What ADGA Can Do for You
Become an ADGA Member
Register Your Goats
Participate in the Performance Programs

Production Testing
Youth Honor Roll
Linear Appraisal

Participate in the ADGA Annual Meeting Youth Program
Participate in the ADGA Youth Program at the National Show

What ADGA Can Do for You

The American Dairy Goat Association has been serving the dairy goat industry since 1904. With over one million animals registered since the Association was organized, we are the largest and fastest growing dairy goat organization and registry in the United States. Whether you’re thinking of acquiring your first dairy goats or are the owner of a commercial dairy, we hope that you let ADGA help provide the resources you need to be successful.

ADGA’s primary responsibilities are to

  • maintain herd books and issue certificates of registration and recordation of dairy goats
  • supervise and publish official milk production records of dairy goats and issue certificates of production
  • promote and regulate matters pertaining to the history, publicity, breeding, exhibition and improvement of dairy goats
  • We provide a number of genetic, management, and performance related services of the highest possible quality to dairy goat breeders.
  • We sponsor shows and production testing giving breeders and exhibitors opportunities to compete for awards.
  • We sponsor products competitions which showcase the best in amateur and commercial dairy goat cheese, soaps, lotions, and other goat related products.
  • Our youth activities have provided a wholesome and educational experience to thousands, and in many instances have led to lifelong involvement in the dairy goat business.
  • We support promotional programs to raise the public perception and political climate for the dairy goat industry that will provide optimum economic opportunities for Association members.
  • We maintain an active information dissemination program making available critical data relating to production, linear appraisal scores, genetic evaluation information and show records.  Back to Top of Page

    Become an ADGA Member

  • Regular Membership

    • Reduced fees for registering and transferring goats
    • Membership Directory with names and addresses of other ADGA members and local dairy goat clubs across the U.S. and around the world
    • Contact information for goat-related supply companies (including magazines, books, equipment, novelties, and more!)
    • ADGA Guidebook of rules for the Association (including information on ADGA programs and breed standards)
    • Participation in DHIR (Dairy Herd Improvement Registry) testing program, which gives you recognition for production records earned by your herd
    • Participation in Linear Appraisal evaluation of your goats
    • Reduced DNA Typing fees
    • Participation in official ADGA shows – over 1200 held each year – all across the nation; also information about annual National Show held in locations rotating around the U.S.
    • Opportunity to serve on a ADGA committee dealing with specific areas of problem solving
    • Eligibility to apply for an ADGA/Jim Morrison Scholarship
    • Quarterly edition of the ADGA News & Events to keep you informed of ADGA news and programs
    • Miscellaneous Fact Sheets and flyers on various goat-related topics
    • Announcements of our Annual Meeting and Convention, which features a week-long schedule of seminars and programs, plus an exciting auction of top quality dairy goats

