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World Jersey Cattle Bureau

Report from the Secretary 2014

 

This report is presented in two parts; the first part covers the activities of the Secretariat since the Annual Meetings in Australia in May 2013 to date, together with any action points agreed.  The second part covers the subject which has engendered much discussion during the period, being the future strategy of the Bureau.

Activities of the Secretariat:

The administration of the Bureau has been undertaken to a professional standard to meet internationally accepted standards of good governance and in accordance with the statutory obligations for a body corporate as constituted.  Specific activities included:

  • Statutory record keeping:  The minute book, register of members, ledger of office holders and financial accounts have been maintained and updated.  The archive has been re-organised and filed in an accessible and logical format, a register of which has been appended to this report.
  • Communication:  The web site has been updated as information is made available and the contact database extended to some 1,600 individuals and companies involved with the Jersey breed.  The Facebook page has been launched and now has some 2,250 followers.  Regular newsletters and information updates have been circulated by email to members.  Regular updates are circulated to the officer team throughout the period between meetings.
  • Meeting planning:  Regular liaison has been maintained between the WJCB office and the host associations for the annual meetings and conference.  The Secretariat congratulates Jersey Australia for the highly successful annual meetings in that country in 2013 and the professional manner in which the arrangements were made at relatively short notice.  The Secretariat also acknowledges the close liaison achieved with Jersey SA in planning for the 20th International Conference and is confident that the event will be very successful.
  • Advertising for the position of Secretary:  A request for proposals was circulated advertising the position of Secretary as agreed at the Annual Meeting on the proposition of the current Secretary.  Two proposals have been received; one from the RJA&HS in the Isle of Jersey to continue the current arrangements and one from Adela Booth Associates in the UK on a similar basis.  The Council will be asked to make an appointment for the period from the end of the 20th International Conference in 2014 until the end of the 21st International Conference in 2018.   
  • JETA 2014:  The JETA programme has been run attracting a record number of applications.
  • Distribution of the ‘Dairy Queen’ publication:  The initial print run was received and stored by the Secretariat.  Distribution of some 1,500 copies has been undertaken to 17 countries.   There were 1,221 copies in stock as at 31/12/2013.   
  • International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) Breed Association Task Force:  The Secretariat contributed to the initial meetings of the Task Force.  In summary:
    • The TF endorsed the ICAR proposal to facilitate parentage testing subject to further discussion and detailed agreement on data access.  The proposal is fully described in the proceedings of the ICAR 2014 Berlin meeting.
    • The TF agreed to support the proposal to harmonise and standardise breed code usage.
    • The TF recommended that it becomes a standing ICAR Working Group to facilitate communication between ICAR and the breed associations.
  • WJCB Scientific Advisory Committee:  The Secretary will present a report on this to the meeting in South Africa in September.

 

WJCB Future Strategy:

The Secretary undertook a strategy review which was circulated to the Officers in September 2013.  It is reproduced below to form the basis of discussion at the meetings in South Africa and is recommended to be read in conjunction with the Secretary’s Report for 2013.

Strategy Review 2013

This paper has been prepared following the Annual Council Meeting in Australia, 14th to 17th May 2013, during which the Council agreed “that the Secretary drafts a strategy review for the Officers to consider and further presentation at the conference next year”. 

Background:

The WJCB activities have evolved considerably over time and the following points represent a summary of some of the key stages of that evolution.

·         Inception of the WJCB

The initial impetus for an ‘international meeting’ came from concerns expressed by cattle breeders in South Africa over standards of animals being exported following the Second World War and that some international standards should be adopted for the trade in animals.  Having convened a meeting in the Island of Jersey in 1949 the attendees agreed to formalise an international forum in the body of the WJCB, which held its first meetings in 1951. 

·         The initial ‘strategy’

Discussions during the early years concluded with a range of suggested activities that the WJCB should become involved with, which included: Standards of milk recording and butterfat testing, standards of a Scale of Points, travelling scholarships for students, possibility of considering appointment of International Judges, marketing of Jersey milk and payment on a quality basis, production of a complete history of the breed on an international basis for distribution throughout the world, inviting livestock authorities from various countries to contribute articles which would be of definite interest to Jersey breeders, research into the feeding and management of Jersey cattle, world publicity on behalf of the breed.

·         The Constitution

The original constitution was adopted to enable the WJCB to undertake a broad range of activities and it had established a format for regular international conferences and study tours based in countries with significant populations of Jersey cattle.

·         The 1992 Think Tank

The States of Jersey offered the WJCB a base in the Island of Jersey in the form of an office at a ‘peppercorn rent’.  This triggered the formation of a ‘think tank’ to ‘look at the role of the Bureau, to establish a Mission Statement, and to analyse how the centre could best be used to meet the needs of the Bureau’. The Council adopted the following Mission Statement:

The WJCB is an international organisation composed of national Jersey associations, individuals and other organisations working cooperatively to improve the profitability of the Jersey cow and to ensure members receive a return on investment.”  Further detail was provided in the following list of activities:

-      Coordinate, cooperate and communicate with all members societies.

-      Provide the agricultural community with information about the Jersey and to promote the Jersey breed worldwide.

-      Identify subjects requiring Jersey specific research and encourage such research.

-      Develop, establish and maintain an effective communications network for breed promotion.

