A beloved dairy industry leader was lost to us today. James F. Cavanaugh, former executive secretary of the American Jersey Cattle Association, died on April 6, at age 92. Cavanaugh was also one of the original “Bordon Boys”.
James F. Cavanaugh joined the American Jersey Cattle Association in 1947 and went on to become the longest-serving executive secretary in Association history, heading the organization from 1956 to 1985. Under his leadership, Cavanaugh helped guide the 1953 purchase of the Jersey Journal, the 1957 formation of National All-Jersey, the 1967 creation of the AJCC Research Foundation, and the 1971 addition of the Jersey Marketing Service. Truly a pioneer, Cavanaugh pioneered the adoption of the USDA sire summary for recognition of bulls and was a vigorous campaigner against using minus bulls. Additionally, he was a vocal supporter of the multiple component pricing movement. There is no doubt that today’s popularity of Jerseys can be traced directly to Jim Cavanaugh.
Born and raised on a Kansas farm, he graduated from Kansas State University. In 1939, he was selected by the Borden Company to work at the company’s exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair where he cared for the famous “Elsie” the Borden cow. Cavanaugh is shown in the photo during a 2007 reunion of the Borden Boys in New York. During World War II, he flew 50 missions as a bomber pilot. Cavanaugh joined the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial staff prior to entering military service and remained on the staff until 1947 when he joined the national Jersey association as assistant secretary.
Soon after Cavanaugh’s retirement from the American Jersey Cattle Association, Cavanaugh was persuaded to accept an 18-month appointment as secretary-treasurer of the American Guernsey Association on January 1, 1986. Then Cavanaugh was named acting secretary of National DHIA in April 1987 and stayed on until March 1, 1988.
Cavanaugh served as President of National Dairy Shrine in 1962. In 1975, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Dairy Science Association, and, in 1977, was World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year. The very next year he was honored as the National Dairy Shrine Guest of Honor.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to The J.F. Cavanaugh Fund of the AJCC Research Foundation.
Source: Hoard’s Dairyman Notebook