Head Office Atlantic Beef Spring 2016

Maritime Beef Test Station
Preparing for bull and heifer sale
by Kenny Thompson
    Bull sale time is quickly approaching as the snow falls here in Nappan.  Sale date is April 2 at 1pm and we are looking forward to having 50-60 top quality bulls and 30-plus high end heifer consignments.
    Interested producers can follow the bulls’ progress on our website, if you have any questions about the bulls or heifers please contact the station or feel free to drop in and take a look.  Sale bulls and heifers will be on display the week prior to the sale.  Once again all sale bulls will have passed the Breeding Soundness Evaluation and have ultrasound and RFI data available.  Using all of the data available when bull shopping can allow producers to make an informed decision and take home a bull that will match up to your cow herd and maximize the value of your calf crop.
    Individual videos of each bull on test will be available on our website by mid-March. The sale will again be live streamed on our website. Anyone wishing to bid by phone must pre-register by calling Brad at 902-893-7455 by April 1, 2016.  Cassie Dorran of Dorran Marketing Inc. will be available on sale day to provide livestock insurance on sale animals, she can be contacted at 403-507-5953 or cassie@ruralroutecreations.com.  Hope to see everyone on sale day!

(Kenny Thompson is manager of the Maritime Beef Cattle Test Station. For more information, call the office at 902-661-2855.)

NS Cattle Producers
Good turnout for Zone Meetings
by Larry Weatherby
    It looks like we have made it through another January with only a tease of winter – let’s hope we are not given false hope like last year. It looks like feeder and finish prices are starting to rebound from a late-2015 dip; this is good news as we gear up for the spring feeder sales. 
We recently finished the annual Zone Meetings by visiting all regions. The weather cooperated with us this year and we didn’t have to reschedule any of the meetings. The turnout at Zone meetings was higher than it has been in the past. This is encouraging and we hope to build on those numbers for next year. Elections were held in Zones 1, 2, and 5 and we are pleased that Danford Murphy will be staying on the Board from Zone 1, and that Alicia King and Dean Manning will be joining the Board from Zones 1 and 2, respectively. There will be an election for Director-at-Large at the annual meeting.
    The Board would like to thank outgoing members Rose MacDonald and Randy Neily for their years of service representing their Zones.
    This year’s Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Best Western Glengarry in Truro. This promised to be one of the best annual meetings in recent years. Our keynote speaker was Jack Hextall, chair of Canada Beef, and we also awarded our second-annual Kings Mutual Producer of the Year.  
    We are very happy that producers provided input on the implementation of the National Beef Strategy and the proposed check-off increase at the national and provincial levels. It is very important that we approach the check-off increase as a united front in Nova Scotia, in the Maritimes, and as a country. Given recent trade agreements, the value of our Canadian dollar, and the size of the national herd, there is a bright future in the beef sector. It is important that we work together to seize those opportunities.
    Later this spring, there will be two much-anticipated events in the cattle industry: the Maritime Beef Conference and the annual Test Station breeding-stock sale. The Maritime Beef Conference is set for March 18-19 in Moncton.  NSCP will be coordinating carpooling from Truro, and anyone who is interested in attending should contact the office. The Test Station sale is always the official kick-off to the spring and will be on April 2. Brian Trueman is once again working on the heifer portion of the sale, which will be even bigger and better than last year. Videos of each bull will be available for viewing on March 14 for those unable to attend in person. The Test Station will also be live streaming the sale again this year.  

(Larry Weatherby is the president of NSCP. For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the NSCP office at 902-893-7445 or office@nscattle.ca.)

Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia
AGM: Breeding workshop included
by Fred Hamilton
    January is a busy month for sheep producers as well as our Association. Most producers are now in the full swing of lambing and SPANS has just completed our annual meeting and producer workshop. The stormy weather made getting to the meeting challenging but we were happy with the attendance.
    This year we changed the format of the annual meeting to include a workshop which focused on out of season breeding. This is an important topic as we, as an industry, try to increase our production to fill our local markets.  At the workshop we heard from researchers Dr. Dave Barrett and Dr. Gwyneth Jones on their work related to breeding and parasite control. We also heard from Robert Chambers and Marie Ouimet as well as Wade and Printhie Sanford on their breeding programs. They focused on their challenges and success.
    SPANS was also happy to present the second annual Producer of the Year to Graham Reid. For the past 45 years Graham has been a mainstay in the sheep industry in Eastern Canada. Over the years he has been actively involved with SPANS, the Canadian Sheep Federation, the Federation of Agriculture, as well as NorthumberLamb. Through this time he has been a great ambassador for the industry and has worked very hard to introduce new practices and technology into industry. Please join SPANS in congratulating Graham Reid in being named the 2015 SPANS Producer of the Year.
    Last fall the SPANS board made a very tough decision to withdraw our membership from the Canadian Sheep Federation. As a Board we felt that the CSF had not made the progress we expected from them following their strategic planning process in 2013.  As it turns out, our bylaws state that we shall be members of the CSF and we will continue to work with them to address the concerns that we have and work with them to help move some of their initiatives forward.
       We have worked with the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers to find a new tag distributor for Nova Scotia.   Since Jan. 1, 2016 Antigonish Farm and Garden Co-op has been selling tags. To contact Julie at the Co-op, please call 902-863-1436.  By selecting Antigonish we were able to accomplish our goal of having a distributor that would have tags available at several locations across the province. Ruth Mathewson will also be managing the wool depot for CCWG; she can be reached at 902-897-7708.   