     Youth Membership

    • Eligibility Any person under the age of 21 on the postmark date of their application is eligible for Youth Membership in the American Dairy Goat Association.
    • Requirements ADGA Youth Members pay the same discount rates as regular members for the processing of work under their membership name and can register their own personal herd name for naming animals of their breeding. Consecutive years as a Youth Member can be applied toward requirements for a Life Membership. Youth Members are not eligible to vote for Directors. An updated ADGA Guidebook is provided to Youth Members annually. Those Youth Members who pay their membership dues before March 1 each year are listed in the annual Membership Directory. Primary Youth Members receive a free copy of the directory.
    • Membership Kit After you have been enrolled as a Youth Member, you will receive a membership kit which will include several forms, brochures and booklets.
    • Youth Activities Committee ADGA’s Youth Activities Committee promotes and coordinates youth activities for the Association at the Annual Convention and National Show. Any ADGA member may volunteer for a position on this committee.
    • Youth Showmanship Youth Showmanship is offered at the ADGA National Show, which is held at a different location each year. There are four divisions: Junior (up to age 10); Intermediate 1 (ages 11-13); Intermediate 2 (ages 14-16); and Senior (ages 17-20). Exhibitors are not required to own the animal that is shown.
    • Showmanship Certificates Showmanship Certificates are awarded to winners of showmanship contests at ADGA sanctioned shows across the nation. A showmanship report form must be completed and signed by the show chairperson and licensed ADGA Judge of the show.
    • Youth Fitting Competition A Youth Fitting Competition is held annually at the National Show and involves team effort to groom animals within a thirty minute period.
    • Youth Representative Contest The ADGA Youth Representative Contest is held at the Annual Convention and is open to any youth 16 through 20 years of age. The contestants are judged on personality, knowledge, leadership and experience with dairy goats. The youth selected ADGA Representative represents the Association at the National Show and Annual Convention
    • Dairy Goat Shows The following types of dairy goat shows are sanctioned by ADGA just for youth: 4-H (restricts exhibitors to members of 4-H groups; FFA (restricts exhibitors to members of Future Farmers of America), Open Youth (restricts its exhibitors to persons under 21 years of age). Winners at these shows receive ADGA rosettes and animals who meet specified conditions of competition earn “legs” toward permanent CH or GCH status (see ADGA Guidebook for explanation of show rules).
    • Premier Youth Exhibitor This prestigious award is presented to an outstanding youth exhibitor at the ADGA National Show. Points are accumulated from placings at all the events offered for the youth. Animals must be registered in the youth exhibitor’s name to qualify.
    • Scholarships Several scholarships are offered annually through the ADGA Helen Staver Foundation ( A scholarship is also offered to assist youth in attending the convention.
    • Performance Programs The goal of ADGA’s Linear Appraisal program is to provide the dairy goat breeder with an increased awareness of proven sires that transmit strong traits to their offspring. The system evaluates individual type traits that affect structural and functional durability. A special circumstance is applied for youth members who request to transport their animals to the location of the host herd, and must have permission of the host. Production Testing is one of the most valuable management record-keeping systems available to the dairy goat owner. Milk and butterfat production, herd and individual lactation information, plus breeding data, make up this comprehensive management information program for your dairy herd improvement. Youth with qualifying animals may apply for recognition on the Youth Production Testing Doe Honor Roll.

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    Register Your Goats

    Instructions for Registering a Dairy Goat

    The following instructions are to be used while filling out the ADGA Registration or Recordation Application. If you are not already familiar with the Application, you may wish to print this information page to assist you. The paper Application allows for text entry where applicable, while providing drop down lists and check boxes to assist with other areas of data input. Once the form has been completed, you should print it, sign all applicable fields requesting a signature, calculate and record fees. You may either fax or mail the form to ADGA.

    Most Common Registration Mistakes
    1) All items are not completed. 2) Color description is omitted. 3) Birth date does not coincide with breeding date (should be about five months for gestation period). 4) Registration numbers of grandparents instead of parents are given. 5) The registered tattoo belonging to the herd into which the goat was born is not listed. 6) Correct fees are not submitted. 7) Incorrect purchase date is listed (should be the date you took possession) 8) Transfer of ownership section is not completed (for purchased animal) 9) Artificial Insemination Mating is marked “yes” when natural breeding actually took place. 10) Service memo not provided when necessary. 11) Incorrect or incomplete credit card number listed.   The following step by step guidelines correspond by Item # to the ADGA Application.

    1.  Name
    Name must be confined to 30 letters and spaces and must begin with the breeder’s herd name, if any. Name cannot be changed once registered. If another goat is already registered with the same name, ADGA will use your second choice. If that one is taken and you have checked the “return” box, ADGA will return the application to you for further choices. If the “return” box is not marked, the office will choose a similar name that is available. Most ADGA breeders register a herd name. Once registered, the herd name is used as the first part of the animal’s name, when you stand as the breeder. You may apply for a herd name (you must be an ADGA member) online! In figuring the total letters and spaces used, keep in mind that if the breeder does not have a registered herd name, the goat’s name will be prefixed by the word “THE”. If you purchased a bred doe and are applying for her kid’s registration or recordation, the first part of the name must be the herd name of the owner of the dam the day she was bred (in most cases, the person from whom you bought her). AI Mating – If this breeding is the result of artificial insemination, an AI breeding slip is required instead of a service memo. Also, if the sire was collected after 1/1/1991, an AI Buck Collection form must be on file with ADGA.

