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Letter to the Editor: Agreement Particulars

Reply to the Dairy Agenda 2/9/12 .......New Agreement between USDA and the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding.

If you look at this article it appears to be written by the editor. However.... the letter was written by Dave Thorbahn, CEO of Select Sires on 1/11/2012.

At first glance it appears this is a done deal and will take effect in 2012. This is NOT TRUE. There is strong opposition to this from Holstein USA and every US Holstein breeder that knows anything about it.

Most US breeders knew nothing about this secret deal untill a month or two ago. It had been discussed for some months by the the Holstein USA board and management and they ARE AGAINST this proposal.

At the Region meeting of Holstein USA in New York and Pa ...this proposal was discussed in detail.

Why is this being pushed?

Will USDA and the US taxpayers save any money if this new group primaily NAAB.... takes over the USDA Sire Summaries?

Dr. Duane Norman head of USDA/AIPL discussed this with John Meyer CEO of Holstein before his recent retirement...he said NO!

What about the costs?

Now every dairyman in the US and several foreign countries can prove a bull in the US.. for FREE....paid for by US tyaxpayers.

What if this change occurs?  What will be the fee per bull?

In Canada (the home of $30 milk per 100lbs...for decades) the price to sample a bull was between $2,500 and $5,000 per bull! Expect that here!

Breeders have been waiting untill genomic test bulls and sell semen to neigbors and others.. .. what effect on them?

Now costs..may be as high as $10,000 per market semen on them!!!

So .....   then who benefits?

The gang of seven bull studs....that have made Genomics their personal Money Tree! They don't want to lose controll over it!

 You wil note in the original article....a lot a talk about Genomics and not about helping breeders, dairymen or taxpayers!

 ACTION taken....

At the Holstein the PA Holstein Covention..a resolution was keep the Sire Summaries at USDA!

If all else fails ..the Holstein Association is capable and could publish the sire summaries ..they are honest..but even then... more FEES would be needed.

The US Holstein Association suggests,,,,contact your Congressmen.... have them requst ....that USDA /AIPL continue publishing the valued .... USDA Sire Summaries!

This Genomic situation has not been an overall boon to breeders..when all costs are considered. The 7 bull studs have profited the most. Likewise smaller bull studs have been harmed financially and are trying to survive..

Lastly this time a US Holstein breeder cannot even get an official male pedigree..... with a Genomic proof on it ...even if tested by a stud...unless it goes thru the NAAB (National Association of Animal Breeders) for a FEE. No US Holstein breeders or the Assoc. agreed to this...even though US Holstein paid more $100,000 into the Genomic fund...MORE....than ANY single bull stud!

US Holstein breeders have been harmed. US Holstein has the time and resources to help you send a mailing to your congressmen... similar to Tea Party Petitions. Whatever.... ACT Now.... action must be taken avoid monopoly in the bull business! Two Co-op bull studs now own 25% of the top GTPI females and now own nearly as many females and males...... how concerned are they about you the breeder?


Ron Flatness,

Flatness International Inc.          

Reader Comments
Comments posted do not express the viewpoint of Dairy Agenda Today or its staff members.

