The American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2008. During the first 100 years, ASAS broadened membership to more than 5000 members. ASAS developed diverse and dynamic membership programs, and fostered the growth of the premier journal in animal science and the premier animal science meetings.
Watch the ASAS Centennial video.
ASAS had its beginning on July 28, 1908, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. A group of animal nutritionists, representing 13 state agricultural experiment stations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, met during a summer school session and formed a permanent organization with a focus on animal nutrition research. A committee was appointed to present a plan for organizing during the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago that fall. On November 26, 1908, the group met and formed an organization called the American Society of Animal Nutrition. Thirty-three charter members represented 17 state experiment stations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Canada. A constitution was adopted, and four committees were established: (1) experiments, (2) terminology, (3) methods of reporting results, and (4) affiliation. The objectives of the new Society were (1) to improve the quality of investigation in animal nutrition, (2) to promote more systematic and better correlated study of feeding problems, and (3) to facilitate personal interaction between investigators in this field. The first professional papers were presented at the Livestock Exposition Hall in Chicago on November 27–29, 1909. At the business meeting, the membership voted to publish proceedings of its annual meeting representing the first journal publications. During the first year, 100 members joined the roll.
At the business meeting in 1912, efforts were made to broaden the membership base. On November 30, 1915, the name of the Society was changed from the American Society of Animal Nutrition to the American Society of Animal Production, and an amendment to the constitution was passed to allow members to include those interested in teaching, breeding, and management investigations as well as nutritionists. A committee on instruction was added. At that time there were 114 members.
The Society was fulfilling a genuine need, and membership began to increase. Growth in membership was almost continuous; by the golden anniversary year of 1958 there were 1829 members. A second name change was approved at the 53rd annual business meeting in Chicago on November 24, 1961, when the official name became the American Society of Animal Science.
The American Society of Animal Science expanded to meet the diverse needs of its members by adding sections (Midwest, South, Northeast, and West) with their own meetings. In 1998, ASAS joined forces with its sister societies, the American Dairy Science Association and the Poultry Science Association, to form the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) to help foster a voice for professional animal scientists.
Today, we are facing some of the same challenges faced in our first hundred years but on a larger scale. Much like our founders asked, it is time for us to ask "Who is our membership?" and "Who should our membership become?" Our founders defined and reevaluated membership components twice as demographics of their traditional base changed. It is time for us to do the same to incorporate the expanded scope of the field of animal science. In fact as we move forward, we recognize that the current demographic makeup of ASAS will change and expand to reflect the difference between our traditional animal science base and the young animal scientists currently being trained.
As we move forward, the society will continue to focus on animal science in terms of animal agriculture, but we plan to become more inclusive and begin to focus on the scientific issues of all animals used to benefit humans. In addition, we have entered a time in which we must return to our roots by increasing our focus on teaching, extension, and industry as well as increase our international presence and membership.
It is also a time for us to change one of the most fundamental roles of ASAS in the field of animal sciences and in society. ASAS needs to continue to serve as a distributor of animal science information while enhancing its role as a creator of information pertaining to the field of animal science. ASAS has always stated that science needs to inform policy, but at this time we need to move a step further so that ASAS takes a more active role in using science to help shape policy. Essentially, ASAS needs to proactively serve as a voice for animal science and animal scientists. We need to leverage our strength as a diverse organization.
As ASAS enters its second century, we are changing to adapt to current and future conditions and environments. ASAS will continue to be the world leader as a source of scientific information on the contributions of animals to food and fiber production. We recognize, however, that animals contribute greatly to enhancing the human life and wellbeing in a wide variety of ways, including companionship, recreation, and human aid. Therefore, the broader vision of ASAS is to be a diverse community of professionals recognized as the leading source of new knowledge and perspective on animals that enhance human life and well-being. ASAS facilitates global scientific exchange through innovative and inclusive venues.
In the next century, we will look for new opportunities to partner with other professional organizations and non-traditional venues. We are working to become a facilitator of effective interactions among academia, industry, government agencies, and other stakeholders to reach consensus regarding science-based animal issues. Continued leadership in providing a scientific voice of animal science to the broader public is an inherent component in facilitating scientific exchange. To deal with the many contributions of animals to society, we recognize that it is vital for animal science professionals to be trained in a variety of disciplines. To this end, ASAS will provide member services and professional development opportunities in a proactive and accountable manner. Through our meetings, journal, and professional development opportunities, ASAS will be the training ground for future animal scientists.
In 1998, in partnership, ASAS, American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), and Poultry Science Association (PSA) formed the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS). Today, ASAS maintains its 1/3 equity investment in FASS. FASS provides two types of services: 1) an Office of Science Policy and 2) Association Management Services. FASS provides these services for both Founding Members and other groups linked to animal agriculture and animal science. Although, ASAS only uses limited association management services from FASS, ASAS is the largest supporter of the Office of Science Policy. For more information about FASS and the services provided to organizations involved in animal agriculture or animal science, please visit the FASS website at www.fass.org.
ASAS maintains three representative on the FASS Board of Directors. The current ASAS Representatives on the FASS Board of Directors are:
Ronnie Green (2012-2015)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
202 Agricultural Hall
Lincolcn, NE 68583-0708
Brett Hess (2010-2013)
Agricultural Experiment Station, Dept. 3354
1000 E University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Jerry C. Weigel (2010-2014)
2949 Dargan Hills Dr.
Wake Forest, NC 27587-4843