    2.  Name of Sire and ADGA Number
    The sire is the father of the animal for which you are applying for registration or recordation. If the official ownership of the sire and that of the dam are not identical on the date of breeding, a service memo must be attached. The service memo is signed by the buck owner stating that his buck bred the named doe on the date shown. A service memo is not necessary if the owner of the sire and dam on the date of service is the same person unless it is a prenatal transfer, in which case a service memo isalways needed. If needed, a service memo should be given to you when you purchase your goat or when you have your doe bred. Failure to complete and indicate honestly as to breed type of known or unknown parentage is considered a misrepresentation of pedigree.

    3.  Name of Dam and ADGA Number
    The dam is the mother of the animal for which you are applying for registration or recordation. If you purchase the dam as a bred doe, you must obtain a service memo from the owner of the buck she was bred to and attach it to the application. Dam must be officially transferred before kid may be registered. Only one service memo is necessary for a birth and all kids do not need to be registered at the same time. The service memo MUST be sent in with the first kid registered from that given birth. Failure to complete and indicate honestly as to breed type of known or unknown parentage is considered a misrepresentation of pedigree.

    4.  Breed
    ADGA recognizes the following breeds: Alpine, LaMancha, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, Toggenburg and Sable. Purebred – the offspring of a purebred sire and purebred dam of the same breed that conforms to breed standards. LaMancha is the only breed that can upgrade from the American herd book to the Purebred herd book. American – the offspring of a sire and dam of the same breed that conforms to breed standards and also has the correct number of consecutive generations of ancestors who conformed to breed standards (minimum 3 generations for does and 4 for bucks). Experimental – (1) When two different breeds of Purebred or American goats mate, their offspring are eligible to be recorded as Experimental and must be shown in the Recorded Grade class. (2) Purebreds or Americans that have serious enough defects to disqualify them from being registered in their breed, must be recorded as Experimentals. Recorded Grade – Does who do not qualify for either the Purebred or American herd books. If the doe has milked enough to have earned a “star” while on DHI test, she can be recorded as Native on Performance (NOP). A copy of the completed record must accompany the application for recordation. The application must also indicate which breed type the doe is. After recordation, the doe may be granted *M status using the same record that qualified her as a NOP, if the proper forms are completed and fees paid. If a doe meets breed standards for a specific breed, she can be recorded as Native on Appearance (NOA) with a written statement of this breed appearance signed by an ADGA member (not a member of the applicant’s family) that the doe being recorded conforms to a specific breed type. Either way, a certificate is issued at the same cost on a brown certificate and the goat is called a Recorded Grade. This goat’s daughters by a Purebred or American buck of the same breed would be 50% American, and the great granddaughters would be American, provided there has been three consecutive generations of correct breed type (see American section). ADGA does not record grade bucks.

    5.  Color and Markings
    Describe the color and markings of the goat to be registered as accurately as possible within 69 letters and spaces. See ADGA Breed Standards. Be sure the breed standard, to which the animal conforms, has been selected on the application. For Toggenburgs indicate shade of brown and color of correct markings. For Oberhaslis indicate shade of bay. The term ‘swiss-marked’ is not accepted at this time.

    6.  Sex
    Specify sex as doe or buck.

    7.  Date of Birth
    The day the animal to be registered was born. Also select the number of kids of each sex in the birth.

    8.  Horn Information

    • Polled – naturally hornless
    • Disbudded – horns are burned off as very young kid
    • Dehorned – large horns that have been removed
    • Horns – has horns

    Ear Information

    • Gopher – no longer than one inch with little or no cartilage. Ear end must be turned up or down. Only ear type allowed for LaMancha bucks.
    • Elf – no longer than two inches, must be turned up or down
    • Erect – upright
    • Airplane – combination of pendulous and erect, usually flared and semi-upright, giving appearance of plane wings
    • Pendulous – drooping

    9.  Tattoo

    Each goat registered with ADGA must be tattooed for identification. You must use your assigned herd-identifying tattoo letters on any animal born in your herd. Your assigned sequence should be placed in the right ear (or tail web). The year letter (Z-2009, A-2010, B-2011, C-2012) plus a number denoting order in which the kid was born that year are tattooed in the left ear (or tail web). You may wish to tattoo only the center tail, rather than the right/left webs (e.g., ABCS1). If the application indicates a tattoo which is not actually on the animal, the certificate of registry becomes voidable. A limit of four letters and/or numbers are allowed in each of two locations.

