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BeefTalk: Forward Thinkers Always Are Needed in the Beef Industry

North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association  - Founding Principles North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association - Founding Principles
Some organizations seem to have a purpose or function that extends through time.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

Organizations come and go, especially organizations formed for a specific purpose. As that purpose or the need diminishes, so does the organization.

Some organizations seem to have a purpose or function that extends through time. These organizations are made up of forward-thinking people who have an ability to keep the never ending complex world organized.

One such group is the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association. I turned to the group for assistance when I was asked to testify before the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The request was for information related to a qualitative and, to the extent possible, quantitative analysis of the economic effects of foreign animal health and sanitary and food safety measures on U.S. beef exports. As I pondered what I might contribute, I reflected on the NDBCIA’s success.

The NDBCIA is one of those visionary organizations that gathered dedicated cattle producers in 1963. To this day, the focus remains.

If one was to open the original bylaws, the needs of the organization, as defined by the beef producers at the time, were clear. Before getting to all of them, one is reminded that the crispness of the paper and the original typewriter imprints and overstrikes were done some time ago.

The nine original incorporators had a vision of what the beef industry needed. They listed seven objectives:

  • Advance the use of practical and scientifically proven information for beef cattle improvement by encouraging research and education related to the total advancement of beef cattle production
  • Encourage and coordinate herd improvement programs on the farm or ranch
  • Encourage and/or provide opportunities for recognition of superior beef type and conformation
  • Provide guidance and supervision of market and breeding animal evaluation programs in cooperation with breed associations
  • Assist in processing and evaluating records obtained in a herd improvement program
  • Promote and advertise superior stock based on accurate records
  • To become affiliated with the American Beef Cattle Performance Registry Association, thereby joining hands with sister state associations in the standardization of procedure in the measurement of the performance of beef cattle and also the recognition of cattle with outstanding productivity

After 44 years, these objectives still are driving the NDBCIA and are the very reason that its founders’ thoughts really form the foundation of any comments one might make on behalf of the beef industry in North Dakota. The heart of the NDBCIA rests in doing what is good for North Dakota people involved with the beef cattle production chain.

The NDBCIA experiences can offer guidance to the industry on issues such as age and source verification and what it means to be a North Dakota beef producer. The association is the home of 374 North Dakota producers who rely on the association’s cow herd appraisal performance system to process their production records.

The NDBCIA also actively supervises more than 850 production record accounts. Those founders should be recognized for what they started and what continues today as grass-roots producer families on the northern prairies.

The NDBCIA exemplifies the involvement and hard work needed within the beef industry. The earlier organizational pioneers extended themselves to educate and engage fellow producers and consumers on the aspects of beef cattle production.

These efforts stand today as exemplary, along with the lessons taught about stewardship of the air, land and water, and care of their animals. The request to testify before the USITC on behalf of those producers is truly an honor, but more importantly, it is the opportunity to represent the seven objectives of the NDBCIA.

The NDBCIA commitment to a better beef industry has set the tone for current members, which is a continued commitment to a healthy, strong beef industry with a vision for the future.

May you find all your ear tags.

Your comments are always welcome at

For more information, contact the NDBCIA Office, 1041State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601, or go to on the Internet.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Kris Ringwall, (701) 483-2348, ext. 103,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
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