Welcome Back, Canadian Hereford Digest
By Robin Hogberg

Well I sure am glad that the directors of the CHA finally decided that something had to be done with the digest.  I am not quite sure why there wasn’t a change to the official publication years ago.  There is a question that will never be honestly answered and that question is “why now”.   I told Brad Dubeau when he drove into our yard this month “we can’t change what’s already been done, so let’s charge on.”

It has been told to me that the Association could not negotiate with the good folks at Herefords Today.  I personally find that hard to believe and if it is true they should have called on me.  I am positive I could have hammered out a deal with Mina; I have never found her to be that unreasonable or hard to get along with.  That said we as breeders are now left with yet another choice of where to put our advertising dollar.  The government who has the great advantage of sending out its publication to the entire membership at no cost to you…..duhh, and the privately owned publication who is now at a clear disadvantage.  Kind of sounds like the CBC and the rest of the real world communicators.  Regardless what’s done is done and sometimes it doesn’t pay to get too deep into the personal issues which can be the root cause to all of this.  As I told my good friend Kevin Dorrance this week-end “Ted would never have started Herefords Today had the Digest been what it should have been and or if the board had acted when it needed to”

I personally would like to see the CHA spend more time and do a better job of image building.  This is a business that we are in; it’s not a game or an old boys club.  The cattlemen we are selling to are in the fight of their lives and we as a breed must, I say must serve a purpose or we might just as well sell that expensive real-estate in Calgary and turn our Hereford cow herds out with black and white bulls.  In our part of the world selling Hereford bulls is not a natural act of business.  Being in 2 breeds affords us the opportunity to cross a lot of paths.

Bull buyers are leaning towards Hereford genetics more now than in years previous.  I can tell you that 3 years ago when suggesting a Hereford bull to these guys I would get a definite “I don’t thing so“.  Today its, “you know I’ve been thinking about it“, and the guys that are buying Hereford bulls are already making plans to come back next year to replace another older bull with a Hereford.  So the trends are changing slowly.  It’s up to us as breeders to work on the traits that are going to keep the market share if we ever get a piece of it back.  There are 5 common reasons that we hear as to why guys shy away from Herefords.  Cancer eye, bad udders, no milk, calf vigour and prolapses.  This isn’t my list, this is a documented list of reasons given to me by commercial ranchers and cattlemen over the past 5 years as to why not Hereford.  The fact that red hides are lagging behind black hided calves at the market these days doesn’t even enter the picture.  It’s the functional traits.  We as breeders need to hear these calls and be vigilant in addressing them justified or not we can never work hard enough to cleanse the sins of our fathers.  Now where does our association come into all of this.

Well the fore mentioned 5 negatives on Herefords should be front and centre of the board table at the next directors meeting and that should be their agenda.  If there is a problem lets work with our breeders and fix it and if it has been fixed lets get the word out to the livestock industry so that our members can market their product on an even playing field.

With regards to the office, I have been to many meetings and talked to a lot of breeders who are not happy with the office or the registry part of the CHA.  I am here to go on the record in saying that I am very pleased with the work that the staff does.  I have not had any problems with any area of the registry department and I can honestly tell you that the online system is fantastic.  Val has been nothing short of fantastic in guiding me thru when I hit a dead end and with email after hours help was most of the time there.  So from my perspective a big fat bouquet to the staff of the CHA.  I think your doing a great job.

In 2 weeks, June 28, 2009, will be the SHA Annual Meeting.  There is scheduled a full docket of controversial items, the most in recent years (maybe since the sale of Hereford Saskatchewan). Some of the discussion would be hilarious if so many people’s livelihoods didn’t depend on these decisions.  Funny thing is, these decisions  never made it to a meeting.


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