Welcome to the World Jersey Cattle Bureau
18th International Conference – May 2008:
The Conference was a particularly busy period for the Secretariat and with the dual responsibilities resulting from representing the Bureau together with hosting the event and, as mentioned in the report of 2008, it was not always clear from which source the volume of work was generated. A post event report was commissioned by the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society as host association and the two main points for the Council of the Bureau to consider are:
1. The Memorandum of Understanding between Host Jersey Associations and the WJCB regarding International Conferences and Annual Council Meetings requires updating. The Memorandum should ensure clarity as to what is expected by the Bureau and provide guidelines to assist the host association for whom it is most likely that the people involved will not have hosted a Bureau event before. This should include the provision of analysis of historic attendance details to assist prospective hosts with budget assumptions.
2. Consideration should be given to concentrating the ‘business’ elements of the programme into a short timetable, perhaps a few days, to encourage younger cattle breeders to attend. The programme can be extended with the emphasis on the ‘tourist’ element for those with more time.
The three week conference and tour programme was centered in Jersey preceded by a tour in England and followed by a tour in France. The Bureau acknowledges and is grateful to the RJA&HS for arranging the programme and to the Jersey Cattle Society of the UK and UPRA Jersiaise in France for their input into the respective elements of the programme. Reports from delegates attending were highly complimentary regarding the programme, the visits and the cattle seen in the three countries. In total some 265 delegates attended from 21 countries.
The 18th International Conference was held over three days in Jersey and included 11 formal papers, the five JETA presentations, three discussion forums and presentations from the member associations. Papers that are readily transposed to type were posted on the Bureau web site.
World Jersey Cheese Awards: The inaugural event was successful in meeting the targets set, with over 100 entries received from 10 countries. The overall title of the World’s Best Jersey Cheese 2008 came from Class 15 (Hard cheese produced on Farm or Dairy with a total output not exceeding a weekly average of 2 tonnes) and went to ‘Oude Remeker’ made by Irene & Jan Dirk Van de Voort from Holland. The success of this event was largely due to the project manager from the RJA&HS, Deborah Midgley, and assisted by Chris Ashby, the Head Judge and cheese expert from the UK. A film of this event is available from the Secretariat and plans for it to be posted on the web site are being researched.
The post event report indicates that the costs of running such a competition depend entirely on the infrastructure, knowledge acquired and staffing available. In terms of direct costs of shipping samples for tasting, judges’ expenses, trophies, web updates and promotion the competition could be run on a budget of some £5,000.
It is pleasing that a regional North American Jersey Cheese Awards 2009 are being run by the AJCA as part of the WJCB Annual Council Meeting Programme. Thought must be given to the ongoing format of the competition and it is recommended that time is allowed for discussion the Council Meetings this July.
Action points agreed at the last meeting:
WJCB Incorporation & Constitution:
The Council agreed to proceed with incorporating the Bureau under the 1862 Jersey law ‘Loi sur les teneures en fidéicommis et l’incorporation d’associations’ and prior to incorporation it was necessary to update the current constitution and rules (adopted 26th June 2002). This has been completed and a draft sent to the Law Officers in Jersey seeking their opinion which will make the incorporation process much smoother, and also to the Officers of the Bureau. The new constitution needs to be approved by a meeting of the full Bureau and thus once Council has approved the draft a meeting of the Bureau can be set.
The Secretary, together with Anne Corner, was charged with preparing a paper on options for the future of Youth Programmes and this is reported on under the activities of the Secretariat.
Working Party on issues relating to the marketing of Jersey milk and products:
The Bureau Officer team was charged with establishing a working party to examine this issue and needs to be progressed at the Council meeting.
60th Anniversary of the Bureau:
Peter Larson was charged with assembling a team to bring a proposal to the Council with regard to an anniversary publication and his report is circulated separately.
The Secretary was asked to arrange for the production of a President’s Board, which was duly commissioned, and now hangs in the WJCB office within the headquarters of the RJA&HS at the Royal Jersey Showground in Trinity, Jersey. Images of this are on the web site.
Activities of the Secretariat:
The Secretariat has provided a full time service responding to weekly inquiries received from a wide range of sources in 17 countries. The main regions from where consistent interest has been received in expanding the Jersey breed during the year have been mainland Europe and China.
World Jersey Journal:
Production and mailing of this widely acclaimed publication consumed considerable resources and due acknowledgement must be given to Mr Derrick Frigot who acted as editor. Circulation was completed of some 6,000 copies to members, enquirers and bulk distribution to Jersey breed associations. A further 1,000 copies remain that are available covering the cost of postage.
