Dear Beefmaster Breeders United members, Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association members, and other concerned individuals:
It is well understood that any viable pure breed of cattle in America today cannot exist without the demand for their genetics in the beef industry and by the commercial cattleman. Over the past ten years the Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Board of Directors, staff, and BBU leadership have been very involved with the beef cattle industry and have represented the Beefmaster breed domestically and around the globe in a professional and honorable manner. This has included representation at many state cattlemen association meetings and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, as well as visits and conferences with major commercial feed yard operators, packers, sale barn owners and various academic organizations, institutes, and agricultural universities from around the country. Through the countless hours spent in these endeavors, the BBU team has promoted the breed to the fullest extent possible given the resources available. During this time, they also came to the realization that improvements to our breed must continue to be made in order to meet the ever-changing demands of an evolving industry.
These areas of improvement consistently focused on two major issues, carcass merit (Yield and Quality Grades) and the color of Beefmaster cattle.
As many of you will recall, past Executive Vice Presidents Tommy Perkins and Bill Pendergrass, as well as current Executive Vice President Collin Osbourn have had a consistent message to the membership that we need more data (birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, etc.), additional cattle scanned, increased use of DNA and to take action to improve the color of our cattle to meet industry demands. Beyond our BBU staff, industry leaders and commercial customers have told us to do something about the paint coloring. In one of our many educational sessions at a recent BBU convention, past president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and commercial cattleman told us to “get rid of the clowns”, referencing the paint colored cattle. This was not meant to be insulting, but to emphasize the importance of the issue.
Additionally, when Mackie Bounds was the BBU President, the BBU convention hosted an educational session and round table discussion called, “love connection”, two years in a row. Cattle experts from around the country were brought in to take part in the discussion, who were not all favorable of Beefmaster cattle. The intent was to have an open and honest discussion concerning what we as Beefmaster breeders needed to do in order to improve our status in the cattle industry. Again, we heard that we needed to increase ribeye size, improve marbling, add accuracy to our EPDs, and as before, do something about the loud paints. These remarks were not made to an individual about preferences, but was representative of the beef cattle industry from around the country.
As the BBU Board of Directors, we believe that the association and its members have a done a great deal to improve our issues with the exception of carcass quality and color. Most recently, talk in the industry about efficiency has turned a favorable light on the Beefmaster breed. Several of our leading breeders are now collecting data and our staff is looking into new EPDs to prove that we truly are the most efficient breed. Again, much is being done about other issues yet the breed is reluctant to address color.
This past April, the BBU Board of Directors had a meeting in Ardmore, Okla., at the Noble Research Institute (NRI). It included a conference and strategic planning meeting with some of its beef cattle experts. As they listed the favorable traits about Beefmaster cattle they also said that the breed had some major obstacles to overcome. When asked by one of our members what the biggest problem Beefmaster cattle needed to address was, the NRI expert responded, “you must do something about color”. The next day at the board meeting, the BBU Board of Directors asked the Long Range Planning Committee to put together a plan that would address what we have been asked to do for years from customers and members, address the color issue. From that point, the Long Range Planning Committee hosted multiple conference calls and then met in person at the annual summer meetings. After input from all members of the committee, a proposed color policy was created and unanimously approved by the Long Range Planning Committee to be presented to the Board of Directors at their meeting. During the remainder of the committee meetings, five other BBU committees including Advertising, Breed Improvement, International, Seedstock Marketing and Commercial Marketing addressed the color issue and either voted or agreed to support the proposed color policy coming from the Long Range Planning committee. These committees were composed of many breeders representing different geographic areas of the country and varying breeding programs and interest groups. Through all of the committee meetings there was not a single “nay” vote against support of the proposed color policy.
On Friday, June 29, 2018 the BBU Board of Directors met and the proposed color policy was made by the Long Range Planning committee. The proposed color policy contained an educational period and a ten year phase out plan for the removal of large areas of white coloring on all cattle sold or shown publicly. The proposed policy does not at any time remove paint colored cattle previously registered or born before January 1, 2021. It also only pertains to cattle sold or shown in public events. The chairman of the Long Range Planning committee went through the policy paragraph by paragraph and answered the questions of the board members concerning each part of the proposed policy. After edits were made, and pictures were shown in order to clarify proposed policy phases, the BBU Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept the proposed color policy. Once it passed with the requested changes, the board directed our Executive Vice President Collin Osborn to make the official edits and review the policy to ensure it was in accordance with the BBU by-laws.
Above is a very brief summary of how the proposed color policy came about and how it proceeded through the BBU committees and board of directors to this point. The BBU Color Policy was the result of years of communication with industry experts and customers, a request by the BBU board to the Long Range Planning committee to create a proposed solution, and a unanimous vote by the BBU Board of Directors. It was not the creation of any one individual or group of individuals and in no way was intended or designed to benefit any one group of breeders. The sole purpose of the acceptance of this policy by the BBU Board of Directors was to address an ongoing issue for the long-term betterment of the breed as a whole.
Please note the following:
- At no point in the policy will paint cattle or cattle with white in excess of the allowable amount be refused registration. All colors can be registered.
- The paper posted on social media has no clarifications, additions or subtractions that the board approved (it is not the approved document).
- BBU will not be able to post a final version until all edits are made and the policy is thoroughly reviewed to be in accordance with the By-Laws.
- No guideline or rule will go into effect until January 1, 2021.
- The next six months is intended to be a comment period (in which the board of directors wants to hear from membership) with the educational phase set to start January 1, 2019.
- The staff will begin the process of educating the membership with diagrams and material to explain the color guidelines after the six-month comment period has ended.
- During the comment period, changes to the policy may be made or the policy rescinded as a whole.
Questions that have been frequently asked about the policy, as it currently exists, are as follows:
- Can we register and transfer paint calves, cows or bulls after January 1, 2021? Answer: Yes, at all times
- Can we sell paints off of the ranch and new owner register them? Answer: Yes, at all times.
- Will white underlines be allowed to show or sell? Answer: Yes, at all times.
- Will we be able to register or show a mottle faced animal? Answer: Yes, a mottle or white face can be registered, and shown or sold publicly.
In conclusion, the members of the BBU Board of Directors love the young people involved in the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association (JBBA) and many of them have given of their time, cattle, genetics and resources to support this organization. If not for the generosity of our BBU breeders this program would not be able to survive or have seen the growth that it has. The BBU Board of Directors believes that they are blessed with some of the greatest young people in the cattle industry. It has never been, nor ever will be the intent to do anything to intentionally harm the juniors or the JBBA.
The board would like to make it known that every member is important and asks everyone to understand that the board does not represent any one agenda, but the entire breed association as a whole. It has been and will remain to be the purpose of the BBU Board of Directors to do what is best for the betterment of its members and Beefmaster cattle breed as a whole.
The BBU Board of Directors looks forward to any and all comments concerning this matter and will take them into consideration.
BBU Board of Directors