Four core universities are the pioneers in beef genetic evaluation and have provided objective, quantitative genetics to the beef industry for more than three decades; they include Colorado State University, Cornell University, University of Georgia and Iowa State University. Through industry and grassroots support, NBCEC was created in 2001 with Congressional authorization and federal funding. The following background provides the basis for the creation of NBCEC.
The production of high-quality, healthy and affordable beef begins by identifying the best breeding animals. For selective breeding, Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) have been the most important tool available to seedstock and commercial producers of beef cattle. Analysis of beef records for EPDs for the vast majority of seedstock cattle in the United States has occurred primarily at four universities: Colorado State University, Cornell University, University of Georgia and Iowa State University. These institutions have long histories in genetic evaluation (tracing back to the late 1970s and early 1980s) and are unique in their faculty expertise and ability to implement these programs.
The success of genetic evaluation has also been greatly influenced by the existence of an established delivery system for making EPDs readily available to all producers. This delivery system includes breed associations through their sire summaries reporting EPDs, and AI organizations and seedstock producers through their dissemination of superior genetics based on EPDs. Evidence for successful use of EPDs is the marked genetic trends for economically important traits. The ability to influence the genetics of U.S. beef cattle has enhanced the competitiveness of beef production both domestically and globally. Historically, this highly effective production and delivery chain has been a grassroots effort, funded almost entirely by the beef breed organizations.
NBCEC officially began July 1, 2001 with funding from a Special Research Grant authorized by Congress and administered through Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. The leadership of NBCEC, coupled with the industry’s historical commitment to advancing beef genetics, has provided the U.S. beef industry with reliable EPDs for more than 30 years.