Head Office Atlantic Beef Summer 2017

NS Cattle Producers
Working on several initiatives
by Larry Weatherby
    As I write this, we are gearing up for quite a spring. So far we have had a decent spring and, across the province, many farmers have already got a good start on spreading manure, fixing fences, and getting ready for the planting season. The provincial election will be over by the time you read this. The election will have been key for the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers (NSCP) as the focus of our conversation with candidates was on working together to continue to improve production and marketing conditions for our farmers.
    For almost a year we have been working with our Maritime Beef Council partners to develop the Maritime Beef Sector Development and Expansion Strategy, which is a 10-year plan to take advantage of several existing and emerging opportunities for the cattle industry in the region. The overall goal of the strategy is to increase the regional beef herd by 20,000 cows in the next decade by professionalizing the industry, providing programming tools for stakeholders, developing a feed efficient beef herd, and coordinating the value chain to improve marketing conditions. We had the opportunity to present the strategy to several politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa and it has been received very positively. We will work on the implementation of this strategy throughout the year.
    I want to thank everyone who took the time to attend the Maritime Beef Conference and NSCP annual general meeting on March 17-18. As anticipated, all of the speakers were well received by those who attended, and we are looking forward to hosting the conference in the future. This was our first time hosting the event and we are very pleased that it was the biggest conference to date.         We recognize that there were some challenges with holding the annual meeting during the conference. In the future, we will ensure that if both events are held on the same weekend, that the meeting portion is held either prior to or at the end of the conference.
    As we look ahead to 2017 there are several initiatives the NSCP will be working on at the provincial, regional, and national levels on behalf of the industry. Many of these initiatives are part of, or complement, the Maritime Beef Sector Development and Expansion Strategy. They include: developing business risk management tools like cost of production, industry benchmarking, and exploring a price insurance program under the next policy framework. We will also be working with stakeholders to investigate solutions to the processing capacity challenges across the province.
    In closing, we would like to thank George Smith, Ralph Thompson, and Derick Canning for serving as directors of the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers. They have represented their zones very well over their terms as directors. The NSCP would like to welcome Leon Smith from Zone 3, Brian Trueman as a director-at-large, and David Bekkers as the representative from the Dairy Farmers of N.S., who will be joining the board for the upcoming year.
    If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact Brad at the office by emailing office@nscattle.ca or phoning 902-893-7455.

(Larry Weatherby is the chair of the NSCP. For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the NSCP office at 902-893-7455 or office@nscattle.ca.)

NB Cattle Producers Association
Risk management tools needed
by Allison Finnamore
    The New Brunswick Cattle Producers (NBCP) is gaining momentum in its growth and expansion strategy.
    Working closely with the Maritime Beef Council (MBC), the NBCP recently addressed the issue of the region’s lack of risk management tools in a letter to Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet.
    MBC explains in the letter that purchasing and selling beef cattle intended for beef production involves considerable risk due to the overall price volatility of the market. The letter points out that producers outside the Maritimes have access to programs to address market risk.
    While programs like AgriStability and AgriRisk can help New Brunswick farmers with price volatility, participating in the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) would provide beef producers in this part of the country with protection against unexpected price drops, says Nathan Phinney, who chairs both MBC and NBCP.
    Cedric MacLeod, NBCP’s coordinator of strategic opportunities, says the project for a price insurance plan is a perfect fit with the Maritime Beef Strategy currently underway to provide access to new, high-value markets and reduce the cost of production.
    Over the past 12 months, NBCP, the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers, and the Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers have worked closely with MBC to develop a beef sector growth and development strategy that will have an additional 20,000 head in the Maritimes by 2027.
    Phinney says there are strong regional market opportunities for growth. “We know that Atlantic Beef Products is predicating strong growth over the next several years, and will require an additional 10,000-head per year,” he says. “Similarly, the Ontario Corn Fed Beef Program continues to expand, creating market demand for Maritime cattle. The strategy was designed to give the Maritimes the best possible chance of filling this market demand.”
    The Maritimes enjoys a strategic competitive advantage over many other regions of Canada for cow-calf producers,  says MacLeod. 
    “When you combine relatively inexpensive cropland and significant unused land in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia capable of producing large quantities of high quality grass with the abundant rainfall we enjoy in the region, the result is an advantage we want to maximize,” he says.
    Phinney says the NBCP is open to working with the province’s beef producers, and strives hard communicating with members. NBCP’s biannual newsletter, special publications, an active social media campaign, and regional meetings are some of the ways it reaches out to members. However, Phinney points out, members need to engage in participation.
    “We want their voice at the table, but they need to be at the table for that voice to be heard,” Phinney says. “The NBCP mission is to represent cattle producers in the beef value chain and support the development of an efficient and competitive industry. We create opportunities for our members – they have to seize them.”

