In just eight days, with the help and support of our corporate sponsors and ministry partners from around the nation, Cattle for Christ International Inc. (CCI) was able to practically double the artificial insemination capacity of an entire country. Imagine the impact this will have on the genetics of their cattle, and the health and welfare of the people.
In July of this year, Cattle for Christ took a team of cattle professionals to the country of Peru, just one of the countries where CCI has been very active in pastor training, church planting, children’s ministries and economic development for over eight years. This trip, however, was unique in its purpose and scope. For years CCI has been trying to coordinate efforts to incorporate cattle management and genetic improvement practices into their evangelistic efforts so they could equip the people in poor countries to better feed themselves with meat and milk products. These important sources of nutrition are desperately needed around the world, especially by children. There are many obstacles (logistical, cultural, geographical, financial and regulatory) that make these efforts challenging, but the desperate needs of the millions of people around the world are just too great to ignore.
In most Third World countries, the poor quality genetic base of the native cattle, the inability to provide adequate nutrition for the cattle and the lack of adequate herd health practices are all areas where there is much room for improvement. Though the people do wonders with what they have, they still need help to make major advancements in improving the quality and the production of their cattle which will enhance their ability to provide the nutritional needs of their people. These are all areas where we cattlemen, farmers and others involved in agriculture can make a difference if we work together. We can help meet both the spiritual and physical needs of the poor around the world in ways that are not degrading or creating dependencies like a welfare system. Instead, this will offer the people the training, equipment and genetic material to be able to work to provide for themselves and to help others.
This Peru team was made up of mostly cattlemen, all of whom are professionals in their respective fields: Jorge Moser of Missouri, an embryologist with Trans Ova; Doug Townsend of Florida, a semen sales representative and artificial insemination (AI) technician with ABS Global; Edwin Martin of Alabama, a dairy specialist and AI technician; Stan Windham of Alabama, a county agent and cattle/nutrition specialist; Travis Carnley of Alabama, a soil conservation and grazing management specialist; Glen Earnest of Georgia, a retired forester and AI technician; Chase Hendrix of Alabama, a state livestock judging champion; Larry Cochran of Kentucky, the chairman of the board of directors for CCI and a bilingual evangelist; Sarahi Beltran of Mexico, a bilingual children’s minister; and Glenn Crumpler, Angus breeder and Founder/President of CCI. The team was also assisted by Peruvian professionals consisting of a medical doctor, an agronomist and a veterinarian.
The 35 students for the training came from all the four geographical regions of Peru (Southern Highlands, Northern Highlands, Coastal and Amazonian), and included some of the Veterinary School faculty from three different Peruvian agricultural universities (only one of which currently has a veterinarian school). The students were the local cattle professionals of their respective regions, and were qualified and motivated to go home and teach others what they learned.
The curriculum included AI; reproductive anatomy and physiology; embryo recovery and transfer (ET); health management; nutrition; soil conservation; grazing management; parasite control; trait selection; castration; and semen collection and handling. The students spent mornings in the classroom and afternoons either working in practice reproductive tracts or live cows. Two full days were spent in tracts and three days in practice cows. We conducted a practice flush for all of the class and three live flushes for those who were attending the ET portion of the training. Three donors were flushed and nine transferable embryos were collected and implanted—resulting in five pregnancies. Fifty-six percent is not bad under these challenging conditions.
As part of the training, we were able to take the class to the one and only bull collection facility in Peru and observe the collection of five bulls. The administrator of the stud also taught a class on the semen lab, and how the semen was tested and processed. This was a perfect lead in to our semen and nitrogen-handling class.
When the training was completed, thanks to the very generous help of Accelerated Genetics and the help of MVE, IMV and Continental Plastics, we were able to furnish enough supplies to give each student his own AI gun, sheaths, gloves, thermometer, straw cutter, lube, tweezers, and Accelerated Genetics AI manual and PowerPoint presentation on CD. We also had enough AI guns and supplies to equip four training stations in each of the four regions represented. These 16 new training stations will fill a critical need in the process of enabling these students to train others. We also left two new MVE semen tanks and 500 straws of Holstein semen, 500 straws of Brown Swiss semen and 200 straws of Brahman semen donated by Accelerated Genetics. They will be available free-of-charge to the students to breed their cattle, the cattle in their communities and to use to train others in the technique of AI.
