Outside our Borders

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Outside our Borders

Did you know your national Association participates in international market development?

Among various programs supported by USDA are the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD).  The objective of these programs is to aid in the creation, expansion, and maintenance of foreign markets for US agricultural products.  The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) partners with cost-sharing non-profit trade associations, such as US Livestock Genetics Export Inc., to conduct ag technical assistance and trade servicing activities in other countries. These programs benefit the entire farm industry and ultimately the overall economy.

The Brown Swiss Association as a member of USLGE sends judges, classifiers and other industry experts as breed representatives to several countries each year to foster good relationships with breeders throughout the world.  By doing so, we are promoting the Brown Swiss breed and the use of US Brown Swiss genetics.

Breaking Boundaries: USLGE Ventures Beyond Borders

In February 2024, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, witnessed a historic moment in the livestock industry as the United States Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE) held its annual meeting outside the United States for the first time since its inception in 1994. The event, attended by approximately 70 participants, marked a significant milestone in international collaboration within the livestock genetics sphere.

USLGE, a nonprofit trade association representing various sectors of the U.S. livestock industry, serves as a pivotal bridge connecting international producers with superior genetic resources in the United States. With its diverse membership encompassing dairy, beef, swine, horse, small ruminant breeding industries, and embryo and semen sectors, USLGE stands as a beacon of expertise and collaboration in genetic selection and trade.

Executive Secretary Norm Magnussen participated in the joint US Dairy Booth at Interational Dairy Week in Tatura, Victoria, Australia in January. He snapped this photo of the Brown Swiss Youth group. 


Darin Hill instructing a Junior Exhibitor at Agro-Expo in Colombia. A group shot of the participating juniors in Colombia.







Matt Hendel gave a presentation on US Brown Swiss at a Field Day in Costa Rica and visited this farm, Rancho Los Angeles, near Liberia, Costa Rica.


David Wallace gave a presentation on US Brown Swiss in Nicaragua in August. 

David Wallace returned to Nicaragua in November and gave a classification clinic and presentations on US Brown Swiss to three dairy co-op groups





Brett Haines judged the National Brown Swiss Show in Fortaleza, Brazil in November.


In addition to the 2022 World Brown Swiss Conference, several additional international activities were carried out in the Western Hemisphere.

Laurie Winkelman judged the Expo Melgar Show in Ayaviri, Peru, with approximately 300 head, including 50 bulls.


David Wallace gave a classification seminar and demonstration to breeders in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.


Phil Topp judged the Mexico National BS Show in Xicotopec de Juarez, Puebla.


David Wallace conducted a classification tour in Colombia and scored this herd belonging to Diego Rios Gomez.


Despite Covid restrictions, a couple of international activities still took place.  David Wallace taught a classification workshop in Cundinamarca, Colombia, at the end of August and spent several days scoring cattle at various farms.

At the Mexico National show in mid-August, Judge David Wallace thought it was interesting to note that 62.9% of the animals shown were from AI sires bred in the USA. This demonstrates over the years that the USA has been leading the way for Brown Swiss genetics in Mexico. Twenty percent were sired by European bulls (SwissGenetics) and 17.1% were from home-bred sires. The home-bred sires were sons of US bulls.
The next day, a classification workshop was taught by David Wallace.

A Cochran Fellowship group led by Martin Sieber of USLGE visited the Brown Swiss Association office on Thursday, October 9, 2019.  The group consisted of dairy farmers, veterinarians, Ag Ministry personnel, researchers, and Ag teachers from Bosnia/Herzegovina (6) and Malaysia (4). The two groups are shown above with Executive Secretary Norm Magnussen, and BSCBA staff members Leonard Johnson and Rebekah Bovee.  They had many questions about the breed, dairy genetics, and herd  management.  The visit to the Brown Swiss office was their last stop on a busy two-week learning experience that included World Dairy Expo where they saw Cutting Edge T Delilah win Grand Champion of the Brown Swiss Show and claim WDE Supreme Champion for the second year in a row!

