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. 
    On the sheep front, NorthumberLamb sales to Sobeys Inc. in Nova Scotia are stoking demand for lambs from Maritime farmers as lambing season begins. Meanwhile, sheep farmers in Newfoundland and Labrador are mulling a co-op of their own. And Cathy Vallis passes on shepherding tips to readers as she steps out of her previous roles as a shepherdess and a supplier to wool growers. We wish her the very best as the year unfolds. 
    And on the show and sale front, this issue brings news and photos from The Royal in Toronto, the inaugural Classic Heritage Beef Show in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and other regional events. As ever, the performance of youth exhibitors from 4-H and from their respective junior beef associations is inspiring.
    As the beef industry looks ahead to growing its exports to Japan, in the wake of new trade rules under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and as sheep farmers see their lamb placed in more Maritime supermarkets, the strength of both industries will continue to depend on the quality of the product, from pasture to plate. Consumers are wanting to peer through a window on the food production chain, to assure themselves that what they are eating is safe and healthy. Giant companies that dominate the food chain and deal in animal products are slowly bending to consumer demand by smartening up their animal care practices and trying to make their production processes more transparent. As consumers’ demand for better animal care and food safety works its way through the food processing industry, companies will make more use of food labeling and brand advertising to persuade consumers that their animal product is free of antibiotics, or grass-fed, or humanely raised, or superior on some other measure. 
    As scrutiny of meat products becomes more intense, this region as a whole stands to benefit if farmers across Atlantic Canada continue to deliver safe, wholesome, quality animals to market and sell trusted meat through farmers’ markets and at the farm gate. I believe that anyone who reads through the pages of this issue of Atlantic Beef and Sheep or any preceding issues, over the past quarter-century, will find plenty of profiles of farmers who grow food with integrity on farms they love. Surely the heifer consigned by Tryon Simmentals of Prince Edward Island, which sold for $35,500 at the first annual Eastern Harvest Female Sale in Quebec this fall, testifies to the quality of the animals farmed in Atlantic Canada (see Breed Notes on page 42). 
    Whichever way the markets blow, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. RB