Every day we are actively researching and creating articles that we believe followers of The Bullvine will benefit from reading. Then, every December, we take an enjoyable look back to see which Bullvine articles were the ones we felt resonated most with our readers. Here are our top 12 from 2016. They were arrived at with a little bit of head counting but also by including that indefinable something that made 2016 a year we think was best defined by the word “more”. Please enjoy this look back, as you prepare to continue your dairy journey into 2017. We hope you will agree that each one has something more to offer.
#12. Dairy Cattle Show Photographs Are Not Free
When choosing only 12 articles, it’s easiest to start with ones that come instantly to mind. In this case, let’s start the 2016 selections off with an article that illustrates a little more of the tough love that The Bullvine is known for. In 2016 we continued to break new ground in providing more and better coverage for the dairy industry and that meant putting great pictures right alongside our interviews, analysis and behind the scenes coverage. The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” was proven to be true over and over again. At the same time, it was also true that those pictures are not free and having them stolen or misrepresented was something their increasing popularity meant that The Bullvine had to defend against.
#11. The Winds of Change Are Blowing Hard
Death and taxes are often named as the only two things we can be absolutely certain about. In 2016, political change became such a certainty that it became almost normal to hear on a daily basis about some previously unheard of situation arising as accusations, scandals and upheaval rocked the leadership and elections of more than one country around the world. Although we would sometimes like to run for cover, the dairy industry is not immune to change. In this article, we called for the courage necessary to face change. “Breeders will need state-of-the-art animal and herd improvement services. The vision and actions of breeder and industry leaders are critical. Advancement will occur even if current organizations do not adopt and adapt the future technologies and systems.”
#10. Genetic Evaluation Reviews and Highlights
The Busy Dairy Breeder’s Guide to the December 2016 US Genetic Evaluations
The repercussions from the United States election are far from settled. We are learning far more than we ever thought we needed to know about methods of analysis and how much we can rely on statistics, trends or advertising slogans. With much less drama and challenge, the dairy industry has been steadily moving forward with regular genetic evaluations and proof reviews. This type of information service would not usually rank high on an “editor’s choice” list of published articles, but in 2016 they asserted themselves as a worthy tool for making informed decisions and The Bullvine analysis of the highlights are welcomed, discussed and acted upon by breeders seeking to be on the leading edge. Here are two that provided “more” analysis.
#9. Genomic Testing Discovers New Cow Family
Everyone loves to hear success stories. Even better we love to hear stories that seem to beat the odds in some way. That is the story of Alexerin Dairy and Oman 993 who can best be described as every breeder’s dream. By using genomic testing, Alexerin Dairy found that they had a breed outlier who’s DGVs exceeded her pedigree index by an astronomical amount. The Bullvine headline read “Genomic Testing Discovers New Cow Family.” The outstanding result was not expected, maybe even unusual. However, getting results from hard work, focused breeding, and a clear vision are the keys to Alexerin’s success. You simply can’t ask for more!
#8. An Open Letter to All Dairy Farmers
Sometimes being an industry information provider means taking an unpopular position. Such is the case with #8 on our Editor’s Choice list. The article was an open letter which began, “To the hard-working dairy farmers who get up before dawn every day so that the rest of us can enjoy wholesome, healthy milk on our cereal and in our morning coffees, “Please sell your cows!” This call to action arose from simple fact that production is far outstripping consumption, even though the world’s population is growing. Sometimes facing more challenges means being able to say “Goodbye!”
#7. Gen Com Live Stream and Holstein World Conference Video
Why NOT to Crossbreed – 2016 Holstein World Conference Video
Sometimes it’s simply too hard to choose only one representative from many that were presented. Such is the case when it came to new ways that The Bullvine is expanding beyond the written word. The live streaming of the Gen Com Crown of Roses Sale brought immediacy to Bullvine coverage. In the same way, when The Bullvine presented real time video of the Holstein World Conference, hosted in Argentina, it marked another step forward in news that was relevant, in real time and accessible to an audience that otherwise would be limited to after the fact, word only reporting.
#6. Stud Wars Episode IV the Force Grows Stronger
What started as The Battle for A.I. Supremacy back in July 2013, has seen many changes in the power struggle when it comes to sire lineups. Many of the smaller A.I. units have been purchased by larger genetic players, and the rate of change has accelerated considerably. This Bullvine article provided more behind the scenes perspective on who is coming out on top and who is falling behind in the genetics race.
