The First Angus in America
When George Grant transported four Angus bulls from Scotland to the middle of the Kansas Prairie in 1873, they were part of the Scotsman's dream to found a colony of wealthy, stock-raising Britishers. Grant died five years later, and many of the settlers at his Victoria, Kansas, colony later returned to their homeland. However, these four Angus bulls, probably from the herd of George Brown of Westertown, Fochabers, Scotland, made a lasting impression on the U.S. cattle industry.
When two of the George Grant bulls were exhibited in the fall of 1873 at the Kansas City (Missouri) Livestock Exposition, some considered them "freaks" because of their polled (naturally hornless) heads and solid black color (Shorthorns were then the dominant breed.) Grant, a forward thinker, crossed the bulls with native Texas longhorn cows, producing a large number of hornless black calves that survived well on the winter range. The Angus crosses wintered better and weighed more the next spring, the first demonstration of the breed's value in their new homeland.
Early Importers and Breeders
The first great herds of Angus beef cattle in America were built up by purchasing stock directly from Scotland. Twelve hundred cattle alone were imported, mostly to the Midwest, in a period of explosive growth between 1878 and 1883. Over the next quarter of a century these early owners, in turn, helped start other herds by breeding, showing, and selling their registered stock.
The American Angus Association
The American Aberdeen-Angus Breeders' Association (name shortened in 1950s to American Angus Association) was founded in Chicago, Illinois, on November 21, 1883, with 60 members. The growth of the Association has paralleled the success of the Angus breed in America.
In the first century of operation, more than 10 million head were recorded. The Association records more cattle each year then any other beef breed association, making it the largest beef breed registry association in the world.
The Simmental is among the oldest and most widely distributed of all breeds of cattle in the world. Although the first herd book was established in the Swiss Canton of Berne in 1806, there is evidence of large, productive red and white cattle found much earlier in ecclesiastical and secular property records of western Switzerland. These red and white animals were highly sought because of their "rapid growth development; outstanding production of milk, butter, and cheese; and for their use as draught animals." they were known for their imposing stature and excellent dairy qualities.
There are reports from a variety of sources indicating that Simmental cattle arrived in the United States before the turn of the century. Simmental were reported as early as 1887 in Illinois, according to one source; in 1895 in New Jersey; and in both New York and New Mexico around the 1916 to 1920 period. An ad in an 1896 issue of the Breeder's Gazette, published in Chicago, also made reference to "Simmenthal" cattle. However, those early imports did not capture the attention of the American cattleman and the Simmental influence died quietly away until the late 1960s
The amazing growth of Simmental cattle in North America escalated in 1968 and is really a reflection of what had already occurred in most agricultural countries of the world. Presently, the American Simmental Association registered about 80,000 cattle annually into the Simmental and Simbrah herdbooks. The Association ranks among the top four of the U.S. beef breed associations in annual registrations.