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National Association of Animal Breeders Announces 2018 Awards



Myron Czech receiving the 2018 NAAB Member Director Award from NAABChairman of the Board, Chuck Sattler.

The 2018 NAAB Member Director Awardee is Myron Czech. Czech has exhibited leadership ability and commitment to the development of the A.I. industry for the past 27 years. He is a founding member of the Minnesota Select Sires Cooperative (1986), having served 26 years as a board member, as a multiple-term President of Minnesota Select Sires, a 15-year board member for Select Sires Inc. spending 9 years as an executive officer presiding over one of the strongest growth periods in company history, and service to other dairy breeding industry organizations as well.

Myron Czech from Little Falls, MN graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1980 and started a career in dairying on his home farm, Pike Hills Dairy, with 23 cows. Myron, with wife Debbie, son Brent and daughter Micki (also U of MN graduates) still actively operate a much larger Pike Hills Dairy operation as he also purchased and expanded two other existing dairy operations in the area called New Heights Dairy. Combined, the Czech family dairy operations total over 3,100 cows. They also operate and manage the crop production for feeding the dairy cows and heifers on over 3,000 acres in central Minnesota. Along with overseeing these operations, Myron has been very involved in many leadership activities in the community and cattle industry, including: Morrison County DHIA- Board of Directors; Minnesota Holstein Association-Board of Directors and Board Officer and World-Wide Sires Board of Directors, 2013-2016.

Myron was instrumental in the formation and development of Minnesota Select Sires Cooperative Inc. Initially, he was a delegate working with the formation of the cooperative in 1985. In 1989, he was elected by the membership in District 2 to the Board of Directors and served on the Minnesota Select Sires Board until 2016. During that time, he helped lead the cooperative to significant increases in sales growth revenue and market share. Myron also served as a board officer as Vice President from 1996 to 1998 and from 1998 to 2000 he was President of the Board.

In March 2000, Myron Czech was elected to the Select Sires Inc. Board of Directors, serving for 15 years including 2nd and 1st Vice Chairman and then Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2013 to 2016. Myron served on the Farm and Building Committee, the Aggressive Reproductive Technologies Committee, the Pension Committee, and the Finance Committee through his tenure. A major accomplishment was his work on establishing the Aggressive Reproductive Technologies Committee in 2008 to allow Select Sires to embrace genomics and be a leader in the adaptation of genomic technologies for the industry.

During his term as Select Sires, Inc. Chairman, he led the organization through one of the strongest growth periods in its history, growing 2.4 million doses in 3 years. He led the expansion of the organization through the construction of important new facilities and acquisitions. He also presided over the redrafting of Select Sires Bylaws, Articles of lncorporation and Federation Membership Agreements. His work as chairman revolutionized Select Sires' ability to grow and expand to meet the growing needs of dairy and beef producers worldwide. Out of appreciation and respect, his fellow board members elected him to a non-voting position, “Advisor at Large”, following the conclusion of his term.

For his accomplishments, Myron was chosen as the first recipient of the University of Minnesota, Golden Graduate Award, established to honor alumni for making outstanding contributions to the dairy industry. Myron's significant contributions through his service to the dairy industry, Select Sires, and NAAB make him a very worthy recipient of the NAAB Member Director Award.




Dr. J. Richard Pursley receiving the 2018 NAAB Research Award from NAAB Board Chairman, Chuck Sattler.

The 2018 NAAB Research Award recipient is Dr. Richard Pursley. Dr. Pursley earned a B.S. in Dairy Production and M.S. in Reproductive Physiology from Kansas State University, followed by a Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his Ph.D. training, Dr. Pursley co-developed with Dr. Milo Wiltbank what is now the world’s most widely used ovulation synchronization protocol called "Ovsynch". According to Hoard's Dairyman, Ovsynch is one of the best and most economical timed AI programs ever developed for the dairy industry. In 2007, the impact of Dr. Pursley's research and extension programs was recognized as one of four USDA-CSREES projects (selected from 400) with the greatest impact in U.S. agriculture. Dr. Pursley's seminal 1995 paper on Ovsynch was listed recently as one of the 100 most influential science papers you should read before you die (no. 7 in all reproductive biology). The Ovsynch technology caused a paradigm shift in applied reproductive research in dairy and beef cattle. Since the original paper, a significant number of applied reproductive papers presented each year at the American Dairy Science Association have dealt with Ovsynch technology.

Pursley has dairy farmer "roots" and a long-term commitment to extensive dissemination of the results of his research and extension approaches to the dairy industry that together have improved fertility in dairy cows. His extension presentations and Bovine Reproduction and Education (BRED) programs on dairy cattle reproduction have directly educated over 3000 dairy veterinarians representing an estimated 4,000,000 dairy cows.

Dr. Pursley has also garnered more than $4,000,000 in intramural and extramural grants; an impressive accomplishment. Professor Pursley emphasizes modern and in-depth training for his graduate and undergraduate students and visiting scientists, which is critical for the future development of next generation of animal scientists.

He has numerous publications and has given 349 invited and extension presentations during his 21-year career at Michigan State University, coupled with his extensive record of internal and external service. He has been an external tenure evaluator at various universities, on editorial boards, reviewer for several scientific journals and USDA NIFA proposals and has been involved with various USDA Regional Research Projects. He also continues to serve on numerous Michigan State committees including mentoring young faculty in his Department.