#5 The Subtle Art of Not Caring What Everyone Thinks
We all enjoy popularity and The Bullvine is energized whenever those times occur. The danger is that in seeking more approval we might be losing more relevance. The goal is to provide what breeders and readers need. It’s not a popularity contest. That’s why #5 for 2015 highlights the article Andrew produced about being true to one’s own vision despite resistance or challenges. “Those times I have not given in have made all the difference. Since starting The Bullvine, I have tested my ability to keep the eye on the ultimate goal and not care what people think about us, but rather understand what we are trying to achieve. As we enter our fifth year, I am very proud of the work we have done and the actions we have taken, because it has led us to the position we are at today. A voice for breeders during uncertain times.” Perhaps less comfortable. Definitely opening The Bullvine to more criticism and controversy.
#4 Introducing The Bullvine All-North American Awards
As we look back we move from not caring what everyone thinks of us to an article that is very concerned about what our readers care about. With a five year developing tradition of not pulling any punches, The Bullvine never shies away from finding ways to put more thought and action into one of the most passionate areas of the dairy industry – namely, the recognition of animals that represent “the best of the best”. In 2016 that meant more innovation from the editor of The Bullvine. In his own words he wrote, “There is no question that North America has some of the greatest show cattle in the world. They have All-Canadian awards and All-American awards, but those are little more than sales tool for two print magazines. Their nomination processes leave most people scratching their heads and the results are pretty much just a rubber stamp of the results from World Dairy Expo and The Royal. So, in order truly find out who are the best in North America, the Bullvine is excited to announce the All-North American Awards.” The result was even more than we expected.
#3. More Ways to Communicate and Connect
Throughout the year, we inaugurated new ways to get our stories in front of our dairy industry peers (i.e. Live streaming. See #7). We are convinced that one of the best ways to learn how to improve our herds, dairy operations and the dairy industry happens, when we can learn from those who have found ways to reach the success we are aiming for. The Bullvine was honored to interview individuals, breeders and companies that are finding more and better ways to move the dairy industry forward. These are the leaders we want to emulate.
The next two stories brought so much more to all of us than mere words can convey. These final two selections on our 2015 editor’s choice list rise to first place because they affect us at every level of our passion for dairy cattle. They are stories about people. They are stories about courage in the face of adversity. They are stories about digging deep to set goals, live passionately and achieve dreams.
#2 Inspirational Little Girl and a Medical Miracle
This is a story of heroes, courage and medical miracles. Reese Burdette celebrated her 9th birthday at home after almost two years in Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where she was recovering from the severe burns she suffered in a fire at her grandparents’ home over Memorial Day weekend in 2014. There will be much to celebrate for the Burdette family and caregivers. “Reese’s treatment will soon be featured in medical journals. It is discussed already at conferences about the machines that supported her heart and lungs as they healed. She spent longer with ventricular assistance than any other known patient.” Reese loves the farm and her favorite Holstein calf and set an astounding example of giving everything to an almost insurmountable task because of her desire to get back to those places and times. Her dedicated doctors, who joined her extended family, were constantly amazed and reported that. “She persevered and succeeded at everything we asked of her.” May more wonderful benchmarks continue on her journey to health and happiness at home!
Reese Burdette: An Inspirational Little Girl and a Medical Miracle is Going Home
#1 There are MORE IMPORTANT Things in Life Than a Cow Show
Take a lesson from Logan Chalack and use your strength to live well and be an inspiration to others. It certainly reminded all of us all that there are more important things in life than a cow show, but also how a cow show can certainly help in the healing process. Logan Chalack passed away on June 28, 2016 at the age of 32 years. As with Reese Burdette, Logan was not defeated by fear of the future but was totally focused on what is possible in the present.
The Bullvine Bottom Line for 2016
More international. More connected. More relevant. Here at The Bullvine we have thoroughly enjoyed giving more effort to achieving those goals in 2016. Please accept our heartfelt thanks to you, our readers, for being with us during another wonderful year. We are looking forward to 2017 and hope you continue to share our passion for, commitment to and active pursuit of excellence in the dairy industry.
May your holiday season be filled with more special memories and together let’s continue wanting and achieving “MORE” in the New Year!
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