Trans Ova provided enough supplies and equipment to conduct our ET training, to perform the live flushes and transfers, and to partially equip a new ET training center in the Amazonian region so the Peruvians can begin collecting and transferring embryos and training new embryologists. Rocky Mountain Microscope Corp. in Colorado donated the microscope we used for the ET work.
CCI is currently in the process of sending 12 semen tanks and over 11,000 straws of quality, genetic defect-free Angus semen to introduce Angus genetics to the country of Peru. The semen, shipping tanks and shipping costs were all donated by Southern Cattle Company in Florida. With a growing middle class, there is an increasing demand for quality beef. What could meet that demand better than Angus genetics? This semen will be used to produce crossbred beef/dairy calves that can be dual purpose. There are a number of Simmental dairy cows that can be crossed with the Angus to make quality Sim-Angus cattle. The Angus semen will also be used to improve the beef cattle they already have and to one day breed their own purebred Angus cows.
In addition to the Angus semen, we are also currently working with John Downs of Southern Cattle Company and James Chenevert at GENEX in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to produce 100 quality Angus embryos that we will also send to Peru to establish their first herd of purebred Angus cattle. With the training, supplies and equipment we left in place—combined with the enthusiasm the cattlemen have for the genetic potential they foresee with Angus cattle—we are expecting great things for the breed, but especially for the people of Peru.
Without the help of the corporate sponsors already mentioned and our faithful donors who graciously partner with CCI, this life changing training and ministry could not have taken place. The students were required to provide their own transportation to and from the city of Lima. This in itself was a great investment and sacrifice on their part. Most of them took boats and/or bus rides between 24 and 37 hours to get to the training site. Once they arrived, because of the support of our donors and ministry partners, we were able to provide all of the housing, food (over 1,400 meals), transportation and training supplies for the entire duration of the training. Why is this important? First of all, without sponsorship the costs would have been insurmountable considering many of these men’s annual earnings for the entire family is $150 or less. Second, we wanted to show them the love of Jesus in a practical way. We wanted to show them God loves them enough that He would send us to give sacrificially of ourselves and our resources to bless them for His sake. They needed to see we were not in this to gain anything for ourselves, but only to help them—to show them God’s love and tell them of God’s plan of salvation through the sacrificial giving of His only son Jesus.
We started every morning and afternoon training sessions with worship, Bible study and testimonies. We had a Christian worship service at an abandoned church on Sunday. On the last night we were together, we again met for worship and served the students Communion (the Lord’s Supper for us Baptists), we gave them their own personal Bibles and we offered them the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, which most of them professed they did.
As the service ended, the students began to share their own testimonies of how God had touched their lives during this week of CCI training. Because they saw we did not gain anything for ourselves but the opportunity to help them and to make Christ known to them, their hearts were thankful with gratitude and thanksgiving.
One of the university professors said, "This week has changed our opinion of Americans and of Christians. We have seen mission teams come and go in our country, but none have given of themselves as you have given. The Cattle for Christ team came to discover our real needs and help us meet them in ways we can incorporate and sustain in our culture."
Another made the comment, "We came here not knowing Jesus or how to artificially inseminate our cattle, but we are going home with both!"
Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that!
Our plans are to conduct one additional follow-up training conference in July/August of 2010 in the Amazonian region of Peru before launching out to other countries where the training can be duplicated. Cattle for Christ has already been invited to bring teams to various African countries and Haiti as well as other South and Central American countries.
As you can imagine, this effort required the participation and generosity of a lot of people. We are so grateful to all of our corporate sponsors and ministry partners around the country who give generously of their time, resources and finances to make our work possible. Thank you farming families for all of your help. Together, with your generous support, we can continue to take cattle improvement and most importantly, the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ to the world, overcoming both physical and spiritual poverty.
Cattle for Christ was founded in 2001 with the goal of uniting farmers and ranchers for the purpose of taking the Good News and the love of Jesus Christ to the world in ways accountable to our donors and are efficient, effective and sustainable to the people we help.