The American Black Hereford Association was officially organized in 1994 by the late John Gage as a not-for-profit corporation. The purpose of the breed, according to its founder, was to eliminate red-baldie calves in a Hereford / Angus cross breeding program. In the past, black-baldie calves have topped the market at sale barns while red-baldies of the same cow herd are culled off and sold at a discount. The benefit of using Black Herefords is to obtain Hereford heterosis without the financial disadvantage of Hereford discounts.
In 1997, the first registered Black Hereford bull was born on Gage's Blue Jacket Farm near Eudora, Kansas. The bull was named BJH Balder 7504 and carried the Black Hereford registry number HB000001. Before forming the Black Hereford organization, John Gage was a polled Hereford breeder. It was his belief that balanced EPDs were important and he carried this belief to the Black Hereford breed he created by insisting that only the highest rated Hereford bulls could be used . Black Hereford EPDs were first calculated in 2005; with the 2013 analysis of performance data, this first Black Hereford bull, BJH Balder 7504, had the following EPDs:
BW: 1.6 WW: 55 YW: 86 Milk: 10 M+G: 37
This first bull and his progeny have served the new breed well by providing outstanding growth, low birth and moderate milk.
When John Gage became ill in 1998, Joe and Norma Hoagland, J & N Ranch, Leavenworth, Kansas purchased most of Gage's cattle and received the corporation papers on the American Black Hereford Association. They used the cows and bulls in their commercial herd for a few years and noticed that they didn't get any red-baldies. It was at this point that the Hoagland's dispersed their registered Hereford and Angus cowherds and started raising Black Herefords. Interest in Black Herefords increased. In 2005, the ABHA consisted of 14 breeders in nine states. Today there are nearly 350 members a combination of adult and junior members in 34 states, and two countries.
The primary purpose of the American Black Hereford Association is to register and transfer Black Hereford seedstock as well as maintain records of pedigrees and performance in the Black Hereford herdbook. The ABHA promotes the Black Hereford breed and produces promotional materials for the association as well as member breeders as a service to the ABHA membership. Herefords have always been known for their docile temperament and feed efficiency. Angus have always been known for lighter birth weights, good growth and outstanding carcasses. The combination of these two breeds produces an outstanding animal with the benefit of the black color - "the color you can count on"!