CDCB Connection August 2017




Connecting with Jay Mattison


This month, CDCB Connection features insights from Jay Mattison, Chair of the CDCB Board of Directors.


In the 2016 CDCB Activity Report, you shared that CDCB is "building the next era of working together with the industry." Tell us more about the vision.
Mattison: Henry Ford used a saying as he was building the Ford Motor Company,

Coming together is a beginning,
staying together is progress,
and working together is success.

The four sectors traditionally involved with genetic and management of the U.S. dairy herd - Dairy Records Processing Centers (DRPCs), National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB), National Dairy Herd Information Association (NDHIA) and Purebred Dairy Cattle Association (PDCA) - are working together as CDCB to provide new technology and innovation. There has been a period of each sector within and across organizations getting to know each other at the CDCB table. This is the 'coming together'.

Building trust and respect across the CDCB sectors is the 'staying together' for progress. This includes serving dairy herds with existing and new management tools, genetic values and indices. Forming the CDCB to provide genetic evaluations and management benchmarks was driven by need, but staying together to address these needs has allowed new innovation (genetic traits) to be achieved and brought to dairy herds.

Dairy producers need this innovation that USDA AGIL (Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory)*, universities and commercial organizations are developing to drive advances in their dairy herds. The aspects of the CDCB and the industry working in the present and preparing for the future will allow success to continue in dairy herd and cattle management and genetics. The success being realized will in turn benefit the production of dairy protein and nutrients to feed a growing human population.


What do you see as the top CDCB priorities?

Mattison: The CDCB is coming into the next phase of operations after the transition from USDA AGIL, that of preparing and running the analysis for genetic and genomics evaluations as well as management benchmarks. The CDCB staff will continue to study and implement efficiencies in working with research organizations and the industry sectors. This will allow better data flow and distribution of results from the CDCB to the industry sectors and the end user in dairy herds. The focus will be to make continued progress for the benefit of dairy herds through genetics and management.

CDCB priorities include:

       Have an appropriate data flow in and out of the CDCB and the National Cooperator Database (which has been built and continues for the benefit of dairy herds) to enhance research and benchmarking opportunities

       Make assurances for confidentiality of individual cattle and herd data while having access and use of aggregated data voluntarily provided by dairy herds for research

       Inventory relevant genetic and dairy management research in North America, Europe and Oceania to see the broad scope

       Review research areas to avoid duplication of efforts for new traits

       Prioritize research areas to deliver results and determine whether collaboration or partnering efforts are available

       Research areas of key questions not being worked on to evaluate and determine if the area would yield beneficial results and in what timeframe

       Pursue technology and innovation for dairy herds in the USA, North America and the world to advance the production of milk and milk components

       Determine effective data capture from automated systems to be available for data analysis and knowledge

       Gain a closer alignment and cooperative environment in all dairy production sectors

These priorities are key in the continued service and research portfolio provided by the CDCB and AGIL. They deliver a leading system for dairy genetics and management that is respected for its credibility and integrity provided to the dairy industry, both domestically and internationally. These priorities can be achieved through continuing the great effort by the AGIL and CDCB staffs and the work of individuals and organizations in the U.S. dairy production system.

Data access and confidentiality is a significant challenge for any industry. How will CDCB address that?

Mattison: The Dairy Herd Information (DHI) and Dairy Records Processing Centers (DRPCs) have been working with USDA and dairy herds for over 110 years on data capture, collection, analysis and distribution of quality data and information. In recent years, other sectors and organizations have been involved in collaborating with DHI and DRPCs in the dairy cattle and herd data flow. This 110-year plus effort between DHI, DRPCs, USDA and now the CDCB continues to evolve regarding the access, confidentiality and use of quality data from dairy cattle and herds for research, genetics and herd management tools.

Dairy herd owners want the assurance that data from their cattle and herds are appropriately handled in the current flow through the DHI system including the DRPCs to the CDCB and back to the dairy herds. The collective effort of CDCB members and industry collaborators will also allow for agreements with AGIL and universities to access the data for research purposes. This is important to drive innovation and technology through the power of these data.

This time-tested and trusted system is working to keep dairy herds in-the-know about the access and use of their data while bringing more information and knowledge back to dairy herds for their decision making in genetics and management. CDCB is well on the way to continuing this success for the next 100 years.

*Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL), part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)