Did you attend the American Gelbvieh Association National Convention last year held in Kansas City? Did you know that convention attendance and voting at the AGA annual meeting was more than doubled last year compared to the year before? The time is now to become part of the excitement at the AGA, advance your operation and maximize the benefit of your AGA membership.
Everywhere you look, someone is talking about the general election. As a U.S. citizen, you have the right to vote on candidates and ballot initiatives that impact you. As important as that may sound, only 53.6 percent of U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote did so in the 2012 general election. The U.S. only ranks 27th in the world among more developed countries in voting percentage.
Equate the general election to the American Gelbvieh Association (AGA). The parallels include: farmers and ranchers like living in the U.S., they understand that being in the cattle business is a way of life, and know an election outcome does influence their financial wellbeing and can change the value and marketing of their product. So then it would make sense that AGA members would want to participate in the AGA National Convention to help shape the future of the Gelbvieh and Balancer® breed and vote to elect leaders of our association? After all, wouldn’t your one of 1,000 votes as an AGA member more greatly impact your livestock operation than your one of 318 million votes impact your U.S. citizenship? But here’s the bad news, while the participants doubled last year at our national convention compared to the prior year, still only about 12 percent of the AGA membership participated in the annual meeting. As you can see, we still have work to do.
The cattle breed association world is well documented for being difficult to maneuver and unify due to the wide range of size of operations, geographic diversity, goals set by each breeder for their respective operations and the purpose for being an association member. That difficulty is magnified by rapid changes in scientific advancement, weather conditions, and of course, monumental changes in cattle markets. Right now producers are grasping for every dollar available at each stage of the beef supply chain. The services available through the AGA are beneficial for identifying where those dollars can be found.
Perhaps one of the most important convention topics this year will be the presentation of a new strategic plan. Now, more than ever, the AGA has an obligation to the beef industry to provide sound science for
genetic selection, proficient management tools for members and customers as well as marketing avenues and tools, not only for AGA members but also our commercial industry customers. In the future, the AGA also needs to consider potential services for the feeder and packer sector of the industry. Over the past two years, AGA has clearly begun focusing on participating in the beef industry as a contributor of genetic, management and marketing tools at a much higher level. AGA has aligned with industry partners such as National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, CattleFax and RFD TV to broaden AGA’s demographic reach. The AGA has further developed partnerships with video auction companies and traditional sale barns to identify and highlight Gelbvieh and Balancer genetics. DNA tools for commercial ranchers, such as the Maternal Edge Female Profile, and herd management capability through $mart Select Service is now available.
The AGA, like most breeds, has made directional changes over the years. Over time leadership in any membership organization can change, which makes it difficult to stay the course. The complete support of the AGA membership will accelerate the speed at which we can grow as a viable source of genetic information and industry service. That support starts with each member participating in events like AGA National Convention. Committee meetings held at convention provide an avenue for members to learn about each segment of the AGA and allows breeders to directly address leadership regarding particular matters like breed improvement, AGA marketing, finance and national events. The annual meeting gives members a voting voice to elect the AGA Board of Directors. The staff has also worked diligently to prepare educational programs and tours relevant to all AGA stakeholders.
Just like exercising your right to vote as a U.S. citizen in the general election, the time is now for you to attend the AGA National Convention. The time is now to solidify your place in the beef industry as a seedstock supplier and shape the future of the AGA.
I cordially invite each of you to attend the 46th Annual AGA National Convention and annual meeting.