The Hereford breed is positioned to regain market share and deliver what consumers demand--a tender, juicy, flavorful beef product.

This past year produced a great deal of change for the American Hereford Association (AHA). The most encouraging change was an increase in registrations by 3.7%. Registrations for the 1998-99 fiscal year totaled 84,989. The importance of this figure is that it is an indicator of the demand for Hereford cattle in the commercial and seedstock business. It also shows the seriousness of the breeders in recording and improving their product. This upswing in registrations sets the pace for the implementation of whole herd reporting that will take place this year.

Jim Courtney, Alzada, MI, was president of the AHA, at the group's annual meeting, in Kansas City, MO. Courtney, a leader in the livestock industry, has been president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and extremely active in the National Cattlemen's Beef Association the past 20 years. He and his son, Tom, manage a purebred Hereford operation in eastern Montana and his purebred and commercial experience will impact the association.

Donato Ramos, Laredo, TX, was elected vice president for the up-coming year. Three were elected to the association's board of directors. Beau White, Valentine, TX; Tom Lane, Murfreesboro, TN; and Doug Perks, Rockford, IL, will serve four-year terms. Other directors include: James Bright, LeGrand, CA; Jane Evans Cornelius, LaSalle, CO; Burke Healey, Davis, OK; Kevin Jensen, Courtland, KS; Jim O'Mara, Good Hope, MS; Vern Rausch, Hoven, SD; and Greg Shaw, Caldwell, ID.

Marketing, which is the No. 1 priority expressed by the board of directors and AHA membership in the association's strategic plan, has become a corner piece for the organization. The most exciting stride made in the area of marketing is the recent licensing of Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc., in Omaha, NE, to produce Certified Hereford Beef (CHB). This newly formed relationship creates an even greater opportunity to move CHB through the retail channels, which creates a heightened demand for feeder cattle. Ultimately, the pay-off will be when commercial cow-calf operators begin buying more bulls, in order to produce calves for the growing program.

Along with the expansion of CHB, a special feeder calf sale network has been designed to pool smaller groups along with large groups of Hereford-influenced calves and yearlings. Results from the majority of these sales indicated an enhanced market for uniform groups of Herefords, while many brought premiums to the market. Numerous Hereford-influenced sales are scheduled for the next few months and more and more auction barns are looking for the opportunity to market Hereford-influenced cattle.

Once again, Herefords will be the largest breed display at the 2000 National Western Stock Show, in Denver, CO, a premier event in the cattle industry. On the hill, 881 Herefords will be exhibited and 34 pens and 11 carloads will make up the pen show, in the yards.

The AHA has recently re-designed the breed's publication, Hereford World. Four issues throughout the year will appear in a tabloid format, reaching an expanded circulation, with an emphasis on the commercial cattle industry. Look for the new format published in January, February, August and October.

For more information about Hereford cattle and the American Hereford Association, visit the Web Site, at www.hereford.org, or call 816-842-3757.

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