飯舘牛復活へVol.1 和牛繁殖農家 佐藤一郎 英語版

飯舘村にはかつて「飯舘牛」というブランドがありましたが、原発事故による全村避難でほとんどの牛農家が廃業してしまい、高級和牛として知られたブランドは消滅した状態が続いています。

佐藤一郎さんは、原発事故前、7haの水稲栽培と15頭の牛を飼う農家でした。
事故の後は、すぐに空き牛舎を探しました。知人のつてで使われていなかった豚舎を見つけ、自ら改装し牛を移動。家族は相馬市の仮設住宅に避難しました。以後6年間続く避難生活の中で、佐藤さんは地元の和牛繁殖部会に参加し、仲間に迎えられ、牛の育て方など新しい知識にも出会いました。その経験が大きな財産になったと佐藤さんは言います。
避難指示が解除された後、飯舘村に戻ることに迷いはなかったそうです。稲作はできなくても牛で生きていく。そう決意した佐藤さんは、村の支援を受け、新しい牛舎を建設。牛の頭数も大幅に増やし、和牛繁殖一本で生計を立てています。

かつて村おこしに貢献した飯舘牛ブランドの復活は、村民の願いであり、村復興への大きな力となるはずです。村に戻って牛飼いを再開した農家はまだ数軒で、高齢化も進み前途は多難ですが、後を継ぐ若い力も現れています。時間はかかりますが、風評被害を乗り越え飯舘牛が再び消費者の手元に届くまで、牛農家の挑戦は続きます。

Iitate was famous for Iitate beef (brand beef). However, the evacuation order forced most cattle farmers to give up their business. As a result, the brand which was known for high-end beef, has been lost for some time.

Ichiro Sato had 7hectars of rice paddies and 15 cattle before the nuclear accident.
After the disaster, he immediately looked for an unused cowshed and found an available pig farm with the help of his friend. Then he renovated it and brought the cattle in. His family stayed at a temporary house in Soma city. During the 6year evacuation period, he joined a local wagyu breeding group, was welcomed by the members, and learned new skills including how to raise cattle. He said the experience was valuable.
He had no doubt about returning to Iitate after the evacuation order was lifted. He knew that he couldn’t grow rice but he decided to live by raising cattle. The village gave him support and constructed a cowshed. He has now increased the number of breeding cattle and he makes a living solely as a wagyu cattle breeder.

Iitate beef was the driving force to revive Iitate, so the revival of Iitate beef is the wish of villagers and contributes greatly to the reconstruction of the village. There are only a few cattle farmers who returned to Iitate to resume their business and there are a lot of challenges ahead, including an aging population. However, young successors are emerging. Cattle farmers’ challenges will continue until they overcome bad rumors and Iitate beef is available for consumers again.

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