    10.  Breeder
    Name and Address of Breeder The owner of the dam at the time she was bred, is considered the breeder of the animal to be registered. The identification number is a number assigned by ADGA.

    11.  Signature
    This is the signature of the person certifying the accuracy of the information furnished. If the dam was purchased as a bred doe, the owner of the animal being presented for registration/recordation must sign item #11 and submit a service memo. Otherwise, the applicant must sign item #11.

    12.  Transfer
    Anytime an animal is sold, regardless of whether or not it is registered/recorded at the time of sale, it must be transferred into the new owner’s name and the appropriate transfer fee submitted. This item is used only when the animal being registered/recorded is being transferred to another ownership. The signature and ID # of the seller in item #12 must be the signature and ID # of the previous owner. If your animal has been previously registered or recorded, fill out the transfer portion at the bottom of the certificate and mail it to ADGA along with the appropriate transfer fee. The application form is only used for animals that have NEVER been registered/recorded. If two members co-own the animal, they must get a nonmember number from ADGA or take out a joint membership. Two member ID numbers cannot appear on the certificate. For an animal bought at an auction that has been previously registered/recorded with ADGA, you must have the Certificate of Registry/ Recordation signed by the previous owner listed on the certificate to transfer ownership. Otherwise, without proof of the animal’s ancestry and transfer of ownership, a doe may qualify for recordation as NOA or NOP.

    13.  Registration and Transfer Fee
    For cost of registration and transfer, see the current Registration Application or Schedule of Rates. Performance pedigree for doe if requested at time of registration-recordation for members, $3; Nonmember $5. Transfer of ownership $4 (If more than 120 days after sale $5.50) when it involves an ADGA member; $16 when between nonmembers. Rush fee is 100% of the registration fee and will apply if registration certificate is requested to be return postmarked from ADGA 14 days or less from the sender’s postmark date. Rush fees must be checked if desired.

    Posted in ADGA Basics, FAQs and Tips, Registration Posted on
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    Producing the ADGA Performance Pedigree!

    Accurate performance records of production, visual trait assessments of type and pedigree are needed to develop a complete portrait of our individual animals in our herds.  This portrait is the ADGA Performance Pedigree.

    Accumulating data on pedigree, production, type and auxiliary traits from as many animals and herds as possible provides for accurate genetic evaluations. Genetic improvement is permanent and cumulative, so it is a sustainable and cost-effective method of directing and stabilizing dairy goat performance according to each breeder’s goals.   ADGA has a unique national agreement to provide evaluations.

    The following are tools offered through ADGA to generate data for the selection of breeding animals:

    • DHIR (Production Testing)
    • Linear Appraisal
    • Sire Summaries
    • Performance Reports
    • USDA-AIPL developed genetic evaluations
    • DNA verification


    Production Testing is one of the most valuable management record-keeping systems available to the dairy goat owner. Milk and butterfat production, herd and individual lactation information, plus breeding data, make up this comprehensive management information program for your dairy herd improvement. More information and an application are available from ADGA.


    DHIR is the registry form of Dairy Herd Improvement.  Dairy Goat Herd Improvement is a commitment to production related goals.  This program includes year round monitoring of milk volume, components and herd health. It is a nationally recognized system for evaluating dairy records. Careful breeding decisions result in ADGA registered animals having records that are consistently higher than the national averages. The ADGA Advanced Registry and STAR volumes track generations of record information.  Information obtained from DHIR:

    • Values for each milking doe & total herd
    • Completed & projected records
    • Customized features including reproduction, health records, & young stock programs
    • Somatic cell count
    • Persistency
    • Interface with type scores
    • Sire/dam/doe genetic values
    • Action lists
    • Selection objectivesThis link will take you to the American Dairy Goat Association website for the 10 steps to enter your herd in the milk production program.


      Youth with ADGA registered or recorded does on of any standard breed producing at least 3000 lb of milk, 100 pounds of butterfat, or 90 pounds of protein in a 305 day or less lactation or miniature breed does producing 1200 pounds of milk, 42 pounds of butterfat, or 36 pounds of protein in a 305 day or less lactation may apply for recognition on the Youth Production Testing Honor Roll.

