2009 Pioneer Dairy Leader

2009-StevensonFrenton Gale Stevenson

Beginning as manager of the Southern Illinois Breeding Association in 1945, Frenton Gale Stevenson was a longtime leader in artificial insemination (AI) studs. In 1953 he became manager of MFA Artificial Breeders Association in Springfield, Missouri. He instituted periodic sales of daughters of MFA­owned bulls at several sites in Southwest Missouri and spearheaded the building of new facilities for 54 bulls of the MFA stud. By 1956 the Missouri Farmers Association stud was serving 20,000 farms and inseminating 80,000 cows.

An MFA-owned bull sired Masterman Standard Golden which set a record producing more than 18 times her body weight of milk in 1957. A bull, Brampton Gipsy Pinnacle Basil, had the highest rating for daughter type in the U.S. with 53 daughters averaging 89.3 points.

Stevenson’s acquisition of the Holstein bull, Thonyma Voager Veediction, led to development of the outstanding herd of Robert Thomson of Springfield. By 1959 the MFA association had 102 field technicians and had acquired three other outstanding Holstein bulls. Stevenson was active in the Missouri Holstein Association.

In 1961 the stud converted from fresh to frozen semen and entered a semen­sharing agreement with three out-of-state studs. That year that Stevenson was elected President of Midwest Genes. All bulls were moved from the four cooperating studs to Anoka, Minnesota.

Unfortunately, managers in Minnesota underrated Veediction and had him slaughtered. Stevenson sold the remaining 50 vials of semen to Robert Thomson.

Veediction was later rated as the number one sire in the United States in the first USDA daughter vs. herdmate summary.

Gale Stevenson was with Midwest Genes in the mid-1960s. Three great bulls were brought into the stud: Pawnee Farm Reflection Supreme, Pawnee Farm Rosafe Lochinvar and Burkgov Heilo Belle. The first two bulls sired great cows for Robert Thomson, each of which had a Veediction dam or grand dam. Ultimately this breeding produced Robthom Francine, an excellent, 95-score cow that produced over 300,000 pounds of milk, lifetime, for the Robthom farm.

When Midwest Genes merged with Badger Breeders to form Midwest Breeders Cooperative in 1967, Stevenson became marketing manager for the Missouri region. In 1968 he became president of Mar-Gale farms near Springfield. He was also employed as sales manager for Midwest Breeders where he was responsible for 140 technician-distributors in seven states and Mexico. Gale served as vice president of the National Association of Animal Breeders in 1955-56.

Stevenson was born in Sparta, Illinois is 1921. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1942. He retired in 1984 and passed away from Parkinson’s disease on March 30, 1996. He is survived by two sons, Michael Stevenson of California and Roger Stevenson of Arizona, and three daughters, Sharon Hathaway of Illinois, Sonja Clifton of Overland Park, Kansas and Janel Bagby of Kansas City, Missouri.

Thanks to John Underwood for this nomination.