• Miranda Reiman, senior associate editor

Pollard: Functional Cows and Commercial Cattlemen are the Base

Commercial cattlemen rely on Angus breeders who understand their needs.


“It’s important for us to work hand-in-hand with them, to see to it that we're providing the best product and the best information so that they can make the best decisions possible for their herds in their individual regions,” says Barry Pollard, Enid, Okla. “We have to keep them in mind all the time. They are the basis for all of it.”

Pollard was elected treasurer of the American Angus Association during the September Board of Directors meeting. He offered some comments during the Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.

Pollard says the Board has no plans to let the breed stagnate, but also will “not forget the real functional value of the Angus cow.”

To hear more from Pollard, listen in to the interview or read the full interview below.





MIRANDA REIMAN: We're here in Angus Convention, and where we’ve just wrapped up things. And I'm here with Dr. Barry Pollard, treasurer of the Board. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us Barry.


BARRY POLLARD: Yes, my privilege. Thank you.


REIMAN: So, we're going to talk just a little bit about... What are you looking forward to most in the future? What are some of the opportunities that the Association has looking forward?


POLLARD: Well, I think the cattle industry has got a great future and we're certainly looking at doing more with what we've got. We can't, we've got a good staff. We've got the great cattle, we've got good organization. We've got a good staff at Angus Association. It takes all of that, working together with our members and trying to improve the breed all the time, protect the breed and improve the breed at all times.


REIMAN: Excellent. We did hear a lot about how we're on top of that pyramid. How do we make sure that we don't get complacent?


POLLARD: Oh, I think that the staff and the delegates as well as those that are on the Board are well aware of the dangers of stagnation. I think we have to be progressive. We have to analyze new things that come out. We have to see if they benefit us as an organization. See if they benefit the cow herd and analyze all of those things to come forward as they come forward and do a reasonable evaluation in great detail before we introduce them as a change in anything we might want to do.


REIMAN:You've spent a number of years on the Board. So, I'm asking you to think back to your first time, your first year on the Board, we heard David Dal Porto say when he got on the Board, “You just didn't know what you didn't know.” What are some of the things that you have learned through your tenure that other members might find surprising, or just trends you think that maybe they should know about?


POLLARD: It's a little bit more complex and complicated whenever you get into it, and learning of the interaction of all the organizations that we deal with. I think leading the staff and leading the Association and direction where people have a good understanding of the genomic information that we're generating and trying to keep people well informed, I think is one of the key elements because we want to be very transparent, and in order to be transparent we have to understand all of that in great detail, and we need to do everything we can to make sure that our membership gets the information so that they can all understand it and be able to make decisions on their own.


REIMAN: Absolutely. And of course that membership includes commercial producers as well. What do we need to be doing to make sure that we're still relevant to that commercial industry and our commercial customers?


POLLARD: Well, we have to keep them in mind all the time. I mean, they are the basis for it all. They're the ones that we breed the bulls for. And they're the ones that provide the cow herd to let us be more aggressive in carcass performance and all other measures of performance that we have. So, it's important for us to work hand-in-hand with them, to see to it that we're providing the best product and the best information so that they can make the best decisions possible for their herds in their individual regions. Not everything's the same, one part of the country's different, and so we have keep that in mind as well.


REIMAN: Is there anything else that I haven't asked you about that you think breeders might want to know about?


POLLARD: Well, again, I think it's going to be certainly the Board's responsibility to make the changes necessary that come along, but not forget the real functional value of the Angus cow and the Angus breed and not get led astray down the road that is not the right path. So, I think it's just important that we take the proper time to evaluate everything as we go forward.


REIMAN: Excellent. And leaving an event like this where you've gotten to spend time among your cohorts probably gives you a little bit of fuel for that.


POLLARD: Oh, it does, because I try to make as many of the caucuses as I can and hear what the concerns of the membership are. And being at this convention and talking to people from all over the United States, you get a good idea of their concerns, and their questions, just a good way to gather a basic information about what are they concerned about that we need to be addressing. That's what I get most out of it.


REIMAN: Well, thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us today.


POLLARD: Oh my pleasure. Thank you.