(Allison Finnamore is the editor of FCC Express/Agribusiness and Agri-Food Weekly, publications of Farm Credit Canada. She is also an executive member of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. For more information on the N.B Cattle Producers please contact Brenda Macloon at 506-458-8534.)

PEI Cattle Producers
New levy order in effect
by Rinnie Bradley
    The Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers (PEICP) was able to Gazette its new levy order on April 1, 2017. The Registration and Cattle Levies Marketing Order is now in effect. During the PEICP’s AGM on April 6, the new levy system was reviewed. The levy is now at $6 plus HST and is collectable on every head of cattle sold including cattle being processed. The PEICP added a “Levies” tab to its website that contains a link to the levy order as well as fillable forms for reporting levies being submitted. We have started to receive levies from those who have purchased cattle and we would like to remind you that levies are now due on all cattle sales. We encourage anyone who has questions about the new levy to contact the PEICP office.
    The “Levies” tab also contains a “Buyer’s Application” form. Anyone who is not a producer is urged to fill out a Buyer’s Application. A list of Registered Buyers now resides on the PEICP website. 
    The PEICP acknowledged two of its own during the AGM. It recognized Sterling Jay for his years of dedication to the board. Sterling retired from the board in January as he was very involved in pursuing a new venture. John J. MacDonald was also recognized for his contribution to the board as its representative at Canada Beef. We wish to thank both of these gentlemen for their dedication and service to the beef industry. We would like to welcome Holland Cahill as our new director at large. He hails from Tignish and we look forward to working with him and having representation from this region. Welcome, Holland.
    The annual meeting on April 6 welcomed approximately 50 people to the Farm Centre. Guest speakers included Russ Mallard and Bruce Andrews from Atlantic Beef Products, who made a presentation that emphasized their desire to have more locally raised cattle to meet growing demand. They also spoke about some new equipment for value adding they hope to acquire in the near future.
    We were also pleased to have Mike LaFortune from Dexter Cattle Company present. For those of you who are not familiar with LaFortune, he raises Dexter cattle for a local, organic market. He has his own website, dextercattlecompany.com, where you can read about his operation. One of LaFortune’s goals is to expand organic beef production in the region, to have enough in order to access federal slaughter. Even though he has strong demand for his beef and sells everything he raises, this would allow access to markets outside of P.E.I., where demand is strong. In order to meet this demand, more organic producers would be needed. LaFortune has a passion for what he does and I encourage you to contact him if this sounds like something you may be interested in.
    As many of you know, the Maritime beef industry has been working on a strategy that aims to grow the cattle supply in the region. Details of the Maritime Beef Sector Development and Expansion Strategy’s goals were released to the public in May. The next step is to gain support for the strategy from both industry and from government. It is expected that many of the initiatives within the strategy will fall under the next suite of Growing Forward programs. Stay tuned for more information on the strategy in the months ahead.

(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.)

Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia
Workable solutions for production challenges
by Fred Hamilton
    As I write this, it is the last week of April and it sure is starting to look like spring out there. By now many of us are well into our lambing season, and we are getting caught up on fencing so we can send the sheep to pasture in the coming weeks. As we are busy on the farm, we are also busy at the Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia (SPANS) board and office as we prepare for the upcoming project year. I, along with everyone else in the province, am expecting that this spring will also include an election. We hope all farmers talked to their local candidates about the importance and opportunity for the sheep industry in Nova Scotia.
    Before I get too far, I would like to introduce the SPANS board for the coming year. I am very happy to return as president; Matt Lynch will continue his role as vice president; newcomer Ian Spence is the secretary/treasurer; and rounding out the board are: Jerrold Graham, Andrew Hebda, Joseph Leck, and new member Andrew MacLennan. I also want to send a sincere thank you to Marc Pyle and David Brown for their time and dedication to the board and industry.
    SPANS continues to have a strong focus on working with producers and researchers to come up with workable solutions for many of the production challenges we face every day. This year we will continue the carcass ultra-sounding project we started in 2016 with CDPQ, which aims to help producers market lambs at the best possible time. We have also applied for funding to continue Dr. Jones’s work on parasite control strategies; the 2017 project will look at the effects of the climate on parasite loads. New this year we have also applied for funding to try to establish a benchmark of Maedi visna prevalence in the Nova Scotia flock.
    I also invite you, if you haven’t already done so, to visit our website (www.nssheep.ca), which has undergone a bit of a makeover. We hope to make the website a central point for producer information and communication. Along with lots more programs, research results, fact sheets, marketing materials and management tools, we have also configured it so everything is available within two mouse clicks. 
    Lastly, I encourage everyone to join us at our summer Shepherd’s Social to be held at Joseph Leck’s in Brookfield on Saturday, July 22. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact the office at 902-893-7455.

(Fred Hamilton is the president of SPANS. For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the SPANS office at 902-893-7455.)