The American Milking Shorthorn Society recently held its National Convention in Dublin, Ohio just on the outskirts of Columbus. The event took years of planning for the Ohio Milking Shorthorn Association that hosted the event.
“We tried to plan a convention that would interest all of our members. We toured Select Sires. We got to see some of the great bulls they offer and learn about their history. We took a trip to the Columbus Zoo too,” said Casey Weiss, president of the Ohio Milking Shorthorn Society. “We had the National Junior Heifer Show at the Franklin County fairgrounds for their first national qualifying show of the year. It was almost like a practice run for the county and state fairs. Then we had the National Sale on Saturday where 50 to 60 of the best Milking Shorthorns in the nation were sold.”
The Milking Shorthorn breed does not have large numbers, but fills a unique role in the dairy industry.
“Our herds are smaller but more stable than other larger production breeds at this point. A lot of our membership has a large number of Holsteins, for example, and then a few milking shorthorns sprinkled in almost to the point of where the Milking Shorthorns are a hobby. We do have a large number of these animals spread throughout the country in small herds. There is a bit of optimism now because they are popular as 4-H or show animals. Once people get one or two in the herd they are contagious and they end up with a herd of 40 or 50 of them,” Weiss said. “The prices are challenging. Everyone is trying to cut their costs as much as they can while still trying to maintain some level of profitable production. Many Milking Shorthorns are sold for show animals so there is a lot of demand for our females and show age calves. So, during these trying times, we are able to get a premium on some of our breeding stock.”