It is a great honour and privilege to have been electedChairman of the British Cattle Breeders Club and I am excited to be leading the club into a new decade. As Chairman, I will guide and mentor the club through 2019 and on to the prestigious and world-renowned conference in 2020.
I should like to begin by thanking and paying tribute to our outgoing Chairperson, Anya Westland. My sincere congratulations to Anya and her committee on a job well done. I am also delighted to offer a warm welcome to new committee members Amy Hughes, Ruari Martin, Melissa Roberts and Fern Pearston who have joined the team. We have already started planning for this year’s events, culminating in the annual conference in 2020. Our aim for the conference is to embrace the ‘sea change’ our industry is facing, and in this we are not alone. Climate change affects us all, but through succession, sustainability and leadership we can all play our part as we enter a new decade.
I first attended the BCBC conference in 2010 and it was then that we all looked towards 2020 as our next key milestone and planned our strategies to take us there. We should all take time to reflect on the last ten years and to also start planning the next five and beyond. Back in 2010 we did not know that we would be about to embark on a new journey, outside of the EU, and so with Brexit here we have the opportunity to focus positive attention on breeding beef and dairy cattle that will suit our systems, meet consumer demands and fulfil market requirements.
Continuing to evolve while strengthening co-operation will be vitally important in light of increasing pressure on the livestock industry from recent negative campaigns via social media and other channels. As we look to the future, it is imperative that we continue to shine the best possible light on the cattle breeding industry. Ours is an industry that not only strives for high levels of animal health, welfare and production efficiency, but also aims to deliver high quality and nutritious animal protein products. In this spirit, I challenge each of you to show that we are the driving force behind a more sustainable agriculture sector, as we step towards a future in which breeding for more efficient animals takes ever more precedence.
We are proud that farmers, researchers, students and all manner of industry stakeholders continue to support the BCBC. Through the work of our club, our members can engage in lively discussions and embrace the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest developments in research, technology and best farming practices. Our members are central to helping us achieve our core mission of enhancing the future of UK cattle breeding and genetics.
The broad cross-section of conference delegates provides excellent networking opportunities. Equally important is the social element of the Club; there is great camaraderie among members and a real sense of belonging. The BCBC always welcomes newcomers and gives everyone an oppor tunity to get involved. I would urge anyone with an interest in the UK cattle industry to join us – the annual Club fee is only £35 and offers discounts for our annual two-and-a-half day conference, access to the conference reports, talking slides, farm walks and a quarterly magazine – offering great value for money.
The club’s challenge; Delivering succession, sustainability, healthy planet and healthy people.