The American Jersey Cattle Association at 130:
An Historical Review
Omnis Pecuniae Pecus Fundamentum
If your copy of the "Jersey Directory" is at hand, pause for a moment and pick it up. Flip it over, so that its back side faces you.
There you will find printed these words, the motto of The American Jersey Cattle Club, now Association. Translated from the Latin by Thomas J. Hand, the first Treasurer, second President, and second Secretary of the AJCC, the phrase reads, "The herd is the foundation of all wealth."
It is attributed to Scrofa, a master farmer addressing an assembly of agriculturalists in ancient Rome. Asked to comment upon the significance of "pastoral science," owing to his expertise and success, he advised his audience to attend to "caring for and feeding the herd in order that the greatest profits may be taken from it, . . . for the herd is the foundation of all wealth."
R. M. Gow, the fifth Secretary of our association, tells us that there were 6.4 million dairy cattle in the United States in 1850. "The (cows) then used for milk production were a nondescript collection of scrubs varying but little either in type or ability to produce. . . . (W)hen Jerseys first entered the field of dairying in the United States, (t)heir appearance on the scene brought a new conception of cows. The Jersey was the pioneer in awakening the desire for better dairying stock . . . Wherever the milk of the Jersey cow was seen, whether in a pitcher, crock or pan, the cream that rose to the surface proclaimed her superiority" (The Jersey, 1936, p. 467).
The pioneers of the AJCC were men of remarkable business acumen and it can be no accident that the statement, Omnis pecuniæ pecus fundamentum, was selected as the organization's motto. The economy of Rome centered upon the care and feeding of the bovine. Pecus (cattle) is the root of the Latin word for wealth, pecunia. Convinced of the superiority of the cattle from Jersey, and dedicated to improving animal agriculture, their selection of this motto was designed to remind American farmers of the ancient equation of one's holdings in cattle with financial security. Improve the cattle, the phrase implied, and prosperity will follow.
The radical notion that the AJCC pioneers introduced was record keeping.
In order to help all Jersey owners care better for their herds, the pioneers crafted an independent organization to specialize in pedigree recording--the first of its kind in the United States. To be able to take the greatest profits from the herd, they knew, it would be necessary to study and use records of ancestry. Pedigrees would be the first tool of selection. With pedigree information, the herd owner could identify the most desirable among the herd and perpetuate their bloodlines. In the same fashion, the least desirable among the herd could be eliminated.
Always working from its central function--identification--this Jersey organization became an association of and for the stakeholders in the Jersey cow, the people who depend upon Jersey genetics for their prosperity.
These articles survey the history of the American Jersey Cattle Association by chronicling its major functions. The intent is not simply to recount what has happened. Rather, the aim is to use that history as a springboard for considering how the AJCA can assist Jersey owners take the greatest profits from their herds--not just today, but for another 130 years of tomorrows.
Let us begin.
To Improve and Promote The Breed
For The Publication of A Herd Book
To Promote By Issuing Information
Taking The Measure of The Breed
Proving The Dairy Quality of The Jersey
To Promote The Sale of Jersey Products (includes material not previously published)
To Advocate The Use of Jersey Cows
To Improve and Expand Services Provided
Toward Scientific Methods of Breeding
To Assess The Vigor of Young Bulls
An Event for Breeders Large and Small
To Find Better Markets For Jerseys
And Those Who Will Continue Its Work
Articles in the series, The American Jersey Cattle Association at 130, were published in Jersey Journal from December, 1998 through December, 1999. All rights reserved. Reprints in part or whole only with written permission of the American Jersey Cattle Association. Please request detailed information for bibliographic citation of these articles.
Equity: A Milk Pricing Revolution Achieved (March, 2001)
On Stage and Back Stage at the All American (50th Anniversary, October 2002)
Proclaiming the Greatness of the Jersey Cow: The Jersey Journal at 50 (October 2003)
Seed Money to Discover Jersey Differences (40th Anniversary, AJCC Research Foundation, July 2007)