It has now been three months since a very successful Wagyu Spring Conference & Beef Expo where I was pleased to see many existing and new Members in attendance.
I am pleased to announce the imminent launch of the new Wagyu Interface to incorporate a complete package of tag, registration and DNA, and am writing to give you some important information in advance of its launch.
INTERFACE GOES 'LIVE'
We are delighted with the help and support that our three main partners the Australian Wagyu Association, Caisley& TL Biolabs have given us to create this UK-leading facility and ensure the viability of the WBA for the long term.
You will soon receive an email entitled 'Wagyu Breeders Association - Account Activation' from TL Biolabs (TLB). TLB have built the bespoke online interface for us to handle all Wagyu registrations, tags and DNA as well as invoice generation and payment. Please follow the instructions in the email to log in for the first time with a temporary password which you can then subsequently change for your own security.
IMPORTANT: when you first log in, a connection between the WBA Interface and your animals on BCMS will need to be established. To enable this, you will need your CTS Online ID (3 digits-3 digits-3 digits). You should be able to find this on your original BCMS correspondence or by telephoning BCMS who we believe can give you this information over the ‘phone provided you say that it is for use with 'an approved software package' (which TL Biolabs is). Please note that your 3 digit-3 digit-3 digit CTS Online ID is not your government gateway 16-digit ID. This is for your own security as it means that the WBA Interface has access to your BCMS data only.
The WBA is fully aware that, despite Wagyu being a high-value premium product with a potentially excellent return, finances within farming are extremely tight at the moment. We therefore have to take this into account when looking at the future viability of the Wagyu Breeders Association given the relatively small numbers of pure and crossbred Wagyu animals in the UK and Southern Ireland. This means we have to encourage as many farmers as possible to register their animals under the auspices of the WBA to ensure sufficient income for the work of the Association going forward.
We have listened carefully to commercial farmers for whom the payment of the 'whole package' of registration, tag plus DNA up front adds a considerable amount to the cost of a calf as well as in terms of cash-flow. Therefore, the WBA Board has decided to put in place through the new interface a 'two-stage payment' mechanism for commercial, crossbred animals. The tag and registration will be paid at stage one (when 'clicking' the animal in question on the Interface) with the DNA payable at stage two when the animal reaches 365 days of age provided it has not been marked as 'dead' on BCMS or transferred to a non-member. Please note, this two-stage payment option is for commercial animals only. All pedigree animals have to be routinely DNA'd for both sire and dam so it seems sensible that the registration, tag and DNA package is actioned in one go.
WBA BOARD & ELECTIONS
Can I first remind you that Pearce Hughes stood down as a Board Member earlier in the year simply due to the pressure of his job with Asda combined with a recent new addition to his young family. I would like here to put on record my personal thanks to him for all his enthusiasm and hard work which has been instrumental in getting us to where we are today. I hope one day he might return to the office but fully understood his situation.
We have been extremely fortunate that Rob Cumine has come onto the WBA Board in his place; many of you will know him from being Keynote Speaker at our Official Launch in November 2014. There are few people in the world better qualified as a Director of the WBA, and Rob has already made an impressive impact in the meetings he has been involved in. He brings a wealth of experience with his knowledge of the Wagyu breed, genetics and meat technology. His job with Coles, one of the top supermarkets in Australia, means he is now commuting between Australia and the UK and, as a result, is easily able to communicate with the Australian Wagyu Association on our behalf. He also knows about practical cattle farming with his growing ‘Natural Wagyu’ business in West Wales.
The WBA Board currently numbers five and it is our intention that this increase over time yet still be a manageable number. It would seem sensible that it encompasses the views of its representative areas namely England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland. I would welcome your thoughts on this in terms of Board make-up, numbers and election procedure so please do not hesitate to pass on your views for consideration.
FRIENDS OF THE WBA/ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP
In September, it our intention to launch a ‘Friends of the WBA’ Membership. This is aimed at those with an interest in the Wagyu breed but without cattle to register, namely farm shops, butchers, wholesalers, hotels, restaurants, retailers and processors. Not only will this help as an extra source of income for the WBA but will, we hope, expand the reach of the Association and increase awareness and education at grass roots level.
SPRING CONFERENCE & AGM
The proposed AGM will unfortunately not happen this year due to the priority of getting the new Interface up-and-running. We hope, however, that we can hold an AGM in the Spring next year perhaps in tandem with another successful Spring Conference?
It remains vital to spread the Wagyu ‘message’ throughout the regions and there are opportunities out there to address NBA meetings, NFU talks or other farmer meetings. If you are able to help with any of these or with an Open Day, Farm Walk or other event, please get in touch with Company Secretary Richard Saunders. It is only by getting the word out there on the ground and in front of farmers that we can promote the breed and develop its potential.
Please do not be shy in publicising all Wagyu news as our website and social media (Facebook & Twitter) are garnering a growing following! Please email any news items to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will ‘share’ them as appropriate.
In closing, I am confident that the imminent launch of the new WBA Interface will lead the industry in the provision of 100% integrity to the world’s finest British Wagyu beef.
Wagyu Breeders Association