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Hereford association sees promise in latest genetic tools

Hereford association sees promise in latest genetic tools

Q & A Laura Loschke

Laura Loschke works as records supervisor and education and information services coordinator for the American Hereford Association. The association is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, and is the second-largest U.S. beef breed association with more than 7,500 active adult and junior members.

According to its website, “The American Hereford Association provides programs and services for its members and their customers, while promoting the Hereford breed and supporting education, youth and research.”

The association was organized in 1881 as the American Hereford Cattle Breeders Association, and in 1920 it became the first beef breed association to own its own headquarters, located in Kansas City.

MFT: What are some of the services the American Hereford Association provides? 

LOSCHKE: The American Hereford Association takes care of the national herd book. So all Hereford registrations, transfers, DNA work, etc. comes through us. It’s our job to keep the herd book accurate and up to date. We also have Hereford Publications that produces our Hereford World magazine as well as various sales catalogs, fliers and any other marketing material. We have a certified beef program called Certified Hereford Beef. CHB is a premium branded beef program built on the tradition of family farmers and ranchers that was established in 1995.

MFT: How have improvements in technology and genetics advanced the work of the association and the breed?

LOSCHKE: The AHA is always striving to advance the breed through genetics. We have one of the strongest genetic evaluations in the country and we provide genetic tools that drive profit. These tools are backed by uncompromised data and research. Without the advance in technology over the last several years, we wouldn’t be able to provide our members with such sound data and genetic tools for them to use to advance their herds with the best genetics possible.

MFT: What are some ways the organization works to get youth involved and develop the next generation?

LOSCHKE: We have a fantastic junior program, the Junior National Hereford Association! It is one of the largest, strongest and most active junior cattle programs in the country with over 3,800 active members. We have several educational programs such as the Junior National Hereford Expo, Faces of Leadership Conference and the Fed Steer Shootout, just to mention a few. Along with those program we have a NJHA Junior Board that is comprised of 12 juniors who serve a three-year term. Each year, four new members are elected as the NJHA.

The NJHA partners with the Hereford Youth Foundation of America to provide scholarships, leadership and educational opportunities to our junior members across the country. These opportunities encourage, recognize and reward the development of life skills and values in the next generation of leaders.

MFT: The organization is headquartered in Kansas City. With its history and location, what makes Kansas City a good place for the association’s headquarters?

LOSCHKE: Kansas City has a long history with agriculture. The historic Kansas City Stock Yards were established in 1871 and became one the great stockyards in the country. Kansas City is home to the American Royal, which happened to start as the National Hereford Show in 1899. The Agricultural Hall of Fame is also located here in Kansas City. The AHA headquarters have always been in Kansas City. We were the first breed association to own its own headquarters and that all started here in KC. So, to say that we as the American Hereford Association feel at home here in Kansas City would be an understatement. It’s where our history is and we love being located in the heart of the agricultural Midwest.

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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