections will happen. There again we are not sitting on these investments to compile a pot of gold for ASA. Someday an opportunity will arise that makes a lot of sense and will benefit the membership of ASA, and we’ll be able to make a move.

For now, let’s enjoy the popularity the Simmental breed is blessed with. It’s not an accident that the members of ASA deserve this. There have been many changes from 20 years ago. Simmental cattle are not only acceptable, but they are in demand in all facets of the beef industry. Mr. Chairman this concludes the report from the Finance Committee, and I move this report to be accepted into the minutes of the 54th Annual Meeting.

Breed Improvement
by Tom Nelson, chairman
Committee members: Kent Bruner, Brandon Callis, Chad Cook, Tim Curran, Doug Parke, Gary Updyke, and Barry Wesner
Staff lead: Jackie Atkins
Staff support: Randie Culbertson, Lane Giess, Sheldon Ross, and Jannine Story

The Breed Improvement Committee (BIC) and the ASA staff had another busy year trying to provide more tools to improve beef production for our membership, their customers, and the cattle industry.

International Genetic Solutions (IGS) is a global collaboration of major beef breed associations seeking to empower commercial cattle producers with genetic insight and more powerful tools for better breeding decisions.

IGS conducts genetic evaluation for 20 breed associations, and partner organizations, and has over 20 million cattle records. These cattle records help the Simmental breed and the cattle industry more efficiently produce beef and prepare us for the future. 

Here is a list of status updates on the current research and development projects.

Highest priority:
• Mature weight EPD: Model for mature weight EPD and body condition score EPD were turned over to IGS this summer. Now we are prototyping with a subset of IGS data.
• Dry matter intake: In model testing stage.
• Heifer pregnancy EPD: In model testing stage.
• Feet and leg data collection: An improved set of visuals was commissioned with support from the Red Angus Association of America and the American Gelbvieh Association. These visuals were used to update data collection sheets. IGS hosted a joint webinar in September, and the KSU research was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal.
• BOLT software updates: Working with Theta Solutions on a software update for the genetic evaluation servers.
• Marker effects update across all traits: Top Genomics is currently working on updating marker subsets across all traits. We are currently beta testing a new marker subset for the weight traits.
• Low pass sequence: Walton Berry-funded project with the University of Tennessee to sequence 50 Simmental bulls. This will add to the Simmental sequence in the reference library, making imputation with Low Pass Sequence technology more robust for Simmental genetics. Working with the University of Tennessee to select the bulls.
• Spotting gene: Working with the team at the University of Tennessee, looking for Trio DNA samples (TSU collection) on spotted animals, and their sire and dam. Ideally a lot of white portions up the body and the sire and dam are solid.

Upcoming:
• Stayability update package (extending age and incorporating disposal codes). On hold until new trait EPD are launched. All the IGS partners have been asked to establish a uniform set of disposal codes.
• Maternal marker effects for traits with both direct and maternal components: On hold until new trait EPD are launched.
• Genomic pipeline as developer time allows.
• Index incorporation of new/updated traits: On hold until new traits are launched.
• PAP single-step development and incorporation into weekly evaluation, and continuing data collection with IGS members and evaluation with CSU. We currently don’t have enough records to make this a single-step genomic evaluation or make it a part of the weekly evaluation yet.
• Genomic pooling/phenotypic pooling for unique/ rare traits or commercial genetic evaluation. On hold until further development from academia and genotyping companies.

In addition to the R&D projects and discussion above, here are some of the recently completed actions by the BIC and staff:
• The GGP100K panel qualifies animals as AI sires or donor dams, reducing the cost to members to test their candidate AI bulls or donor dams, and simplifying the genomic panel options. Animals previously tested on the 90K panel (as of August 2020) were grandfathered in.

