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December 9, 2003

ABGA awarded $35,000 grant for National Genetic Evaluation Program.

SAN ANGELO - Expected Progeny Differences or EPDs have been available within several cattle breeds for years. Boer goat breeders will soon have the same tool thanks to the Boer Goat Improvement Network or "B-GIN" (pronounced "begin"), a genetic improvement program being developed by the American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) with assistance from Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

"This new program being implemented by the ABGA is the first of its kind within the U.S. meat goat industry," said Dr. Dan Waldron TAES geneticist here. "EPDs provide measurable estimates of the genetic value of an animal as a parent. This program will make a real difference for U.S. goat producers in terms of selecting breeding stock for specific measurable traits."

The ABGA was recently awarded $35,000 by the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center to fund the program.

Robert Swize, ABGA’s executive director, said the program has the potential to change the U.S. meat goat industry by making use of the same genetic improvement methods that have been so successful in other species. "Breeders across the U.S. will soon be able to get EPDs on their animals to use as an aid in selecting breeding stock," he said. "ABGA members from across the U.S. will collect the performance information needed to help breeders make genetic improvement. This will result in animals that are documented to be genetically superior for growth and reproduction being available to all goat producers."

"Through the combination of performance records and pedigree records, we will be able to have a valid comparison of animals in Texas, Kentucky, California, or any other state. The ABGA is fortunate to have the Texas A&M faculty available to help us develop this very valuable resource."

Waldron said the program will give purebred Boer breeders and commercial goat producers an important tool to improve the genetic merit of their herds. "Selecting more productive animals will lead to increased efficiency of production," said Waldron. "Using EPDs to select breeding stock gives producers the ability to predict how next year’s kid crop will perform."

"The ABGA breeders took the initiative and came to me for help in developing this program last winter. This grant will help the ABGA to make faster progress toward the availability of EPDs." Waldron said commercial goat producers will ultimately benefit from the B-GIN program because they will be able to buy bucks that will produce predictable results in the coming year’s kid crop.


Ph: (325) 486-ABGA (2242)   
Fax: (325)486-2637

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