Intentional Diversion
March, 17 2012
Do as I say not as I do. Distracted by the media articles by magazines supported by advertisers. Interesting as the ability to test bulls in 2013 nears closer the genomic rhetoric ramps up. Don't lose site this is an issue on accessibility of Dairy Producer, US Taxpayer funded research. The patent comes off does not mean new walls should be built. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) granted 5 years exclusivity to the AI companies and NAAB members. This was because of the Cooperative Dairy DNA Repository. I still question who really owned this DNA. Did us breeders who sold the original bulls that made the DNA and us farmers that contributed to DHIA, registration and Classification that made the DNA realize how this could be used to control the AI business. In the meantime some AI companies have acquired high genomic females and control the early release of high genomic bulls. Do as I say not as I do. Does that sit right with you.
Ron Flatness
March, 17 2012
Bottom line you didn't admit what AI stud you work for ..why not? Anyway you suggest that bull studs are competing with breeders... buying the best genetics.. in order to help them..because they are not smart enough to do it themselves and need more competion when buying the best ..correct? Are you ready to admit you just want to monopolize the breeding business?
bottom line
March, 14 2012
When I say genomics is risky, I mean that in the case of breeders, it is very risky to invest in high genomic females and hope to get a return on investment
Ron Flatness
March, 14 2012
Bottom line and Ultimate you crack me up. Genomics is risky.. that's a laugh. It costs $150 a test. They test thousands of bulls a month and only take the ones they want...making the rest basically worth no more than jumper bulls. The US government spends a lot of money on voting maybe we should charge $500 to everyone to vote? If you want USDA/AIPl to make money and the US taxpayer to save money...on Sire Summaries...charge every foreign owned bull stud like Alta, ABS Global,Semex,CRV and GGI $5,000 per bull to sample them. That would bring in more than a million dollars per year! If I want to sample a bull in Canada ., they would charge me $5,000 per bull!
Mariann Thomson
March, 13 2012
How long before the young sires we use will have dams who never got any farther than a petri dish, and whose sires are just old enough to collect? I fear that genomics, in spite of all of its positive attributes, is fast becoming the scam of the century. As long as the large commercial dairies and gullible breeders believe in a genomic bull’s superiority, they are here to stay. The old saw of “new genetics” versus “old genetics” has never been fairly tested. Beware: “There are none so dangerous as those who believe their own lies.”
March, 13 2012
Here is an economics lesson for each of you: #1 A.I. Organizations are businesses with only one goal, to produce a profit. They are not your friend, not your consultant and definitely not the savior of the breed. #2 Genomics is a very scientific word that intimidates most people. Most dairymen are busy, do not understand what genomics really is, are confused by the bulk and frequency of genomic data and assume what their friends, consultants and anticipated experts (the A.I. salesmen) tells them must be true. So they buy what he is selling. #3 Commercial dairymen do not dictate breeding values. Commercial dairymen are concerned about P&L, not GTPI. They do not care about production testing, registered animals (because when they did buy one they were lied to and cheated) or what comments are on Dairy Agenda Today. Commercial dairymen are businessmen and if they are successful they run their dairy as a business and not as a hobby farm. They know what they want and they go to public sales and private treaty sales and buy what they see. What they buy are not high PL or DPR or any of the crap everyone is trying to sell us. The price they pay is dictated not by genomic numbers but what they see in the animal and what they think that animal can give them in production. #4 There is no number 4 because the above is basic economic principles.
bottom line
March, 13 2012
The bull studs, like any business, work and plan in order to provide what their customers want. The vast majority of their customers are commercial dairymen who want the best genetics possible at the lowest possible cost. Yes, breeders want as much as possible for their genetics, but the majority wins and in this case the majority is in the ranks of commercial dairyman. Genomics is a very risky game to play. The bull studs have the financial where with all to assume high levels of risk, and they assume that risk on the behalf of the commercial dairymen they serve. If dairymen want to maintain control and ownership of top genetics, most need to work together in groups, pool their money, assume risk and hope for financial reward.
March, 12 2012
As a milk producer who pays taxes and dabbles in registered stock, I think that compiling sire summaries is one of several things the USDA shouldn't do. We dairy men and women can't continue to expect everyone else to support our industry with MILC subsidies, sire summaries etc.
March, 12 2012
Genomics has taken over people. End of story. Everyone has said from the beginning up until now that genomics is only another tool in the bag of breeding cows but it has become the only thing that matters when it comes to placing bulls in AI and why shouldn't it? The studs only take the good ones, they charge a huge premium for the semen with the very top bulls being as or more expensive than top proven bulls. Yes they're usually paying more money for the bulls in the get go but it's only a fraction of the money they will gain from that bull until he actually has milking daughters and then if he doesn't turn out they cut his throat just like they would have years ago but instead of being a loss, that bull has been very profitable even if he never comes close to the lineup. The ones that make it just increase the profit exponentially. Genomics has turned into a money making scheme as far as I am concerned and the extra money breeders are seeing for their bulls is only a small fraction of what the bull studs are now seeing. They can't afford for genomics to not be the be all, end all. It's as simple as that.
March, 12 2012
As Holstein Breeders, why do you not seize the moment and move forward to control your destiny? Other livestock breeding industries have done this work in house for many years. The swine industry developed STAGES, breeders took control. Breeders of dairy cattle have the opportunity to control Genomic information versus the dairy industry partners claiming the information for there exclusive rights. Seize the moment and break tradition!