In the line of fire

    The losses to British Columbia’s cattle industry are staggering.
    More than two million acres – much of it grazing land – has gone up in flames. And more than 30,000 cattle have literally been in the line of fire.
    From all reports, the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA) has worked around the clock organizing feed, pastures, transportation, and financial support. 

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ABCs Summer 2017

    There’s math, civics, science, and other subjects on the curriculum in this issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep.
    You’ll find a lot of figures including the additional 20,000 head the Maritime Beef Sector Development and Expansion Strategy (page 16) plans for the region by 2027.
    The strategy addresses a number of key issues the beef industry will face over the next decade, including: price insurance, cost of production control, value added market access, and business continuance planning between farm generations.

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The age of unreason Spring 2017

The age of unreason Spring 2017
    Atlantic Stockyards Limited has become a target of animal protectionist organizations. Animal Justice of British Columbia recently filed a complaint of animal abuse against the Murray Siding, Nova Scotia, company.
    Owner Sean Firth is frustrated but not lacking in resolve. Last fall when vegan members of N.S. Farm Animal Save appeared at Atlantic Stockyards with protest signs he patiently tried to educate them about how livestock auctions work. 
    But logic and reason didn’t work and he wasted his breath. “They didn’t want to learn anything. They don’t believe animals should be farmed.”
    Firth eventually “kicked them off” his property. “They’re no longer on the property and will not be again.”

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Set a spell Winter 2016

Set a spell
  Get a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and make yourself comfortable; it’s going to take you a while to read this issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep.
    You’re headed to New Zealand with Maritime Beef Council General Manager Ellen Crane. She’ll talk a bit about the International Beef Alliance Conference (page 28) and show you some amazing photographs. “It’s very interesting how they integrate the beef and sheep together; they make the most of their land by doing that. The sheep eat whatever the cattle don’t,” Crane says.
    Yousef Papadopoulos and John Duynisveld will tell you about a new alfalfa variety (page 18) that can weather extreme weather. In the forage breeding program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Kentville Research and Development Centre, they developed a rhizomatous variety of alfalfa that can be productive in both years of drought and years of excessive rain.

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Smiling faces Sheep and beef farmers upbeat Fall 2016

    “It’s one thing to go to (breed) meetings and move motions… but it is another to have people know what kind of cattle you have, and understand where you are coming from,” David Francis 

    Francis was talking about hosting the Maritime Charolais Picnic (page 46) at his Prince Edward Island farm. But the deep-rooted satisfaction about communication and camaraderie he spoke about can be found throughout this issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep.
    You can see it on the faces of the people at the Maritime Beef Conference (page 24) where farmers enjoyed presentations from an impressive line-up of knowledgeable speakers.  
    It’s evident as Duncan Fraser (page 32) and Les Halliday (page 48) talk about their experiences at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference. Duncan said there were about 700 delegates in Calgary, Alberta, including 20 Maritimers. The gathering included beef farmers from Mexico and Brazil.

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When spring springs Summer 2016

When spring springs

    Spring officially arrives in late March. But for many the season begins with the Maritime Beef Test Station Sale. 
    The rafters in the Nappan sale barn hummed with excitement April 2 as a huge crowd exchanged news and told stories. It felt like a family reunion as friends and colleagues were greeted warmly with smiles, handshakes, and banter.
    They’d come from three provinces and from all branches of the industry—purebred and commercial breeders and cow-calf and feedlot operators—for the annual sale. 

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Heather Jones to the helm Spring 2016

Heather Jones to the helm
    The words “needs no introduction,” come to mind as we introduce our new Atlantic Beef & Sheep editor, Heather Jones, farm journalist and editor for many years of the Farm Focus newspaper. Please welcome Heather aboard. At the same time, our thanks to columnist and freelance writer Rachel Brighton who served as editor of ABS last year and who continues as a special assignment contributor to DvL Publishing Inc.   
    Heather comes to the job with broad knowledge of agriculture in the region, a wealth of contacts, creative writing skills, and a warm, personal touch, all of which are reflected in this issue’s “Breed Notes;” the profile of Sam White, young farmer from Yarmouth County (page 14); and the comments that follow. DvL

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Atlantic Canada’s advantage Winter 2015

Atlantic Canada’s advantage
Quality animals, grown on farms we love

    In the beef industry, where times are a-changing rapidly, Atlantic Beef and Sheep is proud to publish very helpful insight from two long-time columnists, Sean Firth and Charlie Gracey, who put fluctuating prices into perspective. On the pasture front, John Duynisveld shares lessons learned on his farm and George Fullerton files two stories detailing grazing strategies and pasture management practices on two New Brunswick farms. 

