The unique appearance of Belted Galloway cattle inspires many questions about their origins. With black, red or dun color sandwiched about a white middle, they are familiarly known as ‘Belties’ among breeders of the animals. Though references to ‘sheeted’ cattle occur in literature and art as early as the 11th Century, the Belted Galloway’s first recorded history indicates that they developed during the 16th Century in the former Galloway district of Scotland, a rugged and hilly seacoast region where hardiness was necessary for survival.
The British Isles then and now raised solid-colored, polled, shaggy-coated Galloway cattle generally considered to have evolved from an early Celtic breed. Precisely when and where selective breeding of the Belted variety of Galloway began is shrouded in mystery, though theories abound.
In our Herd Book Volume I early U.S. breeder Mims Wilkinson, Jr. wrote, “It has been stated by some authorities that belted, or sheeted, cattle in England go back to the age of Charles II, although they are first mentioned in Scotland in the latter part of the 18th Century. The polled characteristic of Galloways sets them apart from every other breed, they being derived from the original British polled cattle of antiquity.
The Beltie as a beef animal produces exceptionally lean and flavorful meat, with carcass dressed weights well in excess of 60 percent of live weight. Winter warmth is provided by the double coat of hair, rather than the layer of backfat most breeds require. The Belted Galloways’ heritage has conditioned them to survive in very harsh climates, and U.S. breeders have discovered that the thrifty, medium-sized animals more than earn their way in any beef herd.
The unique appearance of the Belted Galloway attracts many new enthusiasts to the breed. In time, breeders who purchased cattle for their ornamental qualities are delighted to learn that they produce lean, high quality beef. Many Belted Galloway breeders have waiting lists for their freezer beef. Commercial steers can gain as high as 4.5 to 5 pounds per day when grained. In comparison, Belted Galloway steers have shown top daily gains of 2.5 pounds per day when fed the same ration but generally eat significantly less.
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The Belted Galloway Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit corporation created to engage in educational and scientific activities dedicated to the improvement of Belted Galloway cattle breed production and marketing practices, and encouraging youth involvement in beef production.
The seven-member Foundation Board of Directors consists of the four most recent past presidents of the Belted Galloway Society plus the current chairs of the Society’s Long-Range Planning, Chatfield Scholarship Fund and Fundraising Committees.
The Foundation is a separate, autonomous corporation that is entirely supported by fundraising. Those who donate money or articles of value to support the Foundation and its programs enjoy the same tax benefits afforded those persons who donate to any charitable organization.
The Foundation currently maintains three separate funds: General Fund, Beltie Youth Group Fund, and the Chatfield Scholarship Fund. Donors to the Foundation can stipulate which fund they would like their donation to benefit. Those who wish to obtain funding for a particular educational or scientific project may contact the Foundation Secretary to request an application.
The first recorded importation of Belted Galloway stock to North America occurred in 1939, when a dozen bred heifers and a bull were transported to a Mrs. McLean at East Kortright, New York. About ten years later Harry A. Prock’s Hapwood Farm in Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania began importing purebred stock. Mr. Prock founded the American Belted Galloway Breeders Association July 1, 1951 along with H. Gordon Green of Quebec, Canada and Charles C. Wells of East Lansing, Michigan. Belted Galloways were exhibited by Mr. Prock at the Ohio State Fair in 1952.
In order to provide Belted Galloway breeders with pertinent information regarding the care and breeding of their cattle, the Foundation publishes the Belted Galloway Breeders Manual. This publication is provided free of charge to all Belted Galloway breeders, and is intended to be a useful resource for all those who are interested in beef production and, specifically, the Belted Galloway breed.A.H. Chatfield, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund
This fund was established shortly after the Aldermere Farm founder’s death in 1999. The purpose was to establish an annual scholarship in his memory available to a member of the Belted Galloway Junior Association or to any other deserving student interested in pursuing a career related to beef production. Students interested in applying for the A.H. Chatfield, Jr. scholarship award may request a form from the Society’s office.Belted Galloway Junior Association
Supported by the members of the Belted Galloway Society through generous contributions to the Foundation and other fundraisers, the Belted Galloway Junior Association is involved with youngsters from every region of the country. The primary purposes of the BGJA are to encourage youth involvement in the care and breeding of Belted Galloway cattle, and to provide educational and logistical services to support their activities. The BGJA maintains a website which provides a central source for current information regarding junior activities.
The first donation to the Belted Galloway Foundation was the Rose Herd. Bob Rose of Waitsfield, Vermont made the generous donation of his large herd of fine quality Belted Galloways expressly so the animals could be used for studies intended to benefit the breed. First trials were conducted on the Rose Herd in Iowa in 2003.