I have been told by Cattlemen in Ethiopia and Peru: "We had rather lose a child than to lose a cow. We can have more children." What a startling statement and point of view! However, it is a fact. If they lose a child, they probably can have another one. But, if they lose a cow, they may very well lose all their children--their entire family may die! That is how important cattle are to those living in poverty and whose total livelihood is dependent on the production from 3-10 head of cattle. One of the best ways we can help them is to help improve their cattle genetics and management practices so that they can be more productive with what they have.
The world knows that the quality and safety of U.S. beef and dairy products are unsurpassed. Nobody provides a better product that is raised more humainly, effectively or efficiently and that takes care of the environment better than the American Cattlemen and Dairymen. Our goal is to share that knowlege and expertise to help other Cattlemen around the world to be better trained and equipped to feed and provide for themselves, which opens the doors for us to share the Gospel and the love of Christ Jesus with them in the process. This approach breaks the cycles of both physical and spiritual poverty in ways that are self sustainable by the people we train.
We have trained Cattlemen and Agricultural University Professors in such topics as cattle management, animal husbandry, nutrition, soil conservation, water purification, pasture management, parasite control, vaccination protocol, castration, trait selection, reproductive physiology, artificial insemination, embryo recovery and transfer, and other topics to help them improve their cattle genetics and management practices. This training is critically important, especially where the entire livlihood of families are totally dependent on the production from the 3-10 cows that are their most valued possessions.
To facilitate our training and to provide genetic material to help improve herd genetics, with the help of our Corporate Sponsors we have already exported over 12,000 straws of Angus semen, 250 straws of Brahman semen and 250 straws of Holstein semen that have the potential to drastically improve the productivity of the cattle herds within a short period of time. We also exported 12 liquid nitrogen tanks, over 100 AI guns, several ET guns, cases of sheaths, straws for freezing embryos, gloves, tweezers, straw cutters, CIDRs, thaw units, thermometers, canes, drugs, lubricant, AI and ET manuals & CDs. Everything we needed to successfully train the cattlemen during our training events, we take with us. We also leave a sufficient quantity behind to continue to facilitate the work long after we were gone, enabling them to become self supporting so that they can place future orders of supplies from our Corp. Sponsors and semen, embryos and cattle from U.S. producers.
In 2009 we took our first Cattle for Christ team of Cattlemen to Peru where we trained 50 students in all of the above mentioned subjects. 35 students were there for Artificial Insemination (AI) training and 15 for Embryo Recovery and Transfer (ET) training. We also worked together with the faculty of the Vet School of the University of LaMolina and two other institutions that were planning to open Vet Schools. These faculty members learned and/or perfected their skills during the training and they assisted us in every way they could with facilities and instructors. Just another example of what Cattlemen and Dairymen can do when we work together--even across cultural and geographical barriers.
In 2011, we took our second Cattle for Christ team of Cattlemen to Peru. This time we worked at the Cattle Reproductive Center in Calzada, Peru. During this training event, we trained 60 students in the various topics previously mentioned. 15 of them attended the AI training and 45 attended the ET training. With the help of Dr. Sam Edwards of Harrogate Genetics Inc. in TN, we flushed 16 donors. Many of the embryos were transferred into recips and the remainder were frozen. We set up a lab with 6 microscopes and provided extensive training in searching for and grading embryos. The Peruvian staff who worked with us also taught pregnancy checking by ultrasound and other topics. We also translated the International Embryo Recovery and Transfer Manual into Spanish for these events and made it available to students in CD format.
Probably the greatest impact of this training was the spiritual impact on the lives of everyone involved; the U.S. Cattlemen and Dairymen serving on the teams and the students who attended the training events. We started every morning and afternoon sessions with Bible devotions, testimonies, worship and prayer. On Wednesday nights we had worship, testimonies, prayer time and Bible studies. We did the same on Sundays. The last meeting we were together, we shared Communion wtih the students and gave them all a Bible and allowed them to share whatever they wanted to. Almost without exception, the students professed a new found faith in Jesus Christ. You could see on their faces the transformation that had already taken place in their hearts.
At the closing ceremonies for the students, which were also attended by USDA representatives, local and regional Government officials, and the Peruvian Dept of Agriculture, some of their comments were: "We came here not knowing Jesus and not knowing how to AI our cattle. We are going home with both!" "In our country, we have seen many missionaries, come and go. Not only have you changed our view about missionaries, but you have changed our view about Americans!" One of the most educated and influential ET students made this comment: "Some of us have paid a lot of money to attend ET training where all we got was a lecture. You have come here, charged us nothing, and have provided hands on training that I do not think will ever be matched. You taught us in ways that showed us you cared about us. You planted seeds of knowledge in our minds, but most importantly, you planted seeds in our hearts, and for that we are most grateful!"
Cattle for Christ has been invited by several countries to provide this training for their cattlemen. However, cattle will not work everywhere. Because the costs of conducting this training and the investments made by our Corporate Sponsors who donate most of the supplies and equipment are so extensive, we only conduct these events where the benefits can be realized and sustained. However, there are many places we could do more of this training that would greatly benefit the people, but we cannot due to a lack of funding. That is why we need more U.S. Cattlemen, Dairymen, Farmers and Christians to be involved financially in our work.
Most recently, Glenn traveled to Uganda to observe Children's ministry that Cattle for Christ is funding there. He also spent a week with the Dean of the Vet Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio Security at Makerere University in Kampala. They toured various cattle farms, met with the Dairy Improvement Board, the Beef Producer's Improvement Union and other cattle related industry leaders to see how Cattle for Christ can best help improve Ugandan cattle and dairy genetics and management practices. We determined that the best place to start was to import U.S. beef and dairy embryos and provide training on embryo transfer. This will allow the Ugandan cattlemen to produce purebred herd bulls that can be turned out to begin scientific research on which breeds work best on the native breeds and in their environment. It will also help to determine to what degree crossbreeding will work and what the benefits will be of each breed and percentage. We are working now to coordinate the training event and to collect the needed beef and dairy embryos of various breeds that we will ship for the training tentatively scheduled for later in 2017. If you would like to donate exportable embryos for this project, please contact us as soon as possible.
In the next few months, we will also be looking at doing other cattle genetic improvment training events in West Africa and India.