The Hereford breed of beef cattle was established near Hereford, county of Herefordshire, England, nearly 300 years ago as a product of necessity. Thrifty, enterprising British farmers were seeing the need to produce beef for the expanding food market created by Britain's industrial revolution. To successfully meet this growing demand, these early-day cattlemen needed cattle which could efficiently convert native grasses to beef, and do it at a profit. Benjamin Tomkins is credited with being a primary founder of the Hereford breed. He began in 1742 with a bull calf from the cow Silver and two cows, Pidgeon and Mottle, inherited from his father's estate. Herefords came to the U.S. in 1817 when statesman Henry Clay of Kentucky made the first importation of a bull and two females.