      Qualifying does must be individually owned by the youth making application. Member herds participating in any test plan accepted by ADGA will be eligible to participate; test plan type will be noted on the published list. Verification testing of recognized does is not required, but verification status will be noted on the published list.

      The individual DHI doe sheet documenting the qualifying lactation must accompany the application. Application must be made within 6 months of completion of the qualifying lactation.  Owners will submit completed application with attached individual doe sheet to ADGA. There is no charge for this application. Owners of does with qualifying lactations receive a congratulatory letter and the lactation information appears in ADGA News & Events.  For an additional $3, a Certificate of Honor Roll Recognition will be issued.
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      Seeing a dairy goat ‘by the numbers’

      [Information contained in this article is derived from the Performance Programs materials developed and copyrighted by the American Dairy Goat Association and may not be reprinted or duplicated without permission.] 

       ADGA’s linear appraisal program evaluates individual type traits that affect structural and functional durability.  This allows users of the program to take full advantage of the potential for genetic improvement through selective breeding.  The program provides the framework for a uniform accurate record system that can be used in:

      • Making farm management decisions
      • Educational programs and research, including the genetic evaluation of does and sires
      • Breed association(s)
      • Promotion and sale of animals
      • Visualizing an animal “by the numbers”

      The term “linear” means that a scale is used to describe the biological range of each of the traits.  That scale ranges from 0-50 for each trait.  With the exception of stature and rump width, a linear trait score is an observation made by a trained appraiser rather than an actual measurement.  Traits are evaluated by the appraiser without regard for age, stage of lactation, farm management or environmental conditions.   The biological traits used in the linear appraisal program are believed to have economic importance either in terms of increased longevity, which reduces culling rate, or increased production.   The traits exhibit enough variation to provide a basis for selection in breeding decisions.  The traits are also heritable (genetically-controlled) enough so that progress or improvement can be made at an acceptable rate through the selection of sires.  Generally, heritability of .15 or higher is accepted as indicating at least moderate heritability of a trait. Dairy goat trait heritability determinations were based on 10,932 appraisals from the years 1988-1994 [Wiggans, G.R. and Hubbard, S.M., Genetic evaluation of yield and type traits of dairy goats in the United States.  Journal of Dairy Science 84(E. Suppl): E69-E73, 2001.]                  


      Stature .52
      Strength .29
      Dairyness .24
      Rump Angle .32
      Rump Width .27
      Rear Leg Angulation .21
      Fore Udder Attachment .25
      Rear Udder Height .25
      Rear Udder Arch .19
      Medial Suspensory Ligament .33
      Udder Depth .25
      Teat Placement .36
      Teat Diameter .38

      When a breeder has become familiar with the linear appraisal system, it is possible to get a visualization or “mental picture” of an animal based entirely on examining the linear scores.  Many of us use photographs to help us consider and choose animals we may wish to utilize in a breeding program.  However, for a number of reasons, photographs may not provide the accurate, unbiased picture we are seeking.   The linear appraisal program does not set a certain point on a range of points on the scale for a linear trait as “ideal,” nor are more points, fewer points, or midpoint on the range for a trait necessarily more desirable. The program is designed, instead, to objectively assess the condition of a trait that a sire passes on to his offspring.     To provide an example of how this visualization might work, we will examine two udder traits:  rear udder arch and teat placement.   Rear udder arch (RUA) is evaluated by the appraiser as the shape at the top of the rear udder where the milk is carried.


      Figure 1:  Rear Udder Arch

      Teat placement (TP) is determined by observing where the center of the teat meets the udder floor.


      Figure 2:  Teat Placement

      In evaluating the linear scores of your own animals, or, perhaps, those in the pedigree of an animal you are considering as a herd sire, it is important to know the range of the trait, the heritability of the trait, the breed average for the trait, and the trait scores of the animals you are considering as possible genetic resources.    Table 1 illustrates the heritability of each trait.  Each year, following the completion of all linear appraisal field sessions and data entry, ADGA publishes the breed averages for each of the linear traits.  The age-adjusted breed averages for our example traits for does scored in 2013 are shown in Table 2.

