I would like to wish all Bureau members and breeders of Jersey cattle around the world all the very best for 2020, and may the New Year bring you and your families happiness and success of course all centered around our beloved Jersey cow.
As 2019 draws to a close, it is time to reflect on what a momentous year it has been for the Jersey cow and its breeders around the world. The Jersey breed continues to flourish and its popularity as the dairy breed of choice is expanding at unprecedented levels.
Our annual meetings and tours in June took us to Rwanda and Kenya, a fascinating and visually stunning part of the huge continent of Africa where the Jersey breed has the most potential for expansion and domination in the years ahead. For those of us who were fortunate to be on that trip, the range of experiences we witnessed will surely change us for the rest of our lives, and by common consent it is now rated as one of the best tours that the Bureau has ever organised and hosted.
Since 2004, the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society has been involved in assisting Rwanda with resurrecting its dairy industry, and is now in the third year of a development programme (“Jersey Inka Nziza”) with Send a Cow Rwanda as its partners on the ground. This project is generously funded by Jersey Overseas Aid, and talks are active to extend it beyond the end of 2021 when the current three year programme ends.
Bureau members on the Rwanda leg of the tour were able to see in sometimes very emotional detail the vital work that is being done to bring families out of poverty and in to a food secure situation, with the Jersey cow at the heart of the programme. It is just 25 years since horrific genocide took place in this country, and the Jersey cow is truly helping to heal deep-seated social wounds and is giving the poorer families immense hope for a brighter future.
“Why Dairy? Why Jersey?” was the theme of a highly successful regional dairy workshop held in Kigali (Rwanda) during the main tour week, involving over 150 people from 20 countries, and it is clearly evident from all the available research and local experience, that the Jersey cow is the most suited for small scale farmers in central and east Africa. We as a breed organisation should be extremely proud of this and must ensure that the momentum is maintained and the appropriate genetics for the management systems in this part of the world are made available well in to the future.
The post tour was held in Kenya, and during that week we made visits to a number of long-established Jersey herds, as well as research and A.I. facilities. A totally different experience for members, with stunning views of the Great Rift Valley en route to visiting farms, and a great opportunity to witness the many challenges that face dairying in this country. And everyone will remember their last few days in Kenya with a visit to the Masai Mara national reserve, and the privilege to see the best of Africa’s wildlife in their natural environment.
One key outcome of our 2019 annual meetings in East Africa is that we have begun the process of establishing a much-needed Africa Jersey Forum so that the countries of this vast continent will have a framework in which to work and meet regularly to discuss and promote the Jersey cow for their unique situation.
Elsewhere during 2019, the Latin America Jersey Forum held its inaugural meetings in Colombia and this went extremely well and a solid foundation has now been set for greater communication and cooperation between the countries of this part of the world where the Jersey breed is popular and growing fast. Meanwhile the European Jersey Forum goes from strength to strength and their annual meeting and tour this year was held in the Czech Republic where the breed is growing and has a very bright future.
The World Jersey Cheese Awards is sponsored by the Bureau, and was won this year by The Farm at Doe Run (Pennsylvania, USA) with their very impressive St Malachi cheese. Taking place this year in Italy, cheeses made exclusively from Jersey milk won 2 Gold Medals, 5 Silver and 5 Bronze and came from all around the globe. The 2020 World Cheese Awards event will be contested in November in Oviedo, Spain and we look forward to seeing a greater number of Jersey cheeses from more countries than ever.
Our 2020 annual meeting and tours takes us to Canada in June/July, and we look forward to many of you joining us for what will be a stimulating and exciting programme of events.
- Pre-Tour in Quebec – June 20th to 26th
- Main Tour & Annual Meeting is in Ontario – June 26th to July 3rd
- Post Tour in Alberta and British Columbia – July 3rd to 14th
Registration is now open, and I would recommend this trip to all Jersey breeders and enthusiasts alike. Details of the tours can be found at: http://www.worldjerseycattle.com/tours and registration is through https://jerseycanada.com/wcjb-2020-tour.
The Bureau Officers meet regularly via video conference calls to discuss on-going business and I am extremely grateful to all five regional Vice Presidents for their support and enthusiasm for our great breed, and the fabulous job they do in their own parts of the world. Our Treasurer, Alison Gibb, keeps a steady control of our finances and despite the 12-13 hour time difference between New Zealand and Europe, with modern-day communication systems, we are able to conduct the necessary business with ease.
Our Secretary, Roger Trewhella who has recently relocated his home base to France, continues to do a tremendous job on behalf of the officers and members, and is as ever ably assisted by Adela Booth, who carries out administrative duties quietly and professionally in the background. Thank you, Roger and Adela.
As we turn the page in to a new year, let us all renew our enthusiasm for our fabulous Jersey cow, the most versatile and adaptive of all the dairy breeds for all climates, conditions and management systems.
Have a great year!!
Steve Le Feuvre