by Johannes van Eeden (South Africa)
The 2008 Council meetings and Conference of the WJCB will be held on the Island of Jersey. This is not just a co-incidence or a nostalgic trip, but rather an acknowledgement of the achievements of the Jersey breed worldwide. Jersey breeders from 5 continents will gather for the 18th WJCB Conference, with the aptly selected theme - JERSEYS WITHOUT BORDERS. Approximately 250 delegates representing more than 22 countries will attend and for the first time we will have delegates from Tanzania, Serbia, Liberia and Rwanda. Experts from five continents will deliver talks on themes as wide as climate change, expanding markets for Jersey milk, growing the Jersey population in far away places and will also have the opportunity to visit the farms of some of the most successful breeders of Jersey Island. These are all signs of a truly dynamic and active organization – THE WORLD JERSEY CATTLE BUREAU in 2008.
During June/July 2007 members and delegates met in Brazil for the WJCB council meetings. First of all I would like this opportunity to once again thank Massaru Kashiwagi for his tremendous effort in organizing this extremely efficient meetings and visit. To get delegates from 4 continents together, in a country as big and stretched out as Brazil, move them around for thousands of kilometres, visit farms and cities, and doing it as efficiently as only Massaru can, is a feet not easily equalled! We saw the results of approximately 50 years of breeding the Jersey cow under a wide variety of trying climatic circumstances. We saw the coming together of genetics as widely sourced as the UK, Jersey, New Zealand, Canada and the USA and smoothly fused into the Brazilian Jersey – a well adapted dairy cow that are today a growing force in the local dairy industry.
During our meetings we made decisions about the administration, finances and future of the Bureau. We are investigating ways of meeting the challenges of the 21st century and at the same time achieving the main aim of the WJCB namely; TO PROMOTE THE JERSEY COW AND HER PRODUCTS. When meeting within a limited time scale, people always tend to commit themselves and their organizations quite easily, but to get the commitments delivered is a different matter. During our meetings in Brazil numerous undertakings were given and luckily within the WJCB we have a group of extremely dedicated and hardworking Jersey-holics. These people are working on numerous projects as diverse as “The Future of the Bureau” and updating the constitution of the Bureau to meet the new challenges and circumstances. We are also seeing the regular distribution of the new electronic WJCB e-NEWS, not only to keep our members informed about WJCB activities, but also as a way to engage members and member associations on a ongoing way in Bureau matters.
Jerseys Without Borders
This aptly selected theme for the 18th Conference in Jersey, are truly also an extremely suited heading for the 2007/8 activities of the Bureau and Jersey breeders on a world wide scale. Here we saw the first Jersey cross calf born in Suriname – what a great day for this small South American country, but surely a day they will never regret! Gerald Tjon A San, the project leader, assures me that the local small farmers enjoy working on this new project and are excitingly waiting for the first animals to come into production. As we saw in Rwanda, these small beginnings might be the start of big things to come. Again this year we saw another shipment of Jerseys from South Africa arriving in this small central African country. As we will hear during the meetings in Jersey, this must surely count as the biggest re-stocking success story anywhere in the world today and I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate all and everybody involved. Here I would like to highlight Heifer Project International, Jersey SA, the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society and the Rwandan government for their big effort. I had the opportunity to visit this project and it is really a testimony to sustainable development! The first shipment of Jerseys from South Africa also arrived successfully in Ghana. Hopefully the start of big things to come in Western Africa.
In Eastern Europe the once healthy Jersey population of Albania has been re-activated with the assistance of Denmark; in a Canadian driven project, the first group of embryo calves were born in the Ukraine, with embryos also going to Cyprus and Jersey populations are growing in Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria and Poland. In South America exciting happenings include a massive New Zealand investment drive in Uruguay, with more than 20 thousand Holstein heifers inseminated with Jersey semen. We also saw the opening of a new “Dairy Route” around beautiful Lake Llanquique in the lake district of Chile, where the Jersey cow and her products are the main attraction. In each and every country in Latin America we saw an increase in Jersey semen sales in the last 12 months, the start of great things to come!
North America also surprised us once again with unbelievable growth numbers in registered animals, breed society members, as well as semen sales locally and exported to all parts of the world. Apart from the healthy growth in semen sales in New Zealand and Australia, we also saw some healthy exports from these two traditional stalwarts of the Jersey breed.
As I report on the conclusion of another healthy and successful year in the annuals of the WJCB, I would like to use this opportunity to thank all member societies, life members and Jersey breeders from around the world for the opportunity to serve as President and work with the breed and its’ wonderful people over the last 6 years. I had the opportunity to visit Jersey breeders, their farms, judge show and give talks in about sixty countries worldwide. Only then, after seeing the Jersey work under all possible circumstances, do you really realize the wonder of the Jersey cow.
Johannes van Eeden,
President, World Jersey Cattle Bureau May 2008