The official launch of the Wagyu Breeders Association (WBA) took place in Tetbury, Gloucestershire on 11th-12th November 2014. With around 100 people in attendance comprising of existing and prospective breeders, commercial producers, butchers and chefs, as well as members of the wider farming industry and national press, the two day event proved a great success for the growing UK industry.
Wagyu cattle originate from Japan and the first exports began in the 1970s to the United States, followed by Australia in the 1990s and more recently to the UK where a core group of breeders, commercial producers, butchers and restaurateurs specialise in what is widely held to be the world’s finest-tasting beef.
The two-day event was hailed a ‘tremendous success’ by WBA Chairman, Mike Tucker, Church Farm, Long Newnton, Glocs who added: “I am delighted with the response we have had to the launch. Wagyu beef is renowned for its marbling which intensifies flavour and tenderness, and explains why Wagyu beef is reputed to be the finest and most tender tasting in the world.”
The fledgling Wagyu Breeders Association, one of few new UK Breed Society established in the last 20 years, aims to promote Wagyu cattle breeding and its premium beef to add value to all parts of the supply chain. A very promising number of new Members have now joined the WBA, said Mr Tucker, and will now be consulted by the Board to help formulate a strategic plan going forward.
An informal ‘Wagyu & Wine’ evening on the Tuesday was followed by the formal launch on the Wednesday which comprised a balanced programme encompassing: the aims of the new Association; breeding and genetic advances; feeding and rearing together with beef marketing. Wagyu beef was centre-stage on no fewer than three occasions with different chefs conjuring up a range of dishes to underline not only the taste but also the versatility of the meat.
Keynote speaker was Rob Cumine, Agriculture Manager for Coles Supermarket (Australia), and founder of Clearview Farming, Pembrokeshire – a combination which gives him a unique insight into Wagyu genetics having been involved in breeding programmes both in Australia and the UK. In his presentation, Mr Cumine underlined the importance of meat integrity and provenance. Post-launch, the WBA’s first task is to identify the technology required to meet the rigours of animal identification and traceability which will be at the heart of its BlackGold certified British Wagyu beef brand.