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Breeders Celebrate 40th Anniversary Of The Border Aberdeen-Angus Club
25/07/06

The role Border breeders have played in the current renaissance of the famous Aberdeen-Angus breed of cattle will be celebrated on the eve of this week’s Border Union Show when the Border Aberdeen-Angus Club stage their 40th anniversary dinner in Kelso.

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Annual registrations of Aberdeen-Angus cattle last year reached a record high of 11,495 bulls and heifers on the back of strong consumer demand for quality Aberdeen-Angus beef which has seen A-A and A-A cross cattle command a substantial premium in the market place.

“The Aberdeen-Angus breed is going from strength to strength and is being driven by demand for beef from major retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Costco, coupled with the attractive premium for prime Aberdeen-Angus beef,” said former breed president, Mrs Marion Tilson, Wedderlie, Gordon, Berwickshire, who is in her second term as chairman of the Border club and whose family have bred Aberdeen-Angus cattle since early last century.  “The breed is on a solid footing for further expansion as more and more commercial beef producers begin to appreciate the breed’s easy calving and easykeep advantages and there is a real opportunity for beef producers to lock into a secure, premium market by opting for Aberdeen-Angus.”

Mrs Tilson said fears that the market for Aberdeen-Angus would reach saturation point as a result of the doubling of registrations over the past decade have proved groundless.

“The market is still growing and meat companies such as Scotbeef, AK Stoddart and Dovecote Park are looking for increased supplies to meet the growing consumer demand for Aberdeen-Angus beef,” said Mrs Tilson.

The Border club was founded in 1966 following concerns expressed by two highly successsful local breeders, Billy Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, and the late Tom Brewis, Eastfield of Lempitlaw, Kelso, that the lucrative post-war market for Aberdeen-Angus cattle to North and South America was on the wane and more needed to be done to promote the breed to commercial suckler herds in the face of strong competition from the Hereford, soon to be followed by the Continental breeds.

On June 28 the club was formally constituted at a meeting in Kelso’s Ednam House Hotel with Mr Brewis as chairman and Jim Stobo, then of Fishwick, Berwick on Tweed, as vice-chairman.

But the driving force behind the success of the club has been breed enthusiast and historian, Rainy Brown, Easter Hendrsyde, Kelso, who was secretary of the club from its inception until his retirement at the AGM later earlier this year. Rainy’s 40 year contribution will be suitably marked at Friday night’s dinner when the guest speaker will be former breed president, Neil Massie, Blelack, Dinnet, Aberdeenshire.

Over the years, the club has organised countless promotional events for the Aberdeen-Angus breed – with commercial beef producers always welcome – with a short summer tour to other areas always being a highlight. No fewer than seven members of the club have served as president of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society since the club was formed.

Members of the club were also instrumental in the 1970’s in selecting the bigger cattle – including importation from Canada - demanded by the modern market to compete with the larger-framed Continental breeds.

The Border Aberdeen-Angus Club, and its members, always forward-thinking and innovative, have played a big part in bringing the Aberdeen-Angus breed back from the brink and restoring it to its rightful position at the top of the British quality beef league. It has been 40 years of change and challenge but the Aberdeen-Angus breed in the Borders is securely placed to make the next 40 years just as illustrious as the past 40.

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