The American Angus Convention took place this past weekend in Fort Worth, Texas. Jerry Connealy, along with four peers, was re-elected to serve a second term on the American Angus Association Board of Directors. Congratulations to all!
If you don't mind an amateur iPhone video, you can watch Jerry's candidate speech here:
Admittedly, friends and acquaintances stared blankly at me when I told them I was going to pack up my baby and fly her to a cattle convention to watch her grandpa run for re-election. But, as I explained, this gathering of ranchers is an integral part of the Angus breed maintaining dominance in the industry.
Not only does the Board of Directors present the 25,000+ membership base with updates and financials, but there are numerous keynote talks and breakout sessions on topics such as genomics, the economics of cattle markets, retail trends, and most importantly, the future of beef. This year, speakers included Dr. Lowell Catlett, a futurist, specialists in genomics, BBQ pit masters, and market analyst Randy Blach.
As an industry, we may be viewed as old-fashioned, and in many ways, we are. Deals are done on a handshake, our days revolve around the rising and setting of the sun, and Mother Nature still has a large stake in our success or lack thereof.
But you may be surprised by the level of technology and data that is involved in raising cattle. The bovine genome, for example, was sequenced back in 2009, and scientists are continually working to find markers that match phenotype (how an animal expresses a gene) to genotype (the gene itself). Currently, the gene marker for tenderness has been identified, and geneticists are exploring how to select for it in Angus cattle.
We acknowledge threats to our industry, many of which exists as a result of us not telling our story well enough, and are continually finding ways to innovate and push forward.
If you're curious for more details about what happens when ranchers congregate, you can visit the Angus Convention website here to check out the schedule of events.