Happy Herefords International - The power of the world wide web
April to September is a busy time for Happy Herefords, we are out and about most weekends and often during the week selling our beeftastic #Herefordbeef.
So when an enquiry comes through my website from an Italian farmer wanting to buy a bunch of Pedigree Hereford heifers for breeding I kind of took it with a pinch of salt.
I sent a brief email back explaining what heifers I had available and their ages, I also explained that most of them were British Polled Herefords (more on this later). Thought that would be the end of it.
Then a request came though for some pictures.
At this stage I was fairly flat out with catering at run of late May Agric shows and young farmers rallies not really any time to take pictures so we established a conversation on whatsapp. I sent a couple of videos I had taken on my phone when the heifers were turned out and another about 4 weeks after. The following day I sent another of the heifers in their current condition.
Turned out they liked them and wanted to take them all. Happy 1 Mojito and her little crew were sold!
I explained that 7 of the 11 were British Polled so whilst they were pedigree Herefords in every sense of the word the world Hereford council would not allow their paper pedigree to be exported.
Turns out it didn't matter.
The Italian farmers liked what they saw and we're keen to get the girls to Italy so that they could acclimatise before the weather got really hot.
So started a fairly hectic chain of events, in amongst cooking burgers all of a sudden there was cattle work to do!
A day was spent rebuilding a winter housing pen and fetching some very bemused heifers in from a very lush green field of grass.
Over the following week my trusty regular vet Mr Jeremy Beck managed to find space in his schedule and the heifers were tested for TB, BVD, and IBR,, there followed a very tense period of waiting for the results to come through (worse than waiting for your GCSE results!!) thankfully all test results returned negative - the girls were on their way, Happy Herefords were going International!
At the same time it was all systems go on the paperwork; I am indebted to Kirsty Westaway of @MelviewFarming for completing all the export paperwork, liasing with AHPA export office in Carlisle, the official veterinarian (OV), the Italian haulier, sorting out the journey logs, and generally just keeping me sane during the process!
24 hours before the day of departure at 3pm the OV came from Hook Norton Vet Practice to inspect the heifers and deem them fit for travel, this appointment was timed to the last nanosecond having fed 300 hungry schoolchildren Near Cambridge in the space of one hour, packing up the big grill trailer and hot footing it back to the farm to pull in 3 minutes before the vet arrived. A few more nerve racking moments whilst the vet inspected the heifers and thankfully decided they were 'good to go'. We had 24 hours to get the heifers loaded and on their way!
3 hours later all the export paperwork was completed, signed off with copies in triplicate all prepared to be sent off to the various authorities the following morning on departure.
No news from the lorry at this stage, just had to hope it turned up at the allotted 8am loading time the following morning....
6.45am Mojito and her crew had their last English breakfast and packed their suitcases. A phone call from one of the tractor drivers on the estate to say that there was an Italian lorry blocking his drive located the transport!
A brief pigeon Italian/English chat with the two lovely drivers Emmanuels and Georgio, some very strong Italian coffee and by 7.45am we were ready to load the ladies for their long journey. By 8.15am on 27th June 2018 they really were on their way to Italy!
A brief update from the Italian Farmers early the following morning confirmed that Mojito and her crew had made it safely to the stopover and would continue the journey later that day.
The waiting continued.... whilst technically they ceased to be my responsibility once they were loaded on the lorry its always good to know that any cattle you have sold arrive at their destination, be it market, abattoir or halfway across Europe, safely and in good condition.
At noon on 29th June whilst I was busy stoking the charcoal fire that was cooking two pigs for a hog roast a message came through from the Italian Farmers that the heifers had arrived safely, all in one piece and were already settling in in a lush grass paddock... and breathe;).....
Mojito and her crew were the second bunch of English Herefords imported by this forward thinking Italian farm business, together they will form the first herd of pedigree Herefords in Italy, still gives me goosebumps thinking about it....
Even now two weeks later it still feels surreal that a bunch of my heifers, bred by me, shunned by English Hereford breeders because they are British Polled, have been purchased through 3 videos taken on my dodgy old Samsung, passed all their health tests and travelled approx 1200 miles by road and boat to arrive at their new home in the Italian mountains of Lazio region. A month ago they were destined for burgers....
We took a few pictures along the way... check out our instagram, twitter or facebook pages if you're interested @HappyHerefords