As you are aware, the Wagyu Breeders Association (WBA) was successfully launched back in November 2014. Thanks to the support of a core number of pedigree and commercial breeders, industry bodies, farming press and sponsors, this has given the Association the confidence to build on its initial success and put in place the foundation blocks upon which to build a dynamic Breed Society. I am therefore taking the opportunity here to write with a progress report on what has been achieved since the official launch and to invite you to attend the WBA Spring Conference taking place in and around York on Thurs 21st - Fri 22nd May to coincide with the National Beef Association's Beef Expo.
When I think what we have achieved in that time and what we are about to announce, I really do believe exciting times for the UK beef industry and Members of the Wagyu Breeders Association lie ahead. Our aim remains to make the breeding and marketing of Wagyu beef and genetics as simple, straightforward and cost-effective as we can whilst maintaining a premium for unique Wagyu beef.
We have agreed in principle three important contracts, and full details will be announced officially at our Spring Conference this coming May:
- Firstly, the WBA is to work together with one of the foremost international Wagyu Associations to link in with its considerable membership, registration and performance recording facilities. We have negotiated a package which will, in short, give WBA Members automatic membership of this body at no additional cost than our standard annual membership subscription. We believe this offers excellent value for money and brings with it the added benefit of a world-class registration and performance recording facility including all that goes with it.
- Secondly, we have negotiated considerable Member benefits with a leading Tag Company for a 'British Wagyu' branded tissue punch tag which will allow DNA parentage testing to be carried out to assure traceability and meat integrity. Doubling as a management tag, we are confident that this will enable WBA Members to not only market their Wagyu beef product using the 'British Wagyu' brand but one which will also stand up to scrutiny as and when required thus enabling producers to demand a premium price for our unique product. These tags and branding will be exclusive to WBA Members. DNA samples can be stored free of charge for a number of years and utilised at a later date to confirm identification at point of slaughter thus ticking the box for the processor and retailer.
- Thirdly, a 'vehicle' in the shape of a database interface then becomes necessary to tie up the administration element, so WBA will be using an exciting new UK company which has constructed for us a custom-built online portal to allow Members to submit animal details, order branded tags and carry out DNA parentage work. For both the tags and DNA, a small levy will come back to the WBA to help fund its forward work. There will also be an optional link, at additional cost for those Members that wish it, to BCMS to allow the statutory passport applications to go ahead within the same single click.
Trusting that this has whet your appetite, the WBA Board very much hope you will be able to attend the Wagyu Breeders Association Spring Conference to be held in and around York Thurs 21st-Friday 22nd May 2015 where all the above will be rolled out, with an opportunity for existing and prospective Members and all interested parties to see it for themselves. The two-day event includes a WBA stand at the National Beef Association's Beef Expo at York Market on Thursday 21st May followed by a Farm Walk and practical demonstration of the tagging and website interface to be held courtesy of Jonathan Shepherd at Field House Farm, Tibthorpe, Driffield on the Friday. We will also be looking at the crossbred and purebred cattle under Jonathan’s management as well as sampling the best of Wagyu beef!
Please keep an eye on the www.britishwagyu.co.uk website for further updates, plus a full programme and timings. We look forward to seeing you again in May so you can hear for yourself all the Wagyu news and benefits that are going to be on offer. If you would like to attend, please register your interest by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. British Wagyu is a brand which we are confident is going places and we thank you for your continued interest and support. Do keep an eye on the website for all the latest news and WBA announcements.
Chairman, Wagyu Breeders Association