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.
    And while some breeders headed west, a large delegation of kids and cattle were in Truro, Nova Scotia, for the National Junior Angus Show-Showdown (page 26). Betty Lou Scott said there were 77 entrants and 90 animals involved in the prestigious event. Junior members represented every province except Newfoundland and Labrador. 
    The Salers Association of Canada held its annual meeting (page 30) in Sussex, New Brunswick. Thirty breeders from across the country toured Acton’s feedlot in Midgic, N.B., and the Maritime Beef Test Station in Nappan, N.S. 

    There are unknowns in the beef industry – Sean Firth cautions breeders that fat and feeder prices will continue to soften this fall (page 14), and potential problems  for the sheep industry, in that two of the largest members of the Canadian Sheep Federation have stepped aside. None-the-less, Prince Edward Island director Harry Elsinga (page 5) is optimistic about the future of the organization.
    Overall, there is refreshing optimism among beef and sheep farmers in the Atlantic region. You see it in the photos of young farmers at the Maritime Beef Conference, at the EastGen Showcase (page 44), and in the ring at Old Home Week (page 36), home to the largest sheep show in years.
    And it’s in the voices of Gagetown, New Brunswick farmers (page 27) who, against the odds, continue fighting to retain ferry service. 

Thanks Cathy
    Atlantic Beef & Sheep would like to thank Cathy Vallis for her “Newes from the Flock” column, the last of which appears in this issue (page 22). Cathy is returning to her roots in the U.K. We wish her well.

And “so long” Frank Berkelaar
     We lost a pillar of the agricultural community in August when Frank Berkelaar passed away.  Please read the tribute on page 6. HJ