< Introducing Andy King as the new BCBC Chair for 2024-2025
BCBC Chair, Andy King

It is a great honour and privilege to have been elected chairman of the British Cattle Breeder’s Club for 2024-25. The year ahead is built on the outstanding and hugely successful conference that took place in January under the chairmanship of Ben Harman and the immensely hard-working and talented committee.

I experience a mixture of ‘excitement’ and ‘apprehension’ as we navigate the conference planning stages. However, I have a sixth sense that the British Cattle Breeders Club will deliver in a thought provoking and positive manner the message that cattle breeders are crucial in delivering food security as well as having a positive influence on environmental stewardship.

Cattle breeding, from fundamental research to practical nutritious food delivery relies on a multi-disciplinary family, or as Ben Harman stated last year ‘a Village’.

Within the cattle sector we are expected to continue to push the boundaries of efficiency and judicious use of natural resources that may or may not be replenishable. The farming community has continuously been challenged to ‘produce two from where we used to produce one’ but now we can also add ‘produce better and tread more lightly’ whilst we are doing so.

Regeneration is recognising the need to put things right and within cattle breeding we have to protect, maintain and develop all the tools in the toolbox that allow our farmers to continue to farm resiliently in diverse systems that protect the natural capital that is the farm.

Part of our way forward is to look at the future herd both in terms of the farmed cattle and those that are farming them. Technology is starting to deliver benefits in cattle management beyond simple labour saving, especially in the areas of health management and production monitoring.

Where are we going in terms of AI? Now no longer just our historic cattle breeding terminology but developing artificial stockmanship. Do our cattle have traits that are more positive leaning towards artificial management.

Finally, we have to support and promote diversity and the protection of the gene bank as key tools our researchers and scientists use to understand and develop traits needed for future cattle generations.

I would welcome and encourage anyone with an interest in cattle breeding and genetics to join us at the conference from whatever their role in the industry is. As a club we are continually looking to inspire and promote the future generation of cattle breeders and the conference provides a unique backdrop to network and meet new friends and old.

I look forward to meeting you at the conference in January 2025.