• Clarifying language was passed to solidify that the American Simmental Association maintains exclusive access to raw genotype data when the ASA pays for the genomic testing. ASA has a precedent that the entity who pays for the genomic test owns the rights to the genomic data.
• The ASA standardized the BW ratio so that the higher ratios are assigned to animals with heavier birth weights to better align with other IGS partners.
• The Carcass Merit Program (CMP) struggled a bit due to a hard year getting into packing plants and obtaining identified carcass records. The combined efforts of both the CMP and the Carcass Expansion Project (CXP) are continuing to help producers feed out cattle and to know what their cattle can do for carcass traits.
• Cow Herd DNA Roundup’s annual genomic testing is winding down, but it remains a highly successful program that provides genomics and often mature size metrics on the entire cow herd, which is very useful information to ASA’s members and the ASA database.
• The Association has a whole-birth contemporary group genotyping project called the Calf Crop Genomics (CCG), which provides a more complete picture of genetics of the whole calf crop, and n just
the selected cattle.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the Breed Improvement Committee members and the ASA staff for their help with a productive year and I move that the report be accepted into the minutes of the 54th Annual Meeting.

Activities & Events
by Steve Eichacker, chairman
Committee members: J.W. Brune, Tim Clark, Victor Guerra, Chris Ivie, Clay Lassle, and Greg Walthall
Staff lead: Luke Bowman

The first thing I would like to do is thank the committee for their time and input toward the activities ASA is involved in. I’d also like to thank our lead staff contact, Luke Bowman — he is in charge of keeping us organized, on schedule, and gathering and providing information to make our meetings run smoothly.

The Activities and Events (A&E) committee oversees exactly what it says: activities and events. It seems like most of our time is spent overseeing the AJSA and Major PTP shows. We also branch off in other areas of ASA, like the meet and greets, making sure ASA has a presence with booth space at the Majors and trade shows, and making sure staff has the tools they need to make Fall Focus a grand event.

In terms of resolutions and directives coming out of A&E it was a relatively quiet year. With the new process on how judges are selected for the AJSA Classics and Major PTP shows, we just have one resolution that comes out of our April meeting that approves the full list after the nominations from the Major PTP Shows are tabulated. Prior to the current process we approved each show individually. We have completed one year using the new judge selection process, although the judges selected won’t judge those shows until next year. We had a lot of discussion on this topic in our fall meeting. The consensus of the committee is that some changes would be beneficial to the process of selecting judge candidates, but we couldn’t unite on what form the changes should be. At that point, the discussion was tabled, and we are using the same format this year, as any changes need to be implemented prior to the American Royal in Kansas City.

It was moved and passed in our April meeting that the Cattlemen’s Congress be a Major PTP show from 2022 forward. We also had a resolution to realign the rotation of ASA’s national show to the following order: American Royal, North American International Livestock Exposition, National Western Stock Show, Cattlemen’s Congress, then Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (FWSSR). Implementation shall start with FWSSR 2022 being the first National Show in the rotation.

We also passed a resolution whereas Ring of Champions points may be earned at all five Major shows. However, the final Ring of Champions standings will be determined based on points earned at a maximum of four events. The lowest point total will be dropped if all five Major shows are attended.

A huge thank you goes out to the Nebraska Simmental Association, ASA staff, and the AJSA board for making the National Classic in Grand Island one to remember. Juniors, cattle, and parents came from all directions in late June to Grand Island. They left a week later, a little more mature, with a handful of new friends, and memories to last a lifetime. By now many are planning their trip to the 2022 National Classic, which will be in Madison, Wisconsin, then Des Moines, Iowa, for the 2023 National Classic. Currently we only have one Regional scheduled to take place in 2022, and that’s the Eastern Regional in Lebanon, Indiana, from June 8–11, 2022.

As registration time approaches this spring for the Regional and National Classics, be sure to pay attention to the rules as the AJSA board has presented several changes to the A&E Committee. The areas to pay close attention to would be the bred and owned division and the livestock judging contest. These rule proposals have not officially been passed, so I can’t divulge any more details, but keep an eye open.

 The A&E Committee received a resolution from the AJSA board to consider reducing the size of the AJSA board from 16 members to 12 using some of the seats as “at large” positions. At the time of this writing no action has been taken, but discussion will continue. We are happy to say the Steer Profitability Competition (SPC) has gained some momentum this year with almost 50 head entered. Thanks to Chip Kemp for going above and beyond on getting the word out and the marathon road trips to get the calves gathered.

