by Johannes van Eeden (South Africa)
The WJCB had another fruitful and exciting year since our last meeting in Switzerland. The Jersey cow is acknowledged worldwide today as the most profitable and efficient producer of high component milk and the growing numbers worldwide is a testimony to this. New countries are appearing on the horizon yearly, new shipments of Jerseys are dispatched and larger amounts of semen are sent to more countries annually. These new and exciting developments are also putting new demands on the WJCB and its structures and one of the biggest challenges is the ability to keep on serving this ever growing demand.
The meetings in Switzerland in June 2006 must count as one of the highlights in the development of the WJCB. The agenda was full and the decisions, as portrayed in the minutes, are numerous and far reaching. Not only was the program during our 10 days an example of efficiency and diversity, but it also gave us the opportunity to experience first hand that “big is not always better”. We got to experience the diversity of the Swiss culture and the way the dairy cow is interweaved into their everyday life. We were also introduced to their way of life on the farms and were amazed to see the way the younger generation are assimilated into this very intricate balance of traditional farming and blending that with a hyper modern society. But most of all we experienced a modern example of acculturation – the way the Jersey cow has in a short period of 5 years, since its arrival in Switzerland and through the efficient use of modern breeding methods, established herself as probably the biggest change in the modern dairy history of Switzerland. The way the Jersey has taken up her central place in the life of numerous dairy producers is truly an example of the ability of the Jersey cow to adapt and produce high value milk under extreme different circumstances.
Again our officers were extremely active in their different spheres of the world and reports of Jersey activities around the world affirm the absolute commitment of this extremely dedicated group of people. During the course of the year some of our officers met in different parts of the world and had fruitful discussions and here I specifically think about the coming together of Gonzalo Maldonado, Russel Gammon, Cherrie Bayer, Derrick Frigot and Poena van Niekerk in Madison in the second half of 2006, as well as Russell Gammon meeting up with Poena van Niekerk in South Africa in March 2007. There were also the visits by Derrick Frigot to Denmark the UK and France. Meetings like these give us the opportunity to exchange and share information and keep the momentum of our organization going.
Our International Youth Travel Award program is also keeping the flag of the WJCB flying in different parts of the world. During February and March 2007, I met up with Anne and Robin Corner in South Africa and had the opportunity to discus the details of the program with them. I would once again like to use this opportunity to thank the extremely dedicated Anne Corner (ably assisted and motivated by Robin) as well as her whole team of volunteers around the world, for the fantastic work they are doing. This is an investment for the future and we have seen so many good results.
Two of our able and gifted members also resigned their duties during the course of the year. I would like to thank Ryzcard Skrypek, our scientific adviser and researcher of many years for the dedicated work done over this period. It benefited numerous farmers, scientists, researchers and Jersey enthusiasts from as far affield as Costa Rica to NZ and Africa to the Americas. I would also like to thank Suzanne Le Feuvre for the dedicated work she has done as secretary since 2005. Suzanne has many years of experience with the Bureau and hopefully this knowledge will not be lost in the future.
Before and after the meetings in Switzerland I had a trip through 6 European countries. Apart from taking part in official activities in the Netherlands, it was a pleasure to drive through the rural parts of Germany, France, Belgium and Italy and see Jersey cows. I had meetings with numerous of people in these countries and it is amazing to see the growth in Jersey numbers. In September 2006 I was fortunate to Judge the Prado, national show of Uruguay as well as the regional Jersey show in the province of Entre Rios in Argentina. Here I was fortunate to experience first hand the results of the growth of the Jersey breed in this part of the world, with numerous new Jersey and crossbred herds established.
During the course of the 2006/7 numerous Jerseys and quantities of Jersey semen were exported to different and new Jersey countries around the world. Another batch of pregnant Jersey heifers went from South Africa to Rwanda and it must surely count as one of the most successful restocking programs anywhere in the modern world. Jerseys are flourishing again in Albania and semen was used for the first time in Suriname, a Dutch colony in South America where only Holstein-Friesians were seen until very recently. The export and use of Jersey semen is a worldwide phenomenon and crossbreeding with Jerseys in NZ, Australia, South Africa, the USA, Argentina and Uruguay is an ever growing practise.
I would like to emphasize that it is an honour and privilege to be involved and work with such a group of dedicated Jersey people from all around the world. Yearly I am amazed to see the resurgence of enthusiasm and growth in dedication. I would like to thank each and every one involved with the Bureau and the Jersey breed around the world, for their dedication and effort – the results are there for everyone to see. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank Massaru Kashiwagi for the tremendous amount of work he has put into the planning of our meetings in Brazil in 2007.
Johannes van Eeden,
President, World Jersey Cattle Bureau June 2007