Upon first glance many may consider “75” just another insignificant number, three quarters or possibly even the age of their grandmother. However, this basic arithmetical value defines an immeasurable number of moments in time that become the basis for history.
When I was first asked to assist with writing some articles for the All West / Select Sires 75th anniversary, my thoughts originally rested on a single impulsive notion “that’s pretty old”. Over the next couple of weeks I consumed a massive amount of coffee while pouring over dates and photographs from years long before my time. After reading an uncountable number of highlights concerning our cooperatives humble beginnings in 1941 and attempting to sort names with dates, I was overwhelmed. It took a few days of serious contemplation and tossing around the number 75 in my head before coming to this single most important question “what does 75 years really mean to the people at All West?”
I had successfully gotten myself tangled up in all the many facts and figures that 75 years of history could possibly contain. I was having trouble illustrating things such as why the purchasing of our first liquid nitrogen cooler in 1962 and instigation of a frozen semen program the following year was so important. I knew this information was unprecedented, but describing the relevance of this monumental event was seemingly unattainable.
Taking a step back from the history books and dates I decided to listen and ask questions to those around me. Mostly it was a lot of “what was it like back then?” and “why were things done that way?” Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the floodgates opened and I was torn away with a title wave worth of stories and memories. I would hurry to scribble down these breath-taking encounters, but never was I able to capture the true passion of these moments with our employees. Their eyes would glitter and a smile would form upon their lips as they recalled a time I could not even begin to fathom
It was only in these shared moments that I began to glimpse the meaning of 75 years to those at All West. I could hear a note of reverie in their voices and see the look of happiness in their eyes as they looked longingly at an old photograph. Then came the excitation over playing a game of “who’s that one?” in my office. Someone would snatch up an old news clipping for the fifties and point out shadowed faces for the other to guess. I would watch out of the corner of my eye and always be amazed on how no one ever seemed to guess wrong.
If I had been asked to explain how the “All West was won” four months ago, I probably would spout off innumerable dates and name changes from the past umpteen years. However, if you asked me today how the “All West was won” I would answer with a single word, passion. The passion for the people, passion for the industry, and passion for the cooperative itself have all played their part in helping All West / Select Sires become an industry leader in bovine genetics.
With a new challenge in mind, I intend to document how we at All West are celebrating these 75 years of commitment and service, because our passion is a living entity and the moments we celebrate today are just another bit of history for the future.
(blog posts will appear on the website from several members of the All West family including Communications Manager Karen Knutsen and All West Marketing Intern Bailie Welton)