We would like to welcome Mia Bayer to the ASA team as our new Youth Programs and Foundation Coordinator. She hit the ground running in mid-November. Her main focus is overseeing the AJSA board and activities. A&E was ready to roll up our sleeves and take another hard look at ASA’s role in the National Classics, but with the change of leadership we felt it was only fair to give Mia a chance to get more acquainted with our current process so she can have input into what changes would be beneficial.

I’d like to give a big report on Fall Focus but unfortunately as with many other events the last two have been cancelled. Maybe the third time’s the charm for the crew in Virginia. I think I speak for most of the membership when I say we can’t wait to get back to a sense of normalcy and continue our face-to-face meetings. Make plans to be with us this fall in Virginia for some great fellowship and hospitality, and you may even learn a thing or two in the educational seminars.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for the Activities & Events Committee, and I move that it be accepted into the minutes of the 54th Annual Meeting.

Growth & Development
by Barry Wesner, chairman
Committee members: Brandon Callis, Tim Clark, Steve Eichacker, Tom Nelson, Doug Parke, and Greg Walthall
Staff lead: Chip Kemp

The past year clearly offered challenges. However, I greatly commend the members of the Growth and Development (G&D) committee for finding opportunities among the hurdles. We have found ways to refine our approaches, to offer direct and clear benefits to our members, and to better position ASA and the business of Simmental for the future. I would like to publicly thank each committee member for their service and insights. Thank you to Brandon Callis, Tim Clark, Steve Eichacker, Tom Nelson, Doug Parke, and Greg Walthall.

Your ASA staff is tremendously capable, committed, and adaptable to the landscape of the industry. They are the best in the business. A big thank you to each of those staff members who have aided the G&D committee over the last year.

To consider all growth aspects of ASA in 2021 would take a significant amount of real estate within this publication. Instead, I’m going to focus my comments on five highlights of the year.

1) Internal marketing decisions and relationship with Grant Company, LLC.  

This first point will be glossed over by many, but when you look at the increase in registrations, memberships, total animal records, and partner institutions in International Genetic Solutions (IGS), there is no question the course that has been in place for G&D efforts over recent years is clearly working. And this is the foundation: thoughtful breeders, in-demand cattle, uniquely talented employees, and relationships with outside folks who align and complement our staff. The Grant team’s assistance has been key on this front. It is a significant financial commitment, but one that has clearly proven its worth.

Promotional efforts are only one piece of the puzzle. But an important piece. As such, we have seen continued uptake of the IGS Feeder Profit Calculator through the Superior Livestock Auction (SLA) platform. We have highlighted two Kansas State University reports that demonstrate that a) Simmental-influenced calves are the most valuable on SLA and b) Simmental-influenced carcasses are the most valuable through the industry-recognized Tri-County Carcass Futurity. No question that bull sale averages have seen impressive trends that align with this industry recognition. Equally noteworthy is the enthusiasm surrounding junior participation as demonstrated by the steady growth in attendance at the National Classic.

The educational marketing and promotion course set by ASA has proven quite impactful, while being intentional and responsible with member dollars. You expect a return on the investment of your member dollars. It is evident that we are providing a serious return while being conscious of the price point.

2) Flexibility for state associations through Cost Share and Check-Off dollars.

G&D continues to refine programs that are directly beneficial to our state associations. This empowers our members at the local level to leverage dollars to help spread the regional message that makes the greatest sense to their audience.

Specifically, we have a) updated Check-Off Bonus criteria, which allows for more dollars to be available and b) added flexibility to state usage of Cost Share dollars — in particular for digital advertising efforts.

3) Reduced “female other breed registration fee” (a.k.a. foundation animals).

Significant conversation took place about the concept of reducing the fee for foundation registrations. There are a variety of reasons this approach has merit. It ultimately boils down to providing flexibility and affordability to current members and potential members as they utilize outside breed types to complement their breeding program. 
The fee was reduced to $5.00 for each occurrence through the end of the 2022 fiscal year (June of 2022). Staff has highlighted an apparent increase in foundation activity since this approach was implemented. Not only does this aid members in the near term, but it also means that additional animals will be bringing in revenue on an annual basis. So, the action by G&D provides a tangible benefit to both the members and the business of ASA.