An eager-to-learn group from Ethiopia visited the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association Friday, June 15th.  Jim Sarbacker, representing US Livestock Genetics Export Inc., was leading the training program for this Cochran Fellowship group that consisted of dairy cattle owners, a veterinarian, a member of the US embassy, a dairy council member and an A.I. owner.

The BSCBA office was their last stop of a two-week tour, which included visits to Voegeli Farm, Wisconsin, and Kruse’s Swiss Farm, Iowa.  The group were shown many different aspects of the dairy industry from on-farm production and management to end-product manufacturing. They learned the benefits Brown Swiss could bring to their challenged dairy environment.  Shown with the Ethiopian delegation are Executive Secretary Norm Magnussen and staff members Leonard Johnson, Rebekah Bovee, Roger Neitzel, and Kelsey Kuehl.  

The Cochran Fellowship Program (USDA-FAS) provides short-term training opportunities to agricultural professionals from middle-income countries, emerging markets, and emerging democracies. The goals are to help eligible countries develop agricultural systems necessary to meet the food and fiber needs of their domestic populations; and to strengthen and enhance trade linkages between eligible countries and agricultural interests in the United States.

A group of 7 individuals from Ecuador and Peru visited the Brown Swiss Association office as part of a Cochran Fellowship educational tour in October 2017.

Jim Hammerand judged the 39th International Exhibition of Livestock Expo held in Puno, Peru, at the end of August 2017. 

He also participated in the 4th Judges academic workshop the beginning of September 2017.

2017 Pan American Congress was held in Queretaro, Mexico, August 2-6

David Sprengeler judged the National Show in conjunction with the Conference.

National Office Hosts International Guests


By Rebekah Bovee

A group of eight Nicaraguan cattle experts, including cattle breeders/a milk cooperative director/an A.I. representative/and an Agricultural Specialist from USDA-FAS in Nicaragua, visited the Brown Swiss Association office on Friday, August 26, 2016, as part of a Cochran Fellowship activity, a program supported through USLGE and USDA-FAS. The training program was conducted by Martin Sieber, USLGE representative, assisted by a translator from Madison, Wisconsin. The group was in the US for both beef and dairy educational experience.

Nicaragua has a tropical environment – 90-110 degrees in summer and humid. There are a lot of trees, however, and natural shade is the cooling system for their cattle.  Beef, dairy, peanuts, and sugar cane are the main industries. About 60% of their national income derives from either beef or dairy cows. Nicaragua’s biggest export is beef. They also export cheese to other Central American countries.

There are about five million head of beef and dairy cattle in Nicaragua, with 60-80% having varying levels of Brown Swiss in their genetics.  Brown Swiss crossbreeding is prevalent with Brahman and Gyr. Including Brown Swiss genetics into the cattle population increased carcass weight 30 lbs. Cattle are mostly dual-purpose.

The largest Brown Swiss herd has about 800 head. Average herd size is about 80-100 head. Breeders are still hand milking, and only about 5% use artificial insemination on their herds, the rest use herd bulls for natural service.

There are two large milk co-ops in Nicaragua. The represented milk co-op has 1300 members which includes about 130,000 cows. They are paid by milk quality and praised the value of Brown Swiss milk – especially the fat and protein levels of milk compared to Holstein for processed milk products.

Semen companies represented in Nicaragua are: Select Sires, Semex, Sexing Technologies, CRI, Accelerated, and New Generation Genetics. About 55% of cattle semen imported into Nicaragua is Brown Swiss.

Breeders are interested in using some older genetics to catch up gradually to newer genetics. Definite interest exists for importing bull calves. As genetics improve in the better herds, there will be a trickle-down effect as resulting bull calves are sold to neighboring ranches.

There is a great deal of interest in conducting research on Brown Swiss/Gyr crosses and the group would encourage research by universities on animal health, adaptability to climate, longer productive life, and better feet & legs for grazing compared to Holsteins. Getting this type of research in print will benefit many breeders in the USA and all of Central America.

The Brown Swiss Association staff were excited to welcome this enthusiastic group from Nicaragua and begin a relationship which could be advantageous to all.