Welcome to the World Jersey Cattle Bureau



by James Godfrey (Jersey Island)

This report covers the general activities of the secretariat, together with an update on the tasks set for the Secretary at the annual meeting of Council in Brazil, July 2007.

Secretarial activities:  This has been a particularly busy year for the Secretary, although it is hard to determine how much of that is due to the fact that the RJA&HS is acting as host association for the 18th International Conference and 2008 Council meetings.  There has been an avoidance of duplication but the extent to which the Secretary would be involved in the annual meetings on an ongoing basis would probably be largely dictated by the location of such meetings. 

The majority of the work has been associated with either the preparation of the 2008 events or the projects set out below.  Particular thanks must go to the American Jersey Cattle Association for providing the Secretary with an opportunity to address members at the All American Show in Louisville in November 2007.

Review of the Constitution:  The first task of updating a constitution is to establish the legal status of an organisation. 

Extensive research has been undertaken into this and the minutes of 14th May 1958 record that the Chairman had “concluded arrangements with the National Farmers Union to maintain the Bureau’s Registered Office address at Agriculture House, Knightsbridge at an annual rent of £5.”  The National Farmers Union no longer hold any facility of behalf of the Bureau, nor can they find any records of the arrangement, and further investigation is unable to establish any form of registration either in the UK or Jersey.  It is assumed, therefore, that the Bureau has no legal personality at all.  This is unsatisfactory and must be resolved as a first step in reviewing the Bureau constitution to ensure that it is appropriate. 

The Council must decide where the Bureau will be registered and in what form.  Legal advice has been sought and, if the Bureau is to be registered in Jersey, the recommendation is that it be established as an Incorporated Association under the ‘Loi (1862) sur les teneures en fidéicommis et l’incorporation d’associations’, a copy of the advice received is attached to this report. 

Clarification of this matter will enable the Secretary to proceed with the drafting of an appropriate constitution and a set of fundamental rules which would include position descriptions of the officers, guidelines for awards, statements of ethics and any other item currently in the constitution that needs amending.

Communications:  It was agreed to replace printed publications with a regular newsletter circulated by means of electronic mail (Email).  This has been completed with the introduction of a new computer program, Sage Act, and at the time of writing five editions of the WJCB E-News have been circulated.  Success of this system depends on there being an up to date list of email addresses being held by the Secretary and the promotion of this is to be encouraged.

International Youth Travel Scholarship:  A few enquiries have been received for this programme during the year and these have been held in abeyance pending the Council meeting in Jersey.  It is recommended that, if this programme is considered to be of value, then the management of it should be contracted to a specialist provider of such services.  This would help with the obtaining of visas and permits as well as providing reassurance for the Bureau in an age where potential litigation, in a case of failure, must be a consideration.  In this situation the Bureau would then be able to direct resources to the promotion of the scheme and encourage the participation both of scholars and host families.  A useful start point for contacts is through the World Youth Student Educational & Travel Association (www.wysetc.org) which holds listings of organisations such at STS (Student Travel Service).    

JETA Programme:  The JETA awards for the 18th International Conference have been well received with each region submitting excellent candidates and the final recipients selected were; Robin Denniston-Keller (from New York State, USA in the North American region), Ruben Dario Galvis Goez (from the Antioquia, Colombia in the Latin American region), Henrik Dalgaard Christensen (from Denmark in the European region), Wikus van der Merwe (from the Republic of South Africa in the African region), Lyna Beehre (from Northland, New Zealand in the Oceania region). 

On a point of practicality it is suggested that consideration be given in future to amending the communication procedure such that once the National Associations submit their candidates then further communication from the Bureau is direct with the candidates and copied to the National Associations.

Recruitment of a Secretary:  A request for expressions of interest was circulated with the WJCB E-News in December, this in addition to the process of recruitment being described in the minutes posted in July 2007.  An expression of interest was received that was conditional upon only being processed should the RJA&HS not offer a continuation of the secretariat service provided from April 2007 to the Conference in May 2008.  The Council of the RJA&HS has agreed to offer continued secretarial support and with their CEO, James Godfrey, as the named WJCB Secretary until the 19th International Conference in New Zealand in 2011.  The terms of this offer are to be discussed by the Council in Jersey in May 2008.

World Jersey Cheese Awards:  The establishment of the WJCA has been a major initiative and the organising team of the Secretary, Dr Cherie Bayer and Russell Gammon are very grateful to the work of the RJA&HS in ensuring that the idea born in Brazil in 2007 became a reality by May in 2008.  Particular mention must be made of the exceptional input of the event coordinator, Deborah Midgley at the RJA&HS, without whom the event would not be taking place.  Financial support has been received from the States of Jersey Tourism Development Fund and the Agricultural Rural Initiative Scheme.

It is important that a full post event analysis is undertaken and that Council reviews the future potential of the event in early course. 

Aims of the Bureau:  It was agreed at the meeting of Council in Brazil that the future role and activity of the Bureau needed to be re-examined, along the lines of the ‘think tank’ meetings held in 1992.  The Secretary was charged with preparing the discussion on the subject and this section of the report deals with that.    

The WJCB was formed in 1951 in response to an initiative of the founding countries for a forum in which consideration could be given to issues that affected all countries but which no one country had an ability to address, examples of these were; the discussion on improving the standard of cattle being exported, the standardisation of classification programmes and the promotion of artificial insemination.  There has been considerable progress on some of these, but the extent to which this has been as a result of the Bureau is questionable. 

It could be said that after the initial activity the Bureau had a less than clear focus other than to encourage the member countries to host the annual council meetings and international conferences every three years.  As a result the Bureau gained a reputation of being a travel club with little relevance to the majority of the industry.  This assessment is perhaps unfair but, whatever the factual position may have been, promotion of the Bureau has been affected by that perception being widely held.

It is important, however, not to underestimate the role that these annual meetings have had, especially to the individuals involved as a means to gain experience and share ideas.  The opportunity to gain this value, however, needs to be spread to a wider audience.  It is also clear that the honorary input provided by a relatively small group of individuals ensured that the Bureau continued to meet regularly, and without them the Bureau would not have continued at all.  Indeed the individuals concerned deserve recognition for the energy and commitment they have given to the Bureau over the years. 

At this point the Bureau has a choice; to continue to facilitate the annual meetings or to develop a greater relevance to the wider industry.  It is suggested that the aim for the future should be to develop the Bureau into an organisation;

a)     to which all active Jersey breeders feel it is worth ‘belonging’,

b)     which is respected throughout the global dairy industry as being dynamic, and

c)      that provides solutions or positions on issues that are relevant.

To do this the Bureau needs to re-identify ‘vital functions’ that, as an organisation, only it is best placed to deliver.  Of course achieving this requires resources, however, it is suggested that if the Bureau can demonstrate delivery then the resources will be attracted to enable further development.

In a globalised trading world the need for an effective international body promoting the breed must be more relevant than ever, but the Bureau needs to demonstrate that relevance especially to the national associations who contribute resources in terms of funding, expertise and promotion without which the Bureau will not progress.

The first stage of this process is to ask the member associations what functions they would like to see the Bureau perform.  Perhaps a successful World Jersey Cheese Awards would be such a function and a start to developing the industry relevance needed.

Respectfully submitted

James W Godfrey, MSc, FRAgS, MRAC

Secretary – May 2008
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