-      Maintain a sound financial position for the Bureau.

-      Encourage goodwill amongst members and the agricultural community.

There was much planning around the appointment of a Scientific Advisor and Information Officer, both of which were subsequently made.  These posts were cut by 2007 partly as a result of budget constraints but also as a result of information being freely available through the rapid growth in the internet. 

·         Swiss Report

In 2006 following the appointment of a new Secretary (see below) there was a further look at the aims and objectives of the Bureau and some new minor changes made to operating procedures.  A report was commissioned to be presented at the Annual Meetings in Brazil in 2007 which recommended that:

The following policies shall be adopted to further the preceding objectives:

a)     The Bureau shall primarily be a coordinating and an advisory body having no jurisdiction over the internal affairs or domestic policies of its National Members, National Associate Members or National Affiliated Members.

b)    The Bureau shall facilitate international conferences, regional conferences and annual council meetings.

c)     The Bureau may publish and disseminate information concerning the promotion and enhancement of the Jersey breed.

d)    The Bureau may encourage the education of young people interested in the Jersey breed by organizing Youth Travel between countries.

·         Development of Secretariat

The position of Secretary for the Bureau is crucial as it is the most senior position within the Bureau that is not subject to a term of office and therefore should provide continuity for the organisation.  The current President, Derrick Frigot, held the post for some 29 years (1976-2005), followed by Suzanne Le Feuvre for 2 years (2005-2006).  The current Secretary took over the position in 2006 for the Annual Meetings in Brazil and has held the position for last 7 years.  The substantial change in this arrangement is that the current Secretary holds the position by virtue of a secretariat agreement between the Bureau and the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society whereby the RJA&HS provides a full administration service. 

 

Current situation:

The current Secretary, at the Annual Meetings in Brazil in 2007, was charged with undertaking a review of the Constitution as well as preparing a strategy for the Bureau.  It became apparent that the legal status of the Bureau was defective and this was addressed by incorporating the Bureau in the Island of Jersey.  The Constitution was updated to reflect this and the aims and objectives kept sufficiently broad to enable the Bureau maximum flexibility in activities.  This approach was favoured to enable the Bureau to adopt new initiatives without having to revert to court to petition for an amendment to the Act of Incorporation.  The focus of activity was therefore to come from the working strategy.

 

Current Strategy:

In 2007 the new Secretary prepared a paper for the Council that considered the future direction of the Bureau and opined that “The aim for the future, however, must be to develop the Bureau into an organisation, to which all Jersey breeders feel it is worth belonging, that is respected throughout the global dairy industry as being dynamic and provides solutions or positions on issues that are relevant.  To do this the Bureau needs to identify ‘vital functions’ that, as an organisation, it is best placed to deliver.  In a globalised trading world the need for an effective international body promoting the breed must be more relevant than ever.

The Secretary then proposed to the Council at the Annual Meeting in the USA in 2009 that the Bureau adopt a strategy that focused on four strands, all of which the Bureau is either uniquely placed to deliver or is at the core of its original 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.

This resulted in an action plan which focused on the following initiatives which correspond to the four strands outlined above:

Ø  Development of a new website linked with direct electronic communication to members (Points 1 & 4). 

Ø  The maintenance of the International Conferences, Annual Meetings and Study Tours along with the WJCB International Awards Scheme and the initiation of the World Jersey Cheese Awards (Points 2 & 4)

Ø  The consolidation of the youth travel initiative into a suite of programmes; the Jersey Educational travel Award (JETA), the Jersey Scholarship Travel Award and the WJCB / Agriventure Jersey Youth Travel Scheme (Point 3).

Following the Annual Meetings in Australia in 2013 a new Facebook page has been opened and an extensive list of contacts (in excess of 1,700) has been added to the electronic mailing list to further spread the WJCB message, both of these initiatives are in support of points 1 and 2.  Also a Scientific Advisory Committee has been formed in support of point 4. 

The Bureau has also taken a lead internationally on the issue of ethics in cattle photography as well as ‘ownership’ of the Jersey name in terms of trade marks.

 

Future Strategy:

The Secretary’s Report for 2013 set out a challenge to the Council in two areas, firstly that after a term of 7 years it is appropriate for the position of Secretary to be advertised around the world seeking expressions of interest to enable the Council to consider all available options.  This was done in June 2013.  Secondly, that the Council consider the role of the Bureau in the future particularly in relation to the limited resources available and the focus of the Bureau in terms of relationships with the national associations, individual life members and other Jersey breeders.

A critique presented by European Vice President can be summarised as follows:

  • The Bureau lacks relevance to individual Jersey breeders ‘on the ground’.
  • The Bureau should be more active in:
    •  Assisting countries with small populations of Jersey cattle.
    • Marketing (promoting?) the breed.
    • Supplying information about the breed.
  • The Bureau income relies too heavily on commissions from the annual meetings and conferences.

·         The study tours and meetings are too costly and do not attract sufficient numbers of active (younger?) farmers.

 

What next?

The role of the Officers of the Bureau must be to take this paper and discuss whether the current strategy is appropriate, in line with the available resources, and consider any amendments. 

 

There will be considerable agenda time allocated to the discussion of this subject at the Council and Bureau meetings in 2014.

Respectfully submitted

James W Godfrey, MSc, FRAgS, MRAC

Secretary

June 2014

 

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