records on Highland cattle first brought to this country from Scotland are
rather obscure, due to the fact that there was no registry for them, we know
there were small importations, made from time to time. Highland cattle may have
been brought to the east coast states in the 1920s.
earliest importation on record was made by SF Biddle, consisting of three
carloads of heifers and bulls. They were unloaded at Moorcroft, Wyoming and
trailed to the Powder River. Another importation was made by Walter Hill, into
Montana, and it is descendants of this importation that have played an
important part in our present day cattle. The first four bulls and forty-five
cows in the U.S. registry are made up of these cattle and were registered by
Baxter Berry of Belvidere, South Dakota.
August 30, 1948 at the Double X Ranch of Baxter and Lyndall Berry of Belvidere,
South Dakota, a group of Highland cattle breeders met and organized the
American Scotch Highland Breeders Association. The purposes of the Association
were established: to collect, verify, preserve and publish pedigrees of Scotch
Highland cattle; to investigate and report upon doubtful or suspected
pedigrees; to arbitrate and settle disputes or questions pertaining to Scotch
Highland cattle and the breeding of same; to do all possible to protect and
sustain the validity of said breed and the pedigrees thereof; and to extend
every possible effort by means of advertising or otherwise to promote interest
in Scotch Highland cattle throughout America. Those present at this
"founders" meeting were Tom and Baxter Berry of Belvidere, SD; Paul
Berry, Norris, SD; Ray Carr, Valentine, NE; George Holmes, Decker, MT and Rank
Forbes, Henry, IL.
first officers were elected at this meeting: George Holmes, President; Baxter
Berry, Vice President and Rank Forbes, Secretary-Treasurer. Directors were Ray
Carr, Tom Berry, Paul Berry, Cyrus Shoop, John Matter, Phillip Spear and WJ
first annual meeting was held in June 1950. New breeders present and helping
with the meeting were EJ Eddie, Stanley Sloan, John and Margaret Manke, Roe
Bailey and Lyndall Berry.
second annual meeting was held June 1951 at Decker, MT. At this meeting a new President
was elected – Baxter Berry. New directors were Star Sloan, George Holmes,
Gerald Nunn, Jack Manke and TR Larsen. The Association was incorporated at this
third annual meeting was held June 28, 1952 in Belvidere, South Dakota. At this
meeting, Lyndall Berry was hired as Secretary-Treasurer, at a salary not to
exceed $100 per month. In 1954 it was decided that the retiring President would
be made the Chairman of the Board for a period of two years and at the end of
that time he would be eligible to be elected to the Board of Directors again. In
1954 the annual dues for ASHBA were $5.00 per year.
highlights of the Association and its members included the visit of Stanley and
Francis Sloan to Scotland at the invitation of the Highland Cattle Society in
October 1953 and the visit of Mr. THL MacDonald of Scotland to the meeting in
Belle Fourche, South Dakota in May of 1954. Ray Carr of Valentine, Nebraska had
a beautiful herd of silver Highlands which received much publicity in 1954. A
shipment of 21 Highland bulls was made to the United States from Scotland (5 of
them went to Baxter Berry).
the past seventy years, this Association has seen many changes, not the least
of which is the change of the Association's name in 1992 to the American
Highland Cattle Association or AHCA. We have had as Presidents of the
Association: George Holmes, Baxter Berry, Ray Carr, Stanley Sloan, Jack Manke,
Gerald Nunn, Wallace Wineinger, RT Beaty, Jack Stroh, Keith Crew, Russ Bueling,
Jim Newland, Jim (DJ) Kennel, Ted Millen, Adrian (EZ) Braun, Joe Brownlee,
Lincoln Bordeaux, John MacKenzie Anderson, Raymond Blalock, Fred Wellner, Allen
Dyer, Gloria Brooks, Ted Robbins, Art Robbins, Doug Osborn, Roger Smoker, Don
MacLeod, William Lipsey, Skip Hougland, Jim Pugh, Eddie Mackay, Jacquelyn
Becker Chotkowski, Dean Adams, Nick Self, Deborah Nelson and Laura McDowell-May.
Secretaries over the years have been Rank Forbes, Lyndall Berry, Margaret
Manke, John Stroh, Gloriann Allen, Frani Hogate and Ginnah Moses. Notable among
these are Lyndall Berry, serving from 1952-1957 and Margaret Manke from 1958
Blalock should be remembered for his years of service as Chairman of the Board,
keeping that seat during the turmoil after President Fred Wellner's death.
many members have served on the Board of Directors to list here. Many of these
fine directors went on to serve as officers of the AHCA. According to the
record books, on becoming President of ASHBA, Stanley Sloan said, “Friends, and
I am sure you are all my friends or I wouldn't be here, I am honored to be
selected to be your President for the coming year. There has been nothing in my
previous training to prepare me to be President of anything. I remember when I
went to the first grade, my teacher told me that if I would be a good boy I
might get to be President some day. I gave up being good before I reached
members and regional associations have been hosts of the annual meetings. In
the early years, the meetings were held in June in South Dakota. This has
changed in recent years to alternating among the different regions and primarily
scheduled for the third week in June. Recent hosts have been both private
members and regional groups.
Highland Member of the Year Award was started in 1980 by the Association to
honor an individual(s) who has contributed most significantly to the
Association and the breed. The Highland Hall of Fame was established in 1988 in
memory of Fred Wellner and recognizes those members who have also made notable
contributions to the organization's goals. These honorees are an outstanding
group of Highland breeders.
1986 some of our members traveled to Britain to join in the Centennial
Celebration of the Highland Cattle Society. The John Andersons and Lincoln
Bordeauxs were among those who made that unforgettable trip.
special recognition goes to Jack Stroh of Walsenburg, Colorado who achieved the
honor of being a judge of Highland cattle in the United States, Canada and
Great Britain. Jack was a very special person and a real credit to our
the early days of ASHBA, the official paper for members was The Fold,
edited by Betty Jo Nolan of Chehalis, Washington. In 1975, The Bagpipe, our new
breed publication was started. Editors have been Joe Brownlee, Dayton Nordin, Lloyd
Howard, Bob Rieman, John Rieman, Colin Davidson, Chris Hawkins and William
Lipsey. The editor/publisher is now Jacquelyn Becker Chotkowski. It is
published four times a year and is included with membership in AHCA. It is chock
full of management/health articles, marketing successes, association news and
events, regional happenings, show results, etc.
Association meets once a year for the annual general membership meeting at the
National Convention. The Board of Directors and committees meet several times a
also have an annual National Show and Sale in Denver, Colorado each January at
the National Western Stock Show. It is an outstanding event thanks to the hard
work and dedication of our staff and volunteers who organize, manage and implement
Association looks forward to broadening our relationships with other Highland
cattle societies. We were happy to be part of the 1st International Gathering
of Highland Breeders in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1995. AHCA hosted the 2nd
International Gathering of Highland Breeders in June 2006 in Sheridan, WY. The
3rd International Gathering was held in Glasgow, Scotland in
September/October 2010. The 4th International Gathering was held in
New Zealand in November 2014. We value the relationships, both professional and
personal, formed at these association gatherings, as we do those formed at our
own national level events.
respect and admiration for those who have gone before us in this great Association,
we look forward to a future in which the breed presence is well known in the
cattle industry in the United States and the value of the finest beef in the
world is appreciated by the industry and the consumer. It's the job of each of
us to make that happen!