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Sitting down to read the Charter and Bylaws or the Rules of the American Angus Association doesn’t exactly rate high on the bucket list for most members, yet understanding how the organization is structured and the rules of the game can enhance your membership experience.

For the past several years, we have inserted the Breeder’s Reference Guide (BRG) — including the Charter and Bylaws, Association Rules, and other reference items — in the March issue of the Angus Journal, then notified members of individual changes made during the year. Prior to that, we mailed out copies on a periodic basis when it was deemed the printed BRG was too outdated.

This year we want to try something different. The BRG is still available online at www.angus.org and from the Members Services Department upon request. But, in the pages of upcoming Angus Journals, we want to break it down — make it more understandable and more appealing to read — to give you the information you need to make the most of your membership.

So, with the help of the Association’s Member Services Department and the Board and Staff of the American Angus Association, we’re going to launch a series of articles devoted to helping you get to know your Association. We’ll get rid of as much legalese as we can and try to put things in layman’s terms.

In upcoming issues we’ll discuss the delegate nomination and election processes, how the Board functions, running for the Board, the entity Boards and how they differ from the full Board, how the annual convention is conducted, how to submit an item for consideration by the annual convention of delegates, entitlements of membership and affiliate (or subsidiary) organizations. If you have a particular topic you would like us to cover, by all means let us know. You can e-mail me, author of this series of articles, at shermel@angusjournal.com or Bryce Schumann, CEO of the Association, at bschumann@angus.org.

Let’s start with the Board’s committee structure.

You may have noted in January’s coverage of the November Board meetings that one of the first official actions of the newly elected Board was to make committee assignments. This month, we’ll look at how these committees are established, how they function and how their work is brought to the full Board for its consideration.