Have a specific question about U.S. livestock genetics and its export or import? Scott Jensen, an Extension Educator with the University of Idaho, will track down the information that you need.

How do I select the best cattle to improve my beef breeding program?

Selection begins with an honest assessment of where your cattle are currently in terms of the performance measures that are important to you. Do you want to increase weaning or yearling weights? Do you need to improve end-carcass quality? Is calving difficulty a problem in your herd? What are your goals for improvement? Once you determine where your cattle  currently are in relation to your goals, you will have some direction to guide selection of breeding stock. You can then look for sires that excel in the traits that you want to improve. A word of caution: Avoid any single-trait selection as it can lead to unintended consequences. For example, focus solely on increasing weaning weight will likely cause an increase in birth weight. Any selection decisions should be balanced to consider all important traits. The use of selection indexes can aid in this balance.

Category: Dairy, Beef
How do you read the information on a straw of U.S. bull semen?

The straw has the bull’s name with country and registration number. For example, USA3205704153 RMD-DOTTERER SSI GAMEDAY-ET is the bull’s registration number and registered name. Additionally, the straw has a National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) uniform code that includes AI source organization (stud or marketing organization), bull breed, and bull identification (ID) number within source organization. In this example, the NAAB code is 7HO15167. The number 7 is the  stud code for Select Sires, HO is the breed code for Holstein, and 15167 is the bull ID number assigned by NAAB. Straws with a CSS stamp have been processed according to the strict quality and biosecurity requirements of NAAB's Certified Semen Services. More complete information regarding the information on the straw can be found at Additionally you can find a database that contains the codes for each AI source organization.

Category: Ruminants, Germplasm
Are there any short courses offered on cattle handling or optimizing pastures?

Faculty at many U.S. agricultural universities offer classes on cattle handling, optimizing pastures, artificial insemination (AI), and other topics. For example, Extension faculty at the University of Idaho offer the Lost Rivers Grazing Academy each year, which is a national award-winning pasture management program. They also offer classes in beef quality assurance, which often includes proper handling, and AI courses are taught annually. If you have an interest in attending specific training, please email me ( with details, and I will connect you with Extension faculty in the United States that can meet your needs.

Category: Swine