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Holstein USA Board meets; has a most colorful session

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -- President Glen E. Brown presided at the spring Holstein Association USA, Inc. Board of Directors meeting on March 20-21 at the Association’s headquarters in Brattleboro.

Attendees heard a report on Holstein coat color and new research which has helped establish the Dominant Red trait, along with Recessive Red and its variations. During their deliberations, the Board approved the use of new genetic codes for reporting gene results for Dominant Red: DR1 will denote animals that have been DNA tested and proven to be heterozygous for the Dominant Red allele (carrying one copy); and DR2 will denote animals that have been DNA tested and proven to be homozygous for the Dominant Red allele (carrying two copies).

In further Board action, the Association will remove “B/R” (Black/Red) codes from animals where their own coat color and/or progeny information makes it obvious they have the "wild-type red" allele and not the Black/Red allele.

Additionally, the Association will use current research on Holstein coat color genetics to identify animals with the wrong coat color recorded. Once those animals are identified, owners will be contacted seeking their permission to remove the -Red from their animal's registered name.

Dr. Ben Dorshorst, assistant professor of genetics at Virginia Tech University, addressed the Board on “Polled Genetics and Its Future in the Dairy Industry.” He discussed the current and projected frequencies of the polled gene in the Holstein breed, and compared genetic merit of polled Holsteins and their horned cohorts.

Further, the Board approved the allocation of up to 5 percent annually from the Reserve Fund to be designated toward the betterment of the Holstein Association, its members, and the Holstein cow. At least half of that 5 percent should target breed improvement and research, with the remainder targeted on capital improvements and other projects deemed necessary by the Holstein Association USA Board of Directors and staff.

The Board also discussed potential updates to the TPI formula. Analysis of possible changes will be reviewed and discussed at the summer board meeting.

The Board approved an adjustment to the rules of the current Senior Prepared Public Speaking Contest, beginning in 2015. The modification will allow youths to use visual aids including posters, display boards, and PowerPoint presentations, etc. in this contest.

In addition, the Board approved a request from the Michigan Holstein Association to host the 2018 National Holstein Convention in Acme, Mich. at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

Proposed Bylaw Amendment

The Board approved a proposed amendment to the Bylaws Article III, Section 7 by adding “The Board of Directors will establish a schedule of deadlines for the process of nominating and electing delegates to the annual meeting.”

This proposal will be presented to Holstein Association USA delegates in 2014 and, if passed, will become effective with delegate elections for the 2016 annual meeting.