Columbus, Ohio – U.S. dairy producers have benefited from the United States being the gold standard in global genetic progress. This position is the result of research efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Research Service (ARS), coupled with a massive database developed through the selfless cooperation from members of the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB). CDCB members include National Dairy Herd Information Association, National Association of Animal Breeders and Purebred Dairy Cattle Association. CDCB has been working the past 16 months to prepare the U.S. dairy industry genetics and management data flow to effectively and efficiently operate in the future. It is this type of cooperation on behalf of U.S. dairy producers that CDCB formed a Dairy Data Working Group (DDWG). This group included 10 representatives from five different dairy segments (breed associations, artificial insemination, dairy records providers, dairy records processing centers and university research) who worked to evaluate the data demands of genomics and their effect on data flow for the CDCB member cooperator database. New technologies, traits of economic importance, sustainability, genomics and the need to continue to recalibrate the genetic calculations are driving this review.
The DDWG prepared a discussion paper in October 2010 and a report in April 2011 to present opportunities to adopt and adapt a system to serve the industry. This included drafting a Cooperative Agreement between CDCB and ARS-USDA to facilitate access to the CDCB member database for research purposes. Continuing development of world-leading software, research for genetic evaluations and benchmarks of economically important genetic and management traits in dairy cattle are the key points of the agreement.
In May 2011, a CDCB Business Plan Working Group (BPWG) was appointed to develop a business plan for industry review and adoption. The group is comprised of six representatives from the industry, which include: Neal Smith, executive secretary and CEO of American Jersey Cattle Association; John Meyer, CEO of Holstein Association USA Inc.; Doug Wilson, CEO of Genex and Cooperative Resources International; Dave Thorbahn, president and CEO of Select Sires; Jay Mattison, CEO and administrator of National Dairy Herd Information Association; and Jamie Zimmerman, CEO of Dairy One Cooperative Inc. Ole Meland, chair of CDCB, is serving as the group’s facilitator.
The CDCB BPWG has held conference calls and face-to-face meetings since Aug. 1, 2011. The purpose of this group is to evaluate DDWG options and refine an operational and business plan to move the process forward. This process will be done over the next eight months with final recommendations delivered in April 2012. BPWG is using task forces and seeking input from stakeholders to prepare options for review and acceptance by CDCB members and cooperators.
A goal of preparing for the future to ensure the United States’ world-class, gold standard genetic and management systems for dairy cattle is driving the process. U.S. dairy producers and dairy organizations are looking to have the system that has served the United States and world for the last 75 years move into the future. CDCB members agree status quo is not an option or in the best interests of the dairy producer stakeholders and organizations.