4) 2021 Fiscal year Member Support Package
The last year saw the implementation of the 10% Member Support Package allotment. This was a bold and unprecedented step by ASA trustees and staff to recognize that in unsettled times it was better to leverage a portion of ASA’s resources than to ask our members to exhaust theirs. The result of this move was that nearly $250,000 stayed in the hands of our members — on their farm or ranch.

5) SimGenetics Training for Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs (STYLE)

G&D has been in discussion for quite some time about the need for and structure of a program specifically targeted toward young professionals within the beef industry. The desire has been to implement an approach that would enrich the participant’s industry perspective and insight, and grow their personal awareness of their own unique leadership skills, all while enhancing their understanding of ASA business structure and governance. At the same time, such a program would cultivate and develop the future leaders of ASA. Ultimately, this provides a fertile ground for leadership longevity.

Data drives Simmental as a breed and as a business. It makes sense then that we’d use the best science and experts to help us build such a vital effort. A combination of trustee input, significant staff time, and outside expertise allowed us to recently introduce the STYLE program to our membership. We are presently seeking the first cohort of STYLE and more information is readily available at simmental.org.style. Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for the Growth & Development Committee, and I move that it be accepted into the minutes of the 54th Annual Meeting.

Policies & Procedures
by J.W. Brune, chairman
Committee members: Kent Brunner, Chad Cook, Tim Curran, Victor Guerra, Chris Ivie, Clay Lassle, and Gary Updyke
Staff lead: Sheldon Ross
Legal counsel: Gene Summerlin

I would like to thank this year’s committee members, Kent Brunner, Chad Cook, Tim Curran, Victor Guerra, Chris Ivie, Clay Lassle, Gary Updyke, and lead staff contact Sheldon Ross.

This committee is charged with the responsibility of the aspects of the association where there is a need for an interpretation of policy or procedural questions. This includes an ongoing review of ASA’s rules and bylaws to ensure the document stays relevant.

The one item that I would like to bring attention to is registration certificates. Many have realized at the last minute that you don’t have a paper copy of your registration certificate, which then leads to possible priority handling requests, and then requesting that ASA overnight mail the certificate. Paper registration certificates will always be available; however, you now have access to a digital certificate. Once you have registered an animal you are able to print a digital certificate on your own.

ASA’s official record is the digital record you access through Herdbook Services. ASA’s Major PTP Shows accept exhibitors displaying the animal’s digital record (through Herdbook Services) during check-in.

We now need your assistance to help make your local, county, and state shows accept either the digital certificate or ASA’s official record through Herdbook Services. This will greatly reduce the need to obtain a paper certificate before an event. Contact ASA staff if you would like assistance for acceptance of the digital certificate where you exhibit your cattle.

Mr. Chairman this concludes the report from the Policy & Procedures Committee, and I move this report to be accepted into the minutes of the 54th Annual Meeting.

Simbrah
by Greg Walthall, chairman
Committee members: J.W. Brune, Brandon Callis, Victor Guerra, Doug Parke, Tom Nelson, and Barry Wesner
Staff lead: Luke Bowman

Mr. Chairman, I would like to take a moment to thank my fellow committee members, JW Brune, Brandon Callis, Victor Guerra, Doug Park, Tom Nelson, and Barry Wesner. These gentlemen have all been very involved with the purpose and betterment of this committee. Even though most have no direct involvement with Simbrah cattle, each has taken a personal interest in the work of this committee.

Also my personal thanks to Luke Bowman for his involvement, assistance to myself and the committee, and his willingness to keep me informed and updated on items that affect our tasks. After three years of serving on this committee and two years as chairman, it’s been my honor to serve and work for the members dedicated to the production of Simbrah cattle. I believe we have taken what we inherited from past committees and built on that and are handing it off to the next committee in a good place!