(Fred Hamilton is the president of SPANS. For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the SPANS office at 902-893-7445.)

NB Cattle Producers Association
2016 Maritime Beef Conferenceby Kim Waalderbos
    The second annual Maritime Beef Conference is being held March 18 and 19 at the Four Points by Sheraton in Moncton, New Brunswick.    
    The conference will begin with a welcome event and speakers on Friday evening and continue all day Saturday. This year, a special reception is being held on the Friday evening for new entrants and young beef farmers.
    The 2016 conference theme is “Healthy Cattle, Healthy Grass, Healthy Profit” and will encompass a whole range of speakers sharing the current and future industry trends. Topics include: new entrant opportunities, an overview of regional and national research, feed efficiency and its impacts on farm economics, and tips for managing the farm business.
    There will also be a trade show to browse between sessions. 
    For more information and to register, visit www.maritimebeef.ca. To see the full agenda visit the 2016 Maritime Beef Conference link at www.RuralLife.ca.

(For more information on the N.B Cattle Producers please contact Brenda Macloon at 506-458-8534.)

PEI Cattle Producers
Delving into Cattle Supply
by Rinnie Bradley
    With a busy spring ahead of us, there is a lot of work to get done. By the time you receive this issue we will have held the Maritime Beef Conference (Moncton on March 18 and 19), our Spring District Meetings, and will be approaching our annual general meeting. With all of these there is a lot of work to get done behind the scenes. It’s important to recognize the efforts of directors and staff to make sure everything is properly prepared. I would like to thank some of those individuals right now. Angela Hughes and Sarah Bradley (both part-time staff of the PEICP who have worked with us over the past year while Amanda Miller was off on maternity leave) have ensured that Age Verification, programs and CIB premiums were dealt with in a timely manner. Special thanks to David McCloskey (a PEICP director who will be retiring after our AGM) who served on the board for the past six years. I would also like to recognize several provincial government employees who have helped the beef industry in so many ways. Sandra MacKinnon and Colleen Younie of the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Guy LeBlanc of the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries; all of whom will be retiring this spring. Your contributions to the Maritime beef industry have been invaluable and we wish you all the best!    
    The PEICP in partnership with the P.E.I. Food Alliance have hired Dynamic Outcomes (DOC) to conduct a study on the cattle supply in the region. This study began last fall and included interviews with P.E.I. producers as well as industry representatives from N.B. and Nova Scotia. In January, DOC held two focus groups, one for the cow-calf sector the other for the feedlot sector. Feedback from these sessions echoed the finding in the Interim Report and strengthened the recommendations DOC will be putting forward. One thing is clear, although there have been many changes in the industry within the past decade, the industry is very integrated and the Maritime provinces need to work together in order to be profitable. The final report is due by the end of March 2016. This study, as well as a recent study conducted by the N.B. Cattle Producers, will be used to develop a new strategy for the Maritime Beef Industry. A strategy development session has been organized for Friday, March 18 in conjunction with the MBC Conference. The last Maritime Beef Strategy was developed in 2005, so it’s time we refocus on developing a new beef strategy for the region.    
    The Certified Island Beef brand is now selling in Sobeys stores in P.E.I. and there is potential to expand this product to other regions. As with any new product, the expansion of the market is what drives the expansion of the supply. With beef cattle this if further complicated by the fact that expansion by head is a two-three year process unless you include supply from other sources. For this reason the CIB Committee has agreed to consider including cattle born in the Maritimes. While it still isn’t clear how this will be administered, the committee is willing to work with Island feedlots that purchase calves from outside P.E.I. as long as they meet all branding requirements. Many of the feedlots feel this will increase their number of eligible animals for the brand, therefore allowing the expansion of the CIB to new markets. Cow-calf producers, who raise animals that meet brand specs, are eligible for the $11 cow-calf premium. Please watch for more information regarding this expansion in the coming months.
    Producers are reminded that Finance P.E.I. offers cattle loans for purchasing breeding stock and feeders at a competitive interest rate and repayment terms. Just a note though, all applicants will be urged to visit Tim Seber at the Advanced  Payments Program first to see if they qualify for this program. This is to ensure that they have taken advantage of the $100k interest-free money offered under the APP.  Once they have completed this visit they will be eligible for consideration for Finance P.E.I.’s Cattle Loans. For more information, please contact Joanne Roberts or Kelly MacDonald at Finance P.E.I. at 902-368-6300.
    The PEICP continues to offer the Verified Beef Production program to producers who are interested in learning more about on-farm food safety and applying these recommended practices to their operations. This year the program has been expanded to include modules for bio-security, animal care, and environmental stewardship. This new program, VBP+ is coordinated by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. Risk assessments are being conducted on a number of pilots that were run over the winter. Until these assessments are complete, we will not know how the modules will be audited, but one thing is for certain, the commitment is that this will not be onerous for the producer. 

(Rinnie Bradley is Executive Director of the P.E.I. Cattle Producers. She can be reached at 902-368-2229 or by email at cattlemen@eastlink.ca.)