About Nozaki-gyu

Staff Column

Overcoming a devastating crisis to become No.1 in Japan. Ever deepening reflections of the cattle

Chief Captain Hiroaki Sueyoshi

Chief Captain Hiroaki Sueyoshi

In charge of calf procurement (Introduction Supervisor) and sales locally and in the Kansai Region

The Nozaki-gyu are very calm

Nozaki

Some of the cattle will lie down on their sides to sleep while others will nudge up close to people. If you close your eyes and listen while in the livestock barn the only sounds you will hear are classical music softly playing in the background and the ventilation fans turning. You will not hear the cattle lowing or moving around. Why are all these cattle so quiet and calm?


Selecting cattle with calm dispositions

When procuring the calves, those that are nervous when touched by people or that are high strung are not selected.
This personality or disposition is often the result of how they were raised after being born. If people treat the calves roughly or care for them without affection, they will become high-strung calves. We cannot understand the language of the cattle, but there are surely times they want to say something, want to communicate something.

The tending staff members must have a deep enough relationship with the cattle to sense what they want to communicate. Then they must use their hearts and minds and inquire of their mentors to find better ways to resolves the issues.

Being able to produce Nozaki-gyu depends on this.

Young Staff Members

While the average age nationwide of people working in the livestock industry is said to be over 60, the average age of Nozaki staff is 25. They can work hard and can handle some overwork when necessary. They are also mentally sharp and are eager to learn. They have the flexibility to think only of what they must do for the cattle without being bound by convention or routine.

They overcome their lack of experience by coordinating closing with the company president and other mentors. Being close in age makes it easy for them to work as a group and to try new things.

To Young People Seeking a Career in the Livestock Industry

Of course, the agricultural knowledge you learn in school is important. However, only about one-tenth of what is learned in agricultural school is useful for the fattening work at Nozaki of raising the living cattle.

The most important prerequisites are loving cattle, loving life, and loving living things.
People without these are not suited for this work.

If you want to devote yourself to livestock production and pursue it in depth, then Nozaki is the place to do it.

Overcoming a Devastating Flood to Win Top Honors at the National Beef Cattle Dressing Competition for 2 Consecutive Years

It was the evening of July 22, 2006. Heavy rains had poured down for several straight days causing the Sendai River to washout the dike. The Nozaki Farm with its cattle barns along the river was directly hit by the thundering muddy water as it rushed in. The raging river swallowed up the approximately 1,800 head of cattle in the barns in an instant.

Devastating Flood

Flood waters rose over 2.5m to the eaves of the cattle barns.
The cattle weighing in at 400 kg each were washed away by the force of the flood waters.

Some of the cattle swam desperately with only their noses above water. Others were pressed against the stalls in the cattle barns and could not move. Yet others had sustained serious injuries to their legs making it nearly impossible for them to swim.

The staff members that watched the cattle they had cared for daily with affection be swept away and suffering from injuries fought off the attempts by the company president to stop them and plunged into the fouled flood waters to lead the cattle one head at a time to high ground. The staff members jumped in one after the other.

During the 24 hours until the waters receded the staff of Nozaki along with the Self Defense Forces and local volunteers worked desperately to save the cattle.

Devastating Flood

Sleepless Recovery Work

The more than 1 meter of manure and sludge laid down by the turbid flood waters had to be removed. The recovery work went on for days under the burning mid summer sun. The staff members were pushed to their limits both physically and emotionally.

But neither the company president nor the staff had time to be depressed.
All of the staff members learned from experience the know-how necessary to procure cattle, establish a life line, recover the data from the destroyed administrative office, and build the system. Much aid was provided from people around the country including full cooperation from the Kamichiku Company and backup from the Tokyo Meat Market and purchasers.

Thanks to this aid, by 3 days after the disaster the huge amount of sludge had been removed from the floors and after a week the farm had been restored to a state close to that prior to the disaster. We were able to acquire 130 head of breed stock at the August auction.

Three months after the disaster and then on to No.1 in Japan for two straight years

It was October 27, just 3 months after the disaster.
Nozaki Farm won top honors at the 2006 National Beef Cattle Dressing Competition, the biggest event at the Tokyo Meat Market. The cattle that were swallowed up by the flood had demonstrated their vitality.

Then at the 2007 National Beef Cattle Dressing Competition the next year Nozaki won the Honorary Award, which is the highest honor. The cattle that were just calves at the time of the disaster grew up to be excellent cattle despite the trauma and exceptional circumstances brought about by the flood.

Sueyoshi

This meant that Nozaki was No.1 in Japan for two straight years. Upon receiving this honor, the staff members who had given their all to rescue and treatment of the cattle during the disaster paid their respects to the image of the Bato Deity of Mercy.

Overcoming the crisis strengthened the trust among the staff members and deepened their consideration for the cattle.

Today the president and the staff continue caring for the cattle with unwavering conviction.


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About Nozaki-gyu

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NOZAKI Agricultural Production Cooperative
[NOZAKI-Farm]

Satsumasendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture