(Originally published in 1st Quarter ADGA News & Events, May 19, 2021 following March 1 Next Generation launch.)
We anticipated that 2020 would be the year of challenges for ADGA, but now it appears that 2021 will hold the greatest turmoil within the Association. Hiring a new Performance Programs Manager as well as an Executive Director can be challenging enough, but adding the issues with ROSS-NG has put stress levels over the limit for many members.
While we have been able to register over 6,000 goats in ROSS-NG as I write this letter, we all know that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to performance issues.
Why Did ADGA Launch NG in March?
There have been many questions from members, such as “Why did ADGA choose to do this now?” To answer that question, it is important to look at the larger picture. The old ROSS was an extremely complicated system, with patch after patch applied over the years to maintain functionality. ADGA is a complex registry with multiple exceptions for almost every rule. This combination makes programming a new database very complicated. Many of the “what if” scenarios are not clearly documented and cause errors to pop up.
When we took on this project, we knew that the Holstein Association was also undergoing a re-write of their program at a much higher cost, over 2 million dollars more than what ADGA is spending and with many more programmers. The Holstein system is no more complicated than ADGA’s – and probably less considering they are only registering one breed.
ROSS-NG development is not an “out of the box” program. If we had hired more programmers at a greater expense, perhaps we would have had faster results, but at what cost? There was no perfect answer, and now we all suffer the consequences of our choices. The Executive Committee felt, given the information provided, we could move forward on March 1 with basic functionality. Looking back, we would have chosen otherwise.
I feel your pain and your concerns, as does the rest of the Executive Committee. We have been unanimous in how we felt we must move forward, and work through the issues. We are committed to see this through.
It may feel that all is lost, but we are making progress, regardless of what you see on social media. I urge you to stay with us and help us work through these issues together. Be pleasant to staff when you call, as they are in the same situation that we all are.
Bright Spots for 2021
There are some bright spots for 2021. While it will have a different look and feel, we are moving forward with both the National Show in Louisville and the Annual Meeting in Tucson! If you plan to attend the National Show, please read the new COVID-19 rules, and plan to follow them. We hired our new Performance Programs Manager, Jim VanDerlinde, and we are close to hiring our new Executive Director! The Executive Director model will be a major change to how ADGA functioned in the past, and I am excited to see the new directions this person can guide the Association.
Retirements & Elections
With that being said, it is important that we take the time to recognize our former Association Manager, Shirley McKenzie and former Performance Programs Manager, Lisa Shepard, who have recently retired. We appreciate them for their many years of service and dedication to ADGA. They will truly be missed!
By the time you read this you should have received and mailed in your Director Primary ballots! I have said it numerous times before, I have so much respect for any member willing to run for the board. I wish all the candidates the best of luck.