After over two years of discussion, industry leaders have begun to publicly share draft documents which could one day guide U.S. genetic evaluations. The first document, known as the Cooperative Agreement, details the conditions that must be met so the USDA's Agricultural Research Service can transfer the industry's national genetic database to the private sector. The Cooperative Agreement is attached as a PDF.

Dairy producers will have 29 days to comment on the Cooperative Agreement (May 7 to June 4). We have posted the 15-page document along with a one-page explanation here.

Since the Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding has no website, comments can be emailed to one of the nine voting members . . . or the four Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding officers. For your convenience, Hoard's Dairyman will also accept comments and distribute them to all the leaders.

Please note, the Cooperative Agreement is like reading the owner's manual for a tractor. The Business Agreement, which will be completed soon, has all the financial and governance details. It will be the document most breeders will want to sink their teeth into. It, too, will be posted on our website when we receive it. - The Hoard's Dairyman Editors

A message from the Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding:

USDA ARS – CDCB Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement

Available for industry input – Deadline June 4, 2012 4:00 PM Central

The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) is moving forward in the effort to continue having sustainable data flow, calculating genetic evaluations and providing management benchmarks for the US dairy industry. This involves updating a current Memorandum of Understanding that is in place between the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding and USDA Agricultural Research Service –Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory (USDA-ARS-AIPL) with a Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement (CA). This CA will help to recognize and assure:

1. Maintaining confidentiality of data voluntarily contributed to have research conducted by the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory of USDA (AIPL-USDA).

2. Access to the cooperator database of phenotypic and genomic data to calculate genetic evaluations and genomic prediction equations reflective of the dairy cattle population by contributors of data and non-contributors of data.

3. Sustainability of the data flow in and out of the national cooperative effort.

4. Providing new entrants coming to the system with data access and inclusion in genetic evaluation output.

5. Research conducted on new traits and those of economic and production significance be added for collection, analysis and distribution in the future.

6. ARS-USDA's (Agricultural Research Service) desire to have AIPL focus on research and reduce or eliminate the service component of its effort.

7. The Cooperative Agreement between AIPL and CDCB is to ensure the research efforts of AIPL have access to data needed to conduct research.

This Draft Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement between ARS and CDCB is being circulated to the dairy industry for comments and input to facilitate this effort. If you have comments, please provide them by June 4, 2012, to one of the CDCB member organizations, CDCB board of directors, members or officers listed below.

Purebred Dairy Cattle Association (PDCA) Sector
John Meyer, Holstein Association USA –
Neal Smith, American Jersey Cattle Association –
Chuck Worden, Holstein Association USA –

Dairy Records Providers (DRPs) Sector
Kent Buttars, National DHIA –
Pat Maddox, CA DHIA –
Dan Sheldon, National DHIA –

National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB)
Marj Faust, ABS/Genus –
Keith Heikes, Genex –
Bob Welper, Alta –

Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB)
Ole Meland, Chair –
Jay Mattison, Vice Chair –
Becky Payne, Secretary –
Gordon Doak, Recording Secretary –

Click to read the USDA-ARS-CDCB Cooperative Agreement

Click to read the USDA-ARS-CDCB Cooperative Agreement Notice (as printed above)

Feel free to post any comments. We ask that you use your first name and state when posting. If you would like to send an email to our editors, email