            Table 2: Trait Means and Standard Deviations by Breed (2013 data)

      Breed Alpine N=964 LaMancha N=765 Nigerian N=1034 Nubian N=1319
      Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
      RUA 27.8 5.4 28.1 5.4 25.5 5.7 25.8 5.1
      TP 19.6 4.9 20.8 5.4 15.5 4.4 17.9 4.4
      Breed Oberhasli N=247 Saanen N=631 Sable N=72 Toggenburg N=326
      Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
      RUA 25.8 5.7 28.5 5.3 24.5 3.8 29.0 6.0
      TP 19.4 4.5 20.3 5.0 20.1 3.5 20.3 5.2

      The trait mean (average) is determined by adding the age-adjusted scores for all does of the breed, then dividing that sum by the number of animals (N.) The standard deviation (SD) tells us the amount of variation.  For example, the Alpine data tell us that 68.2% of the does scored had teat placement trait scores between 14.7 and 24.4 [19.6 +/- 4.9, or one standard deviation above/below the average.]  Calculating the range within two standard deviations would include 95% of all the animals scored.  The information in Table 2 shows that for teat placement, the breed with the most variation in teat placement is LaMancha (SD=5.4;) the breeds with least variation in teat placement are Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian (SD=4.4.)    Any ADGA-registered doe or buck evaluated in 2005 or later can be found by searching the ADGA Genetics website .  Linear history documents each appraisal and provides the scores for all the linear traits.  From our example above, an Alpine doe, Heidi, with teat placement of 12, has teats placed farther to the outside of the udder than more than 68% of all Alpine does scored in 2013.  (Heidi’s teat placement score of 12 is more than one SD below the mean.) If we compare the trait score of 12 to the range illustrated in Figure 2, we can visualize the teat placement as being about midway between the lower end of the range and the midpoint.    When looking at a buck’s type evaluation (not his own linear history) we can see the average scores of his daughters as well as the reliability of the scores.  Reliability is based on the number of daughters appraised, number of appraisals, number of different herds and areas of the country where daughters were appraised.    Bucks that have been used extensively will have higher reliability than those that are younger or have seen more limited use.   Each of us has preferences regarding how we want our does to look.  Prior to a linear appraisal session, each herd owner is provided with a document illustrating the range for each linear trait.  Comparing your doe’s scores with the illustrations will give you a better understanding of where that animal falls within the range.  Being able to “visualize” an animal based on the linear trait scores provides us with an objective, unbiased tool.   The ability to visualize where we are and where we want to go in our breeding program with respect to the linear traits helps us make progress toward breeding a dairy goat that is sound and productive.  Back to Top of Page



      At each annual meeting, a Youth program offers a range of activities for youth of all ages.  The specific programming for each year will vary.

      Activities include:

      • Speakers, Workshops, and Activities related to Dairy Goats
      • ADGA Youth Representative Contest
      • Skill-A-Thon Competition
      • Educational Team Project
      • Youth Photo Contest

      Check details posted in the ADGA Annual Meeting posts and visit this site for more programming details.

      ADGA also offers a scholarship for youth attending the annual meeting.

      2016 Program Schedule – Austin, TX

      Saturday, October 29, 2016

      Program starts at 8:30 AM

      Registration and Welcome
      Design Your Convention T-Shirt – AM Youth Committee
      Getting to Know Each Other – Maddie Bennett and Henia MackenrothAntibiotic Resistance –  Why it Matters – Christina Strickland
      Record Keeping – Maddie Bennett and Henia Mackenroth


      Cheesemaking – Paula Butler
      Introduction to the Team Educational Contest
      Elements of a Good Game Goat Pictionary
      Scavenger Hunt

      Sunday, October 30, 2016

      Program starts at 8:30 AM

      Youth Representative Interviews
      Skill-a-Thon Competition
      Work on Team Educational Contest
      Write a Song Parady
      Using Linear Appraisal Data in your Breeding Program – Chris Strickland


      Hands-On Soap Felting – Brenda Havlice, Goat Magic Soap Works
      GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Pros and Cons – Christina Strickland
      Make a Farm Brochure to Advertise your Herd – Brenda Havlice
      Make Your Own Goat Collars – Suzanne Strong

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