Purpose & Objectives of NJSGA
The National Junior Santa Gertrudis Association (NJSGA) works to improve the quality of the Santa Gertrudis breed by developing the cooperation, responsibility and leadership of America’s youth. The association encourages educational opportunities for NJSGA members, and provides increased opportunities for fellowship with others involved in the Santa Gertrudis breed and the cattle industry in general.
Attention Juniors! When you are selecting your heifers for summer shows, please make sure that they meet the minimum requirements of the Santa Gertrudis Breed Standards. Read this information fully to assist you in your selection.
2016 Officers & Directors
Casey Pitchford - Texas - At Large - President
Patrick Daniel - Arkansas - District 2 - Vice President
Reagan Ruddock - Texas - District 1 - Secretary
Will McDaniel - Georgia - At Large - Treasurer
Taylor Hampton - Missouri - At Large
Seth Lyness - Texas - District 1
Harrison Kimble - Texas - District 1
Marli Cantu - Texas - At Large
McRae Clay - Mississippi - District 3
Saige Combs - Texas - At Large
Abbie Edenfield - Florida - District 4
Whitney Fuller - Texas - District 1
Jordan Hess - Texas - District 1
Camila Cantu - Texas - District 1
2016-2017 Queen and Princess
Queen :: Taylor Terry :: Denton, Texas
Princess :: Madison Moran :: Brehnam, Texas
NJSGA is one of the top junior programs in the beef industry, with more than 400 active junior members from 14 states. It has active participation from all juniors, not only in exhibiting livestock but also in leadership contests such as public speaking, brain bowl and livestock judging.
The juniors are responsible young adults who know the meaning of competition, hard work, sportsmanship, andespecially friendship and family, and they are the future leaders of the beef industry. The experiences gained by individuals in this junior program are invaluable.
Founded in 1979, NJSGA is open to all young people under the age of 21. Members are issued a herd number, membership card, and one free subscription to the official publication of SGBI.
Junior members are entitled to all the services of SGBI, which include registration, recordkeeping, transfers, classification, grading-up program, Total Performance Program, promotion, and stock show and field day representation.
The membership is managed by its own board of directors, with five At-Large positions that are elected from the junior’s general membership. The remaining ten positions come from the districts. These districts are divided based on the membership in that area. The board is governed by the constitution and by-laws of the NJSGA.
By Camila Cantu, District 1 Representative
Genetics is known as the study of the variation of inherited characteristics such as growth or calving ease or feed efficiency. Performance is the extent to which an investment is profitable, especially in relation to other investments. Together they define genetic performance – the study of genetics combined with a profitable
investment. When selecting the proper bull to breed to yearling heifers, you want to choose a bull with good genetic performance to help achieve the most out of your herd.
The Better Beef competition held at the National Junior Heifer Show is one way the Santa Gertrudis breed exhibits how genetic performance works. The Better Bee competition is composite of four measurements, taken when cattle are one year of age. The measurements are body weight measured with a scale, and rid-eye area, fat
thickness and intramuscular fat measured with ultrasound equipment. The test evaluates three major objectives: 1) cattle reaching an appropriate weight in a short amount of time; 2) cattle that produce the most meat with the least amount of fat; and 3) cattle that have an adequate amount of marbling.
The grading system we use in the Better Beef contest is the same as the USDA grading system, which utilizes yield and quality grade. Yield grade (YG) relates to our second objective, to produce the most meat with the least amount of waste. A YG1 carcass will produce the highest percentage of boneless, closely-trimmed retail
cuts, and YG5 will produce the least. Visually, a YG1 will be a very muscular animal without much fat cover and internal fat deposits, and a YG5 will be an extremely fat-animal without much natural muscle. To estimate YG on live animals, we use the rib-eye area (Showing how muscular the animal is) and the fat thickness (Showing how fat the animal is). We strive to produce animals that are YG1 and YG2, as those carcasses have a higher dollar value.
Quality grade is mainly determined by the marbling in the carcass and relates to our third objective. USDA meat graders look at other factors such as maturity and color, but the main determinant of quality grade is intramuscular fat (marbling) in the main retail cuts. Quality grades are Prime (abundant marbling), Choice (Moderate marbling), Select (slight marbling) and Standard (practically devoid of marbling). To estimate quality grade in live animals, we look at the percent of intramuscular fat measured via an ultrasound scan. Our goal is to produce animals that will grade Choice or Prime in order to receive the premiums offered by feeders and packers. There are ways to improve the yield and quality grades in your cattle; the most efficient way is to select and breed animals that are genetically superior for carcass traits. There are other ways to improve marbling, including starting calves on feed very early and feeding with high-fat rations, but as seedstock producers, our goal should be to find and reproduce animals that can grade well naturally, while still balancing other economically important traits like fertility, efficiency and growth. In order for the Santa Gertrudis breed to remain viable and move toward selecting animals that can produce calves which will bring premiums to the ranchers who raise them.
The Better Beef contest is just one way junior members can see what bulls and heifers will help improve the genetic performance in their herds as well as in their show cattle. As Larry Garza from Edinburg, Texas states, “It also provides a baseline for the junior member so that he or she can decide to use that bloodline or change it to improve genetic performance.”
By Marlissa Cantu, District 1 Representative
Hello, fellow Santa Gertrudis breeders and members. This month, I would like to spread the word about our Donated Heifer program, which is associated with our National Junior Santa Gertrudis Heifer Show and is one of the best things we have going for our junior program.
The Santa Gertrudis breed is the only national association to donate a heifer to every class winner at our National Junior show each year (a total of 28 heifers this year). This program gives ranchers the opportunity to put some of their best-quality show heifers in the show ring, while also giving the junior members an opportunity to prove they will put their best foot forward and out a good-quality show calf in the ring.
We are fortunate that, over the years, we have has some very long standing heifer donors, including Lazy E Ranch, Double T Ranch, Wendt Ranch, Tinney Farms, Grandview Farms, Briggs Ranches, Vesper Ranch and many more ranched that have donated regularly. The Donated Heifer program asks breeders to open their hearts and give a heifer to our class winners and special class champions, and each year we are blessed with donors that generously give.
Some years, there are new Santa Gertrudis members who donate heifers and have a chance to experience the relationship that is built between the junior recipient and the heifer donor. We have also been blessed to have former junior members and their families step up and donate heifers for the program, including Pitchford Cattle Company (Darrell and Shana Pitchford), 777 Farms (Jamie Daniel), Straight Ranches (Yancy and Callie Straight), C Bar C Ranch (Bud Clark), and Urbanosky Ranch (Jerome Urbanosky and children). There are many more such generous donors in our ranks. It is truly a wonderful opportunity for both former and current junior Santa Gertrudis members to give back to the association, and we, as junior members, are very thankful and honored to have the opportunity to win genetics from our great Santa Gertrudis breeders.