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300 years ago,

farmers in Herefordshire, England, founded the Hereford breed in response to consumer beef demand created by Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Efficient production, high yields and sound reproduction were of utmost importance. In 1817 Hereford cattle entered the United States to serve a similar need – efficiency adding pounds to native cattle, and creating reproductively efficient females.


Benjamin Tomkins, a primary founder of the Hereford breed, starts with a bull calf from the cow Silver and two cows, Pidgeon and Mottle.


Henry Clay, Kentucky statesman, brings Herefords to the United States.


American Hereford Cattle Breeders Association is organized (name later changes to American Hereford Association [AHA]).


The AHA is the first beef breed association to own its own headquarters; permanent residence is established at 300 West 11th St., Kansas City, Mo.


The Great Depression takes its toll, and prices drop to a low point; all 2,743 head of Herefords sold at auction this year bring an average price of $105 per head. AHA registrations also fall from 101,839 in 1929 to 87,541.


President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicates second AHA headquarters at 715 Hereford Drive, Kansas City, Mo.


By the end of the year, the AHA has registered a total of 10 million head.


APHA issues its first artificial insemination (AI) certificate. Producers who don’t own the bull can now purchase its semen to AI their cows, making the best genetics available to everyone.


The first Junior National Polled Hereford Heifer Show and Forum is held in Nashville, Tenn.


On October 15, the American Hereford Association establishes the Certified Hereford Beef brand to market the beef our ranchers work hard to produce.

Also in 1995, AHA and APHA merge.


AHA participated in the beef checkoff-funded Carcass Merit Project (CMP), which was initiated to develop genetic selection tools for carcass and consumer-satisfaction traits, such as marbling, tenderness and meat composition. This was in response to two decades of declining domestic consumer beef demand and challenges revealed by the National Beef Tenderness survey. Olsen Ranch, Harrisburg, Neb. and Stahly Ranch, Cavour, S.D. provided and fed some of the Hereford and Hereford-influenced cattle that were part of the CMP.

For AHA, this project also served as the template and starting point of the National Reference Sire Program (NRSP), as founders recognized the opportunity and value of comparing sires via larger contemporary groups to prove merit and increase prediction accuracy faster.


The Hereford breed continues to grow in popularity worldwide as AHA membership grows to more than 4,000 family ranches, with genetics marketed around the world.


AHA established Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™), building upon the early performance programs of the late 1960s. This enabled the collection of complete calf crop information and eliminated reporting bias.


AHA and Hereford associations in other countries conducted the national genetic linkage project demonstrating the efficacy of inter-continental genetic evaluation.


AHA conducted the Harris Ranch Project, which validated the direct and maternal heterosis advantages of Hereford genetics. The study documented a $30 dollar advantage for Hereford-sired black baldies, compared to purebred Angus contemporaries, due to health, pounds produced and efficiency throughout the finishing phase. Black baldy females also had a 7% advantage in pregnancy.


AHA conducted the Circle A Ranch Project to validate the direct and maternal advantage of Hereford genetics. Economist Vern Pierce demonstrated the baldy female had a $51 advantage over straghtbred Angus due to fertility and longevity.


The first Pan-American Cattle Evaluation is released, which included data from the U.S., Uruguay, Canada and Argentina.


Olsen Ranch implemented feed intake systems, adding individual feed efficiency data to the NRSP.


Simplot Ranch, Inc. became an NRSP test herd and validated that Hereford genetics could be used successfully on heifers.


AHA collaborated in the National Feed Efficiency Project. This project established collection of multiple genotypes that would serve as the foundation of the AHA’s genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDS). This project also served as the basis for the first across-breed comparison for feed intake developed the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (US-MARC).


The AHA publishes the first genomically-enhanced EPDs.


A Hereford bull named C Miles McKee 2103 ET set the world record for a cattle sale, selling for $600,000.


The AHA launches the electronic recording system, MyHerd.org, in November.


Terri Barber is elected as the first female AHA president since the APHA and AHA merger.


US-MARC released the first across-breed comparison for feed intake, showing Hereford has a feed intake advantage of nearly 2 pounds.


AHA transitioned its genetic evaluation to a mixed marker effect model using only data from progeny born after 2001, when TPR was established, but including three generations of pedigree.


Mershon Cattle LLC, Buckner, Mo., becomes NRSP test herd.


Oklahoma State University published research results showing the baldy female consumes 2 pounds less feed per day while carrying a 0.5 higher body condition score (BCS), compared to straightbred Angus cows.


AHA established a research project with the University of Illinois to fully characterize the maternal efficiency advantages of the baldy female. This project expands on previous research — Harris Ranch, Circle A Ranch and Oklahoma State University documenting direct and maternal heterosis.


AHA established a research project with Colorado State University to enhance understanding of the genetic differences in seedstock relative to enteric methane production and nitrogen excretion. The research includes identifying selection tools that can help reduce beef’s carbon and environmental footprint.