His original research idea was to utilize Ovsynch as a model to better understand the principles of improving fertility of lactating dairy cows. His research established that Ovsynch could be used to control follicle and corpus luteum function to enhance the success of fixed-time AI. His subsequent published work demonstrated that a pre-synchronization program for Ovsynch (G6G), enhanced fertility by controlling follicle age, size and function through the strategic use of GnRH. This research helped "pave the way" to a greater understanding of critical markers for fertility of cattle.

It’s been stated that Dr. Pursley's discoveries related to timed AI of dairy cattle resulted in the most significant adoption of an applied reproductive technology that enhances AI use in the history of the dairy industry. He has also reached a multitude of followers with an innovative website that put his outreach programs at the leading edge of today's extension efforts. His nationwide workshops and stimulating website illustrate his ability to reach people in multiple ways. Once one sees his two animated cows "Blaze N Star" talk about reproduction, it is easy to see why his extension innovations have been so successful. Dr. Pursley's educational and outreach efforts in Michigan, the U.S. and beyond are remarkable and have reached dairy farmers in almost every region of the world. His train-the-trainer seminars, workshops for veterinarians and consultants and on-line websites have been impactful and effective.

Dr. Richard Pursley is an excellent scientist and has worked in other areas including superovulation, oocyte development, and male and female fertility in cattle. His current work on the role of progesterone in fertility of dairy cattle has contributed to the understanding of how to further improve Ovsynch and manipulate the reproductive cycle to improve conception rates in dairy cattle.

Pursley's entire life has been focused on the dairy cow. It began with his first 4-H project and continued when he was a dairy farmer. His experience growing up on a farm, owning a farm, and managing his farm instilled an indelible framework for his career. His first-hand experience with the dairy industry ensured he would better understand the significance of the issues linked to it in his 21-year academic career as an Extension Dairy Specialist at Michigan State University. Due to his well-established and instrumental role in developing, improving and explaining how to use Ovsynch technology, critical to the enhancement of AI outcomes, he is very worthy to receive the 2018 NAAB Research Award.




2018 NAAB Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Gordon A. Doak, who has recently retired as the President of NAAB, receiving his award from NAAB Board Chairman, Chuck Sattler.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual that has made a significant contribution to the furtherance of the artificial insemination industry. The 2018 recipient is Dr. Gordon A. Doak. A native of Cameron, Missouri, Gordon earned a B.S. in Agriculture, an M.S. in Dairy Science and Ph.D. degree in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Certified Semen Services was established in 1976 as a NAAB subsidiary and Dr. Gordon A. Doak was hired to be the first Service Director of CSS and Technical Director of NAAB. CSS was a novel concept of industry self-regulation to help unify procedures and protect the end user, to avoid potential government regulation, to enhance confidence in the AI industry and to establish inspection authority of participating AI businesses. It was a unique approach in a changing industry. Early success was important and Doak effectively carried out the CSS programs during this early and critical stage. He literally started this national audit program from a blank sheet. CSS grew under Doak’s tenure to include most of the AI semen production centers in the U.S. During his tenure as Service Director and later under his leadership as President of NAAB and CSS, CSS established itself as the standard bearer for the U.S. cattle breeding industry. Initially CSS dealt with semen and bull identification and later encompassed sire health, AI center animal management and semen quality control. As NAAB Technical Director, Gordon administered the NAAB Uniform Coding program and, also worked closely with the Research, Technical and Sire Health and Management committees among others.

Doak began his role as President of NAAB and CSS in 1988. He managed the staff and programing for the trade association during a period of tremendous growth and technology change. Semen sales for NAAB members in 1988 were just over 20 million units. In 2017, NAAB member sales exceeded 57 million units. This represents growth of 184% during his tenure. While there were numerous technology developments and challenges in the industry during this time, two major advancements stand out. The introduction of sexed semen and the use of genomic evaluations had a dramatic impact on the industry. Doak and NAAB were involved with the development of both. These technology advances are key contributors to the industry’s growth but also were very disruptive. Through his steady leadership, Doak successfully guided the trade association through these periods of great change and enabled the industry to move forward in a systematic and orderly fashion.

Some of Doak’s greatest contributions are arguably his efforts in opening and growing international markets for U.S. exports. Doak worked tirelessly with USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services and FAS officials as well as making numerous international trips to work with government officials in other countries to open and maintain markets for U.S. cattle semen. Doak worked to obtain approximately $350,000 of funding annually from various government programs to promote the export of U.S. livestock genetics. U.S. exports of cattle semen by NAAB members now total over $175 million per year. As President Emeritus, Doak has supported a variety of activities. He currently serves on the Interbull Steering Committee and just completed a term as Director for the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding.

Gordon Doak has provided distinguished and dedicated service to NAAB and CSS for 42 years. For 30 of those years, he served the Association as its highest officer. His steady demeanor and solid business sense has allowed the Association to steadily grow and earn the respect and credibility of industry partners, U.S. government agencies and international government officials.

We thank Dr. Gordon Doak for his many years of faithful service to the National Association of Animal Breeders, Certified Semen Services and the Artificial Insemination industry.

Congratulations Gordon!

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