BSCBA - USA 1980-1989
"The Computer Age"
Roger's Note: The computer age arrives at 800 Pleasant Street, Beloit, WI. The transition from card files, typewriters, and pencils to keyboards, terminals, printers, and electronic data storage was a major change for the Association in the 80’s. The switch to the electronic age began in 1980 as the Association celebrates its centennial year (1880-1980). We have now celebrated it’s 125th anniversary and will “Reach for the Sky” during the next 25 years (Franchise 2005). How appropriate to celebrate by having the national office host this 125th convention at home in Beloit, WI.
Data Processing Revolution The basic charge to newly-hired Superintendent of Records Dr. Roger Neitzel in 1979 was to computerize the Association’s record-keeping system. The transition to electronic data processing of registrations, transfers, and performance records began with the approval to purchase a Data General mini-computer system in December 1979. The hardware was delivered in June 1980 and the software programming began. Routine processing of DHIR records began in 1982, with complete processing of pedigrees and registrations beginning in 1985. During this transition, one person was hired solely to enter history registration data for over one year. While this system served its purpose, the next major upgrade occurred in 1995 when a PC-based network system replaced the mini-computer system. The next step is now being reviewed for online access by individual breeders. Amazingly, computers now in almost every home or farm office have more power and storage than that original system 25 years ago.
1980 - A Centennial Year The 80’s began with many events to celebrate the Association’s first 100 years. Could those 22 breeders who first organized the Association in 1880 have foreseen the impact Brown Swiss would have during those first 100 years. To review, revisit, and renew its beginning, the National Convention is held in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the area where the Association was first organized (Worcester, MA). The keynote speaker for the convention was Gene Meyer, Editor of Hoard’s Dairyman. Gene recently passed away (see obituary in the June Bulletin).
A Celebration A special edition of the Brown Swiss Bulletin was published this year entitled “Centennial Edition, 100 Years of Progress”. This extraordinary issue is a wealth of history of the first 100 years of the Association. Many breeder ads tell of their special cows or events during the current period or in the past.
Such a publication requires many long hours and late nights of research, but is time well spent. Special thanks to Bulletin Editor Connie Gritton and Associate Editor Barb Lee for providing the time and effort to complete such a project. Current staff at the time helping research and proofread were Evans Wright, Ginger Gillette, Tish Byrne, Roger Neitzel, and Marvin Kruse. The Centennial Edition contains 348 pages of information between its covers.
International Brown Swiss Conference & National Show In conjunction with World Dairy Expo, the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association of the USA hosts the 1980 International Brown Swiss Conference at the Concourse Hotel, downtown Madison, WI. This five-day event includes 2 days of international symposium presentations and concluded with WDE Brown Swiss Parade of Champions and the American Heritage International Sale managed by Brown Swiss Enterprises.
Only one National Show was held this year at WDE. The greatest Swiss Show on earth was held October 4 & 5 when 532 Brown Swiss were shown by 261 exhibitors from 22 states. At the conclusion of the Parade of Champions, Judge David Dickson and Associate Lee Majeskie selected Kruses Beautician Vixie, owned by Kruses Farm, as Grand Champion and Sems Elegant Sue, owned by Wayne Sliker, as Reserve. Total Performance winner was Betta Vue Neva, owned by Blessing Farms.
New Model Cow Unveiled A new model cow was sculpted by Francis Eustice, Cincinnati, OH. Initially 100 Special Edition model cows were cast. Each model was handpainted, numbered, and signed by the artist. Odd numbered models to 9 were auctioned off at the convention while even numbered models were auctioned at the International Sale during WDE in October. Number 11 model was purchased by the New England Association and given away as a door prize at the National Convention. The lucky winner was Darrell Worden, Wausau, WI. Model 12 was presented to Keynote Speaker Gene Meyer. Remaining models were sold on a first-come first-serve basis. Subsequently, a second 100 models were cast, numbered, and signed, and eventually more models were made.
Prior to the now established Fun Auctions, a National Heifer Sale was held to provide income for the National Youth Programs. In conjunction with this sale, the Number 1 Model Cow, encased in glass, was auctioned off, with the new owner being Jim & Carol Knowlton, Lytle, TX, for the sum of $4,500. Models 3, 5, 7, & 9 were also sold at this time.
Swiss Miss Contest Another special event of this convention was the crowning of Donna Jordan, Lewisburg, TN, as the first National Swiss Miss. A total of 17 girls participated in this event with Barb Guy of Wisconsin being the alternate. This was a precursor of the current Ambassador Program.
Cow of the 80’s Idyl Wild Improver Jinx 664521 was selected to be the “Cow of the 80’s”. Bred by Paul Weber, Idyl Wild Farm, OR, she was owned and exhibited by Doug Massingill, OR and Pete Vanderham, CA. She then sold in the Springtime Show Window Sale in 1982 for a record $60,000 to Forest Lawn Farm, WI. She was three-times All American, four times National Show Grand Champion, and produced four records over 20,000 milk and 1000 fat.
Protein Value Recognized The importance of the protein component value in milk, and particularly in Brown Swiss milk, becomes evident. The Association stresses this fact with the inclusion of a National Protein Award, the addition of protein recognition in “How They’re Doin’” and the beginning of “Protein Plus” records initially at the 900-pound level.
Lone Oak Ima Doll 667970 owned by Franklin Ferg, WI, sets the standard for protein production with her breed-record lactation at 5-11 365d 2x of 1377 lbs protein. At the end of the decade, Ima Doll holds 4 of the top 10 protein records at ages 5/11 (1377), 7-5 (1285), 4-2 (1251), and 9-5 (1217).
Leadership Association’s leadership in the 1980’s included Presidents William J. Notter, CO (1980-1982); Ed Drewitz, MN (1982-1986); Lee F. Barber, Jr., IA (1986-1990); and Executive Secretaries Evans Wright (1978- 1981); Virginia Gillette (1981); George Opperman (1981-1987); and George Harris (1987-1993).
Breed Cooperation The Brown Swiss Association (BSCBA) began its long cooperative relationship with the American Milking Shorthorn Society (AMSS) in 1984 with a joint classification program and BSCBA processing production records for AMSS. In 1986, BSCBA began sharing office space and processing registrations for AMSS. This cooperative effort became ever stronger in 2002 when Dave Kendall became Executive Secretary of both organizations