In late November, American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) officials tallied up their registrations for 2007 and determined to make an extra push at the end of the year to reach 80,000 registrations. By midnight on Dec. 31, the association reached a year-end total of 79,535 registered animals and recorded the third-highest annual total for Jersey registrations ever.
Association officials say 2007’s registration record has more significance than appears on the surface because it is the highest registration total for the breed without having special circumstances affecting the total.
“We’ve been in this business for 140 years, and four of the 10 best years in our history occurred in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Over this period, we have averaged 74,176 registrations per year,” says the association’s CEO Neal Smith.
The highest totals recorded for Jersey registrations were 87,682 in 1953 and 86,395 in 1947. Yet both of those years were impacted by special circumstances, which included a fee moratorium and a backlog of work.
“It was fun to watch,” says Eric Metzger, the association’s manager of herd services. “80,000 was really a pie in the sky. But we thought, ‘Why not go for it?’”
Throughout December, the association included reminders about the drive in most of its printed and electronic communications with association members. Nine area association representatives also made phone calls and special on-farm visits to promote the registration drive. Producers responded by registering more than 12,000 cattle in December through one of the association’s three registration options, including e-mailing electronic data files to the association, mailing or faxing paper applications or registering online.
During the final week of the year, the association registered an average of 1,000 animals per day, nearly 800 more per day than they averaged throughout the rest of the year. And in the final hours of 2007, producers registered more than 500 animals online.
“Obviously, the owners of Jersey cattle see the value of having registered, identified Jerseys. Otherwise, it wouldn’t cross their minds to do this,” Metzger says. “In many cases whether the calf got registered in December or January was immaterial from an expense aspect. Knowing that we had a shot at obtaining the third-highest year in association history, they took ownership and pride in that and made it happen.”
Metzger says the year-end results show the camaraderie of association members.
“I believe this shows that our members think, ‘Hey, let’s make our breed, our association shine,’” Metzger says. “They take pride in the achievements of the organization that they are members of.”
No one part of the country responded to the drive more than another, Metzger says. Response was even throughout the country. The top five states for registrations in December were California, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively.
The association recently called 2007 the “greatest year in the history” of the breed. It also recently announced that the Jersey breed’s official 305-day yield per cow in 2007 averaged 16,539 pounds of milk, 765 pounds of fat (4.6 percent) and 591 pounds of protein (3.6 percent). PD