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On the fiber trail FALL 2015

On the fiber trail
    In my interview with Dale MacAusland for the story on page 42, the managing director MacAusland’s Woollen Mills Ltd. in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island, observed that sheep farmers in Atlantic Canada don’t have much interest in wool, especially when the price for lamb is good. That may be true. MacAusland was speaking from his own experience in sourcing wool directly from farmers for making blankets. 

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Enterprising young farmers are an inspiration Summer 2015

Enterprising young farmers are an inspiration Summer 2015
Beef farmer Wayne McQuaid of South Melville, Prince Edward Island, raised a beef herd by the time he was 15 (see his story on page 40). Christie D’Aubin, 17, of Bridgetown, N.S., has a herd of five cows and may one day be selling beef to her parents (see the story starting page 24). Stories like these are not at all surprising to families who raise beef or breed sheep, but they sure are to me and to other people who are on the outside looking in.

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Please welcome Rachel Brighton, editor (Spring 2015)

After 25 years, isn’t it time Atlantic Canada’s only magazine published exclusively in support of the region’s beef (and more recently sheep) farmers had a new editor? 

    I think so, which is why it is a great pleasure to introduce readers of this magazine to journalist Rachel Brighton, a native of Australia where sheep outnumber people three to one. We are fortunate to have a professional journalist of Brighton’s caliber taking on this important role. She will be working primarily from her home in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, in the Annapolis Valley.

 

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Lets talk turkey (Winter 2014)

    Many Nova Scotians were upset to the point of outrage before Thanksgiving when the provincial Turkey Farmers association used their established, and to now largely ignored, powers to deny a well-loved and respected – although unlicensed – abattoir owner in Pictou County the right to slaughter turkeys. 
    Thousands have signed petitions decrying the call, for Gordon Fraser has for nearly four decades provided much needed good and clean service in his Millville shop to satisfied customers for miles around.

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The pulse is strong in cattle land (Summer 2014)

    Here’s an easy way to take the pulse of the cattle industry, at least at the cow and calf level. Try buying a fence stake after April. This spring they became harder and harder to find until by late May it was a scramble to find more than a dozen here and a half dozen there. By that time some manufacturers reported they were done for the year while others could not keep up with demand. It did not matter if the hunt was for hackmatack, spruce, or green, rot-in-a-year fir. 

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To Russia with love

    I dropped an email note to Les Halliday, Prince Edward Island’s beef specialist and regular contributor to Atlantic Beef and Sheep with his “Letter from the Island” column. He replied from Russia. Aha, hobnobbing with Vladimir Putin at the Sochi Olympics! No, Les wrote back, “Not Olympics. I am in Orenburg doing workshops on beef.”  Well, someone’s got to help those Russian cattle farmers learn how to provide Larry and Pat Ward’s Herefords the kind of TLC they were raised to expect and thrive under on Willow Pond Farm in Nova Scotia’s Musquodoboit Valley.

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Winding down, Great pasture season; so-so for hay

    As days grow shorter and nights cooler, pastures that responded beautifully to copious amounts of rain earlier this summer and slowed through August are now rebounding just in time for a checking frost. For many we spoke with, making hay – especially good, early hay – was a heart-breaking experience.   Sodden meadows brought to mind the comment of an old friend who, visiting Prince Edward Island one wet summer years ago, cursed the lack of rocks, which he had a-plenty on his own Nova Scotia farm. “You get stuck in the mud and there isn’t a stone to be found to put under your tire.”

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Not so COOL

 With three companies in Canada, H. J. Heinz Canada, subsidiary of H.J. Heinz headquartered in Pittsburg, PA, claims it is, “Canada’s leading processor and marketer of high quality ketchup.” That being the case, why would Ottawa propose a tariff on ketchup, as it has, in retaliation for the U.S. refusal to abide by a World Trade Organization ruling on Country of Origin Labeling? Not COOL. We can hope there are other items on the list of 38 from the U.S. we’d target that would place a hardship on one or more of their industries comparable to COOL’s cost to our cattle industry – estimated to be about a billion dollars a year, according to a report in The Globe and Mail June 6.

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Follow the money!

    Atlantic Beef and Sheep, is an experiment testing a theory that cattle and sheep in Atlantic Canada and the farmers who raise them have enough in common that one magazine can be relevant and helpful to both parties. It addresses the reality that we are bit players in “the industry” here on the East Coast and the best way to hang on is to hang together.

    We welcome stories, opinions, photos, news, drawings, and letters from sheep and beef farmers. Notice “farmers,” not “producers.” We’re hearing more of that recently and about time. The reality is “farmer” is not, as must have been thought for years, a dirty word. “Product” is what economists call anything manufactured. Farmers, the ones we care about, are growing food, a very different thing with very particular challenges and rewards.

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