Its been a busy couple of days on the Forum so forgive me for rolling two days into one for the purposes of keeping you all updated.
We had a useful meeting of the European Angus secretariat in Angra do Heroismo City Hall (on Terceira Island) where each of the 10 countries present gave an update on various subjects and we agreed to cooperate more formally in future as well as selecting Estonia as the host of the 2018 European Forum.
Following a fantastic bbq lunch at Quinta do Galo (at which the organisers had arranged a surprise birthday cake for current Society Council member Mark Pilcher of the Gear herd) we moved on to visit the AMBR herd of Alexandra Ramos (known as Lady Angus). Everything, and I mean everything, was pink – tractor, pick-up, Lady Angus’ wellies and even the freebie pens that were being handed out. Sadly, the weather had closed in and the farm, situated on the land known as the patchwork quilt was shrouded in low-lying mist. However, we braved the strong winds and rain and got a look at a small herd of hard working cows and calves. The day finished with the closing dinner at the impressive Pousanda Forte Angra do Heroismo (built in the 15th century to defend Terceira from the invading Spanish) where Alex Sanger and I had the pleasure of presenting a video covering our plans for next year’s World Forum.
Then came one of my favourite days of the tour. From a personal point of view I managed to get my third and final training run in on this trip for my half marathon race next Sunday in Campbeltown, as well as finding gifts for my wife and three sons all by myself (I’ll keep Susie’s a secret of course, but I doubt my sons will be reading this so can tell you that three replica Portugal football shirts are buried somewhere in my luggage!).
On a professional level I was fortunate to be able to get a personal tour of one of the best herds of Aberdeen-Angus cows I’ve seen since starting this job. The Portuguese Association President, Luis Machado’s QT herd was a tremendously even line up of medium sized functional cows rearing some pretty impressive calves. Cows appeared to be in good condition (about 3.5 without being able to handle them) and 650-700kg liveweight with good udders and structure throughout. Upon leaving Luis’ herd we headed off for yet another good lunch and I was honoured to be asked by the organisers to present Paulo Costa, their secretary and principle organiser for the Forum, with a short thank you speech and a gift on their behalf.
The Portugese, and in particular their secretary and now my firm friend, Paulo Costa, deserve a huge amount of credit. They have put on a superb event and despite being relatively new to the Aberdeen-Angus family, were rightly rewarded with a lot of support from breeders all over Europe as well as Billy Estrada from Mexico and Kirk Wildman from Canada. We have a lot to live up to next year, but rest assured the organising committee for next year’s World Angus Forum in the UK and Ireland are on it and determined to deliver a memorable event.