ABS Global Contributes to Scholarship Honoring Genetic Pioneer Morris B. Ewing

The first-ever Morris B. Ewing ABS Genetic Performance Scholarship will be awarded this summer following a recent $20,000 donation by ABS Global, a division of Genus plc. The scholarship, administered by the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA), honors the late Morris B. Ewing, a long-time ABS Jersey sire analyst who was known in the industry for his dedication toward improving Jersey genetics and performance.

The 2017 award will be for $1,750, and include a copy of Ewing’s autobiography, A Time with Jerseys. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a junior or senior undergraduate student seeking a career in genetics, dairy production, large animal veterinary medicine or milk marketing.

The campaign to establish the scholarship began at the 2014 AJCA annual meeting with the publication of Ewing’s book, a 70-page volume that recaps the major highlights in the evolution of dairy cattle breeding in the 20th century and focuses on the progress made by the Jersey breed within the U.S. dairy industry.

“Morris was really a pioneer in Jersey sire improvement,” said Dick Smith, a recent ABS senior sire analyst retiree and long-time colleague of Ewing. “In addition to being a mentor and icon, he was a close personal friend. For those who never had the opportunity to know or work with Morris, his recollections provide a better background on what happened in the Jersey breed on its way to an increasingly important role in the dairy industry of the 21st century.”

David C. Thorbahn, Select Sires CEO and former Ewing colleague at ABS, adds, “This book remembers Morris’s legacy as a geneticist, a supporter of the Jersey cow and a friend to all he met.”

A named scholarship through AJCA may be established with a minimum of $35,000 in funds. To date, at least 55 individuals and farms have donated in Ewing’s name as well as three artificial insemination organizations, including ABS Global, Select Sires and Jerseyland Sires.

Ewing worked at ABS from 1974 to 1989 and greatly influenced the genetics available to the Jersey industry. As a sire analyst, Ewing secured sons of three impact sires: Milestones Generator, Observer Chocolate Soldier and S.S. Quicksilver of Fallneva. Additionally, two of Ewing’s acquisitions for ABS – A-Nine Top Brass and Highland Duncan Lester – were among only 10 sires ever honored with a special issue of Jersey Journal.

“He was there at the birth of data evaluations,” Smith continued. “His primary focus was to improve Jersey cow performance and it showed. We (ABS) had 35 percent of the Jersey market share when he was here.”

Ewing was voted honorary membership by the American Jersey Cattle Club board of directors in 1989, then received the first AJCA-NAJ Award for Meritorious Service in 1999. He remained interested in and connected with the dairy genetics industry until he passed away on Oct. 30, 2013.