Late president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) fulfilled many political wishes during his lifetime, not least of which was securing democracy for Taiwan, but one remained — transforming the nation’s beef industry.
Lee hoped to achieve this by developing a Taiwanese breed of cattle that was better than Japanese breeds, known for their prime quality meat.
In 2016, Lee, who held a doctorate in agricultural economics from Cornell University, purchased 19 heads of cattle which had been put out to pasture on the Qingtiangang (擎天崗) grassland of Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei.
Photo: Hua Meng-ching, Taipei Times
The cattle were later verified as an ancestor breed of Tajima, a native Japanese breed brought to Taiwan during World War II.
They were transported to a dairy farm in Hualien County, with clean air and vast grassland, which Lee selected to fulfill his retirement “dream” of breeding Taiwanese prime beef cattle, the Lee Teng-hui Foundation said.
At the farm, Lee carried out his ambitious plan of developing a breed he called Yuansing (源興), using molecular breeding technologies, former Council of Agriculture (COA) minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said.
Photo: Hua Meng-ching, Taipei Times
Chen said that Lee had great hopes for Taiwan’s beef industry.
Working with Taiwanese universities and professionals in Japan, Lee’s team used advanced technologies to test the quality of the cattle and analyze their DNA, while breeding cattle adapted to the local climate, Chen said.
Lee did not just want to breed Taiwan-exclusive prime beef cattle, he wanted to “thoroughly transform Taiwan’s beef industry,” Chen said.
Photo: Hua Meng-ching, Taipei Times
Yu Mei-yun (游美雲), a manager at Harvest Ranch in Hualien’s Fenglin Township (鳳林), said that Lee’s breeding project had been a top secret kept by a professional team.
In the past few months, no dairy farm employees have been permitted to enter the cowsheds housing the Yuansing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
However, Lee’s team helped nurse 300 milk cows at the farm, raising their output, which in turn made a fortune for the farm, Yu said.
Since 2016, Lee, despite being in his 90s, visited the farm every year for three consecutive years, she said, adding that he carefully inspected every breeding detail in person, she added.
Lee had planned a visit again early this year, but it was canceled after he fell ill, Yu said.
In honor of Lee, Harvest Ranch on Friday changed the name of its main road — near the ranch’s largest patch of grassland — to “Teng-hui Boulevard” (登輝大道).
Chen praised Lee’s efforts to transform the nation’s agricultural sector, pushing the traditional agricultural industries to use modern farming technologies.
In 1997 — when the pork industry was hit by foot-and-mouth disease, resulting in the mass slaughter of hogs — the predecessor to the COA, with Lee’s support, encouraged small hog farms near water conservation areas to withdraw from the industry, Chen said.
The policy was aimed at reducing water pollution caused by pig farming, while bringing technology to improve the bigger farms, Chen said.
While governor of the then-Taiwan Provincial Government, from 1981 to 1984, Lee initiated a policy to cultivate 80,000 professional farmers to produce enough crops to support the nation’s rural economy, former COA official and Tainan deputy mayor Hsu Han-chin (許漢卿) said.
Many follow-up measures, including promoting Taiwan to join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the WTO, helped Taiwan’s agriculture industry connect with international markets, he added.
Many residents of Luye Township (鹿野), in agriculture-dominated Taitung County, remembered Lee as the “parent of rural villages,” who revived a local tea-producing village in the area, former Luye Farmers’ Association executive Pan Yun-feng (潘永豐) said.
On April 9, 1982, Lee visited Yongan Village (永安), which grew oolung tea. Several days later, he named the locally produced tea “fulu tea” (福鹿茶), which made it famous, Pan said.
At peak production, 80 percent of Yongan villagers were involved in growing and producing tea, with children picking tea stems to earn pocket money, women picking tea leaves in gardens and men producing tea, Pan said.
“The crop has become prosperous,” Pan added.
The tea industry continues to flourish in the Luye area with new products, including the so-called “red oolong” developed in 2007, Pan said.
Recalling that Lee had visited the Luye tea-growing area six times, with the last visit in 2014, Pan said the former president asked for fulu Tea every time he stayed at a local hotel.
Lee had even planted a tree at the hotel and named it “Taiwan Everlasting Tree.”
“He always thought about the farmers,” Pan said.
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
MEDICINAL HERB: The FRIL protein extracted from hyacinth beans helped laboratory mice survive H1N1 infection and effectively neutralized the coronavirus A protein isolated from hyacinth beans, a medicinal herb known for centuries, has been found to restrict the activities of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses in laboratory experiments, a team of Academia Sinica researchers said yesterday. The beans’ curative effect is documented in the 16th-century Chinese medicine classic Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目) and they are also a food source in some countries, the Genomics Research Center’s Chemical Biology Division Director Alex Ma (馬徹) told a news conference in Taipei. Center senior research specialist Jan Jia-tsrong (詹家琮) experimented with up to 500 medicinal herbs to see if they could restrict influenza viruses and