Juniors, Join Us in Lincoln! By Colton Spencer

Summertime is behind us and school is up and going. The Gelbvieh industry had a jam-packed summer full of leadership events and cattle shows. Maybe for your family the best shows are yet to come or maybe your favorite show heifer has been grazing in the pasture for months now. Who knows, school might even be a time where the world slows down and you have time to think about what’s next on the agenda.

However, the American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) never stops and new events come up each month. One event that is coming up on the horizon is the 46th Annual American Gelbvieh Association National Convention. This year’s convention will be held November 30 through December 2, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel. The national convention is the time for the AGA to review the year and discussthe completion of their goals set for the breed at last year’s convention. It is also a time for the Association to create new goals and discuss areas that need improvement in our breed association through committee meetings, board meetings and educational programs. This year we are encouraging AGJA members to make the trip to Lincoln and sit in on convention meetings to learn more about the agenda for the upcoming year as well as what you can do to make a positive impact in our breed association.

A topic that may come about at this year’s convention is the use of genomics in our industry and the vast role it implies today. Genomics is the study of the entire set of genes in a living organism such as a Gelbvieh beef cow. These array of genes allow us to better determine the growth and development of our cattle. How does this benefit a producer? Genomics help clear up what was once unknown. We can now work to predict the profitability of each calf or we can trait select for certain things such as tenderness or marbling. The result is being able to help the average producer make more efficient decisions to maximize their profitability.

Genomics isn’t necessarily a requirement in today’s industry, however it is a tool that is waiting at our fingertips if we decide to use it, which is exactly what a number of AGA members have done over the past few years. Researchers have developed testing that encompasses a mass amount of genes that unveil a lot of what a breeder and buyer need to know about their cattle.

Genomics has stepped beyond just being used in the seedstock industry. It’s being used by some feedyards to gain a competitive advantage by using data to see which animals might produce higher quality meat vs the animals that will take longer to develop. This is just another example of the increased involvement of technology in today’s society. Every day research is being conducted to see how efficient we are in our methods. People are constantly looking for new ways to improve their practices. Of course, all of this is done with the same task in mind, feeding the rapidly growing population set to hit 9.5 billion by 2050. With constant advances in technology, producers are motivated that this “impossible” task will quickly become a worry of the past and our agriculture industry will continue to thrive.