The E-News distribution has been maintained with 11 releases by the merge program and there has been an increase in activity from members registering their new email addresses to obtain news.
It is clear from the objects of the Bureau, although not explicitly mentioned, that communication must be at the heart of the Bureau’s work. Historically, communication of information has tended to be either through published material (journals, research news and newsletters) or on a ‘one to one’ basis (personal communications). Recent advances in technology, particularly the internet, open up the possibility for an interactive form of communication that would reinforce the role of the Bureau and support any of its initiatives.
It is recommended that the Council gives consideration to launching a new web site using readily available hosts, such as Wild Apricot (www.wildapricot.com), to provide an online administration system that allows for secured member access with the interactivity of blogs and forums. This would enhance the membership experience and begin to address the issues raised in the section on ‘Aims for the Bureau’ in the report of the Secretary in 2008.
The encouragement of young people involved with the breed is one of the key objects of the Bureau and has been ‘under review’ for some time. During 2008 the Bureau sponsored 5 young people to attend the conference through the JETA programme and currently has made a travel award to a young woman from Australia towards a sabbatical in Canada.
The issues raised in the report of the Secretary in 2008 remain and it is recommended that the Council give consideration to the following as a route forward. The Bureau operates and promotes three Youth Programmes:
1. The Jersey Educational Travel Award (JETA) Programme: This being the award of travel and attendance at the international conference to present a paper and is awarded to an active Jersey breeder, between the ages of 18 and 40, from each of the five regions of the Bureau. This programme has become well established since its inception for the conference in Canada in 2005, although the operational procedures require refinement, particularly in respect of short list preparation by each region.
2. A Jersey Youth Travel Scheme: This being access to a placement on a Jersey specific programme run by the International Agricultural Exchange Association (IAEA - www.agriventure.com), and open to people between 18 and 30 years of age. Initial discussion with Mr Bryan Lovegrove, IAEA Executive Director, indicates that they would be willing to develop a pilot programme for the WJCB. Enrolment would be according to the IAEA standard criteria with the Bureau assisting with identification of potential host families. The advantages for the Bureau would be that all the administrative functions would be handled by acknowledged experts in that field.
3. A Jersey Scholarship Travel Award: This being a direct grant payable towards travel expenses for a specific project. It could be payable to people, between 25 and 40 years of age, who wish to travel to undertake a specific piece of research relating to the Jersey breed and award would be conditional on support from the member national associations (through references and perhaps the offer of hosts for short stays) and the report being published by the Bureau.
The funding of these programmes is an important consideration to ensure continuity and sustainability. The JETA scheme is funded entirely by the Bureau out of commissions received from the conference and has been self financing in both 2005 and 2008 and it is suggested that this system remains. The Jersey Youth Travel Scheme would be funded by the participant, although they earn back the cost of the scheme through their work experience element of the programme, the Bureau could assist with an award similar to that of the current £500. The Jersey Scholarship Travel Award would be a direct payment on completion of the period of study and on receipt of the completed report. The quantum of this award should be in the region of £1,000.
Should the Council approve the concept of a structured approach to the youth travel programme then the Secretary would proceed to formulate the documentation for each scheme, commence the development of a pilot programme with the IAEA and identify funding available from the Sir James Knott Trust for the Youth Travel Scheme and Scholarship Travel Award.
Future strategy for the Bureau:
The Report of the Secretary 2008 examined the aims of the Bureau as a means of stimulating discussion on the future strategy. In order that the discussion can be further developed it is suggested that the Bureau develop a strategy that focuses on four strands, all of which the Bureau is either uniquely placed to deliver or is at the core of its objects. These are:
1. Communication: The development of the interactive communication media that will provide members and Jersey breeders with a resource that transcends geographical zones and provides access to the global Jersey community.
2. World events: The establishment, development and ownership of global events that serve to promote the qualities of the breed. The World Jersey Cheese Awards are a good example of this, although there may be others.
3. Youth: Concentration on the youth travel schemes is an investment in the future growth of the breed and a clear suite of programmes that are well promoted are essential. Each programme needs a clearly defined set of rules and is managed to a high degree of professionalism.
4. Knowledge transfer: The Bureau actively seeks opportunities to develop programmes in countries where the breed is embryonic or the country has limited resources. This is because national associations within countries that have developed populations are best placed, and resourced, to drive breed growth in their own country.
If the Council approves of this plan then the work streams for the Secretariat are indentified and each element will be developed in more detail with key questions put to the Officers for guidance.
James W Godfrey, MSc, FRAgS, MRAC