In our April committee we were honored to have Dr. Joe Paschal to join us and give his perspective on where Simbrah stacked up within the industry and points about our perceived product. He encouraged us to try to develop and promote what our present-day product actually is and offers. Our staff has made an effort to help us do that with the new pictures, videos, and ads highlighting today’s type of Simbrah cattle.

Once again, due to Covid, many of our planned events were canceled or postponed, but the spirit and love of Simbrah producers is resilient and their interest in what our committee does hasn’t been canceled or postponed.

Mr Chairman, it has been my honor to chair and represent the breeders of Simbrah in this role, and my privilege to have done so! That concludes this committee’s report.

Chairman’s Report
by Randy Moody

A wild roller coaster ride would best describe the 2021 activities for ASA. We started the year holding our January meeting virtually due to COVID-19. As spring approached, the pandemic seemed to be declining, so we were able to travel to Bozeman and had one of the most productive board meetings I have been a part of. June came along and the Covid numbers still trending downward allowing us to have an AJSA National Classic. We come to realize this will be a record-setting event in terms of the number of youth participants as well as the number of animals entered in the Classic. \

As late July and early August roll around, a new term, “Delta Variant,” comes into the scene. Both the Virginia Simmental Association and then the Colorado Simmental Association worked hard to make the Fall Focus event happen. However, the board had to make the difficult decision to cancel Fall Focus. Plans are for Fall Focus 2022 to be held in Roanoke, Virginia, and Fall Focus 2023 to be held in Denver, Colorado.

To top off 2021, another new term, “Omicron Variant,” makes its way to the forefront, causing us to hold the 2022 Annual Meeting virtually once again. With all of the aforementioned stuff it is easy to see how our roller coaster ride describes the past year. However, we all know that cattle people are eternal optimists. The same can be said for this board and the ASA staff. It was this optimism that allowed us to keep the ASA heading in the right direction on many fronts.

The past year did not come without challenges. We managed to get through 2020 without feeling the effects caused from this global pandemic. But, in 2021, ASA, like all other businesses, felt the Covid labor shortage issues. A lot of time and creative thinking has made it possible for me to say within the next month we should be fully staffed in the DNA and data entry departments.

We are working very hard on ways and options to reduce the turnaround time when submitting DNA samples directly to the lab as well as ways to streamline the samples that are sent to ASA as part of the research projects.

Speaking of DNA, the American Simmental Association several years back realized that DNA would eventually become the holy grail to cattle production. With the Cow Herd DNA Roundup (CHR) and the Calf Crop Genomics (CCG) research projects, as well as regular testing, we have built a DNA system that will only continue to grow. The challenge here is to be able to keep this system running as smoothly as possible in a timely fashion. By that, I mean our staffing requirements and the need for more automation will only grow as we gather more DNA each year. Please do not misunderstand me here, THIS IS A GREAT THING. Just be aware of these requirements, and help us maintain the top-notch service you expect by planning your DNA testing at the earliest possible time.

Our junior program continues to be a bright spot industry-wide. This year’s National Classic will be held in Madison, Wisconsin, so please make plans to attend. One request I would have here is to please reach out to Mia Bayer and ASA staff to volunteer and assist in any way needed. I would challenge everyone to be a judge in one of the events. I promise you will definitely come away impressed with our youth and their capabilities.

One thing that I am very excited about is the introduction of our SimGenetic Training for Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs (STYLE) 2022 program. I know we will see great things in the future generated from this program.

We have made tremendous strides with the acceptance of our SimGenetic cattle among commercial cattle producers through the efforts of all of the ASA membership and staff. I recently read an article that says “We can expect to see more advancement in technology within the cattle industry in the next ten years than we have seen in the past one hundred years.” These advancements will be possible with the continued commitments from our membership and a strong association to move science in a positive way, which will feed this ever-growing world.

As I close, I would like to thank all of you who have served as a trustee in the past. You are the ones who had the vision to pave the way for where we are today. Also, a thank you to the current trustees for your commitment of time and dedication to keep our association working to improve our cattle, thus improving the entire protein food chain. Finally, a thank you to our staff for your commitment and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to see our mission fulfilled.

 

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