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General Session II

BIF’s Role in Charting the Beef Industry’s Future

by Barb Baylor Anderson for Angus Productions Inc.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (June 30, 2010) — A reflection on the past will provide direction for the future, Larry Cundiff, retired research geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC), told participants at the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) "Gateway to Profit" conference.

Larry CundiffLarry CundiffCundiff observed that, over the years, BIF’s vision to bring together Extension, research and industry for genetic improvement has been a good model for achieving just that. BIF’s symposia, committees and workshops have long provided the fodder needed for discussion.

“This meeting stimulates questions for our research programs. Perhaps the best example is expected progeny differences (EPDs) across breeds. Discussion led to subsequent analyses. We now look at genetic trends to see how breeds have arrived from where they started,” he said.

The ninth edition of the BIF guidelines is being completed and updates such issues as uniformity in methods for measuring traits, recording and analyzing data, and exploring genetic EPDs with both quantitative and molecular approaches. Cundiff says the most changes were made in the molecular approaches area and how those approaches can be implemented. New research includes udder scores, postweaning feed intake and efficiency, behavioral traits and more.

“The beef industry’s charge for the future is to keep on doing these things and to provide direction so that we continue to have an impact on genetic improvement,” says Cundiff, adding he has concerns. “The decline in funding and support for land-grant universities and the erosion in education for training new scientists and research pose problems. There used to be stations with herds and scientists committed to the projects on those stations. We need to keep funding these projects and maintain BIF as the organization that brings together the associations, the industry and Extension scientists,” he says. “I believe this effort will be in good hands.”

Cundiff spoke June 30 during the second general session of the 2010 BIF symposium. Themed "Gateway to Profit," the 42nd annual research symposium and annual meeting was hosted by BIF June 28-July 1 in Columbia, Mo.

Editor’s Note: This summary was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API). Through an agreement with the Beef Improvement Federation, we are encouraging reprinting of the articles to those who will adhere to the reprint guidelines available on this site. Please review those guidelines or contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270. PowerPoints are posted with permission of the presenter and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the presenter.

API's coverage of the event is made possible through collaboration with BIF and sponsorship by BioZyme Inc. through its significant gift to the Angus Foundation. For questions about this site, or to notify us of broken links, click here.

Headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo., API publishes the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, and the Angus e-List, as well as providing online coverage of events and topics pertinent to cattlemen through the API Virtual Library.

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