PEI Cattle Producers
Changes to Beef Industry Initiative Programs
by Rinnie Bradley
The summer has reached its halfway point and the long stretch of drought finally came to an end on the weekend when we received a significant rainfall. Regardless of the stretch of rainless days, the crops seem to be hanging on for this much-needed rain.
The Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers recently announced the Beef Industry Initiative Programs for 2017/18. This year the programming was adjusted. The reason for this was the total dollars in the program has been reduced and there would not be enough to fund all the components of last year’s program. It no longer offers funding to purchase commercial heifers. This has left some producers wondering why the Commercial Heifer Retention program would be removed when the industry is trying to expand. The commercial heifer program was always difficult to administer and it was uncertain whether the program was making a significant improvement to the herd.
Secondly, the Herd Health program was discontinued. The Herd Health program encouraged producers to vaccinate their calves. The program had been in place for many years, and it was deemed that vaccinating feeder calves is part of the cost of doing business and should not be funded.
There is still funding available for purebred bulls and heifers as well as handling facilities, scales, and small incentives for pasture soil testing, ration formulation, feeding vitamin E, and Age Verifying calves. We are now accepting applications at the PEICP office so get yours in soon. The deadline for applications to be considered this round is Feb. 15, 2018.
The Certified Island Beef Brand (CIB) held its annual meeting on July 19 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. The guest speaker was Mitch Cobb of Upstreet Craft Brewing. Mitch shared his experience starting up and growing his Upstreet brand. He told the producers in the room, “you are your brand’s best ambassadors, talk about it to whoever you can, whenever you can.” His presentation was very informative and enjoyable.
Two awards were presented to feedlots during the CIB AGM. Morrison Farms received the award for the Top CIB Producer who has been part of the brand for more than a year, and who has sent a significant number of cattle to the program and maintained a high percentage of cattle making the brand. Another award was added this year. Fulton Sanderson and Sons was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award for a new feedlot that joined the brand in the past year, sent a significant number of cattle to the brand, and had a high percentage of cattle making the brand. Congratulations to both.
The PEICP was pleased to nominate the David Francis Farm for The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA). We were immensely proud when they won! The TESA is a national award presented annually by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) to a beef farmer in Canada who has gone above and beyond standard industry practices and set positive examples for other farmers and the public. It was our honour to submit the nomination which was supported by the Maritime Beef Council. David, his son Brett, and their families have made some impressive environmental improvements on their farm, so putting the nomination together was pretty easy. The TESA award was presented during the CCA’s semi-annual meeting at the Beef Industry Conference in Alberta. Congratulations to the Francis family!
(Rinnie Bradley is the executive director of the PEI Cattle Producers. She can be reached at 902-368-2229 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
NB Cattle Producers
Court decision expected in September or October
by Allison Finnamore
The New Brunswick Cattle Producers’ board and staff continue to face challenges as they work to move the industry forward.
After consulting with the provincial cattle industry for two years, the NBCP board of directors approved a provincial levy increase for implementation at the same time as the national levy increase, on Jan. 1, 2017. The NBCP based its increase – from $2 a head to $3.50 – on sector expansion plans. The levy increase – national and provincial – halted, however, after an individual in the dairy industry challenged the NBCP’s authority to operate representing the cattle industry.
The matter worked its way through the N.B. Farm Products Commission review, which found in favour of the NBCP. An appeal to the Court of Queen’s Bench was launched, and the board expects a court date to be set for mid-September or October. Any increase in the check-off levy has been stayed, pending final outcomes of the appeal process.
At the same time, the board reached out to an isolated region of the province, which had previously received much greater attention from provincial extension staff, to cattle producers who felt their needs were not being addressed. The board feels the root of the matter – changes in the way provincial governments operate with reduced budgets and fewer extension workers – is indicative of a nation-wide issue where organizations representing producers are now forced to do work previously done by provincial governments, including extension work, on shrinking budgets. While the entire agricultural outreach structure has changed, producers can be left feeling out of touch.
The N.B. Farm Products Commission visited NBCP regions around the province to meet with members about their concerns. The results, largely supportive of NBCP, are found on the NBCP website, www.bovinsnbcattle.ca/you-attended/.
Professional development opportunities are planned for both cattle producers in New Brunswick and throughout the Maritimes. They have been designed to increase producer engagement and to communicate with NBCP members about the opportunities for growth and increased revenue generation in the region. Upcoming feedlot school and forage workshops will be delivered through the Maritime Beef Council, and training events are planned for delivery in conjunction with 2017 Fall Regional Meetings. The board continues to stress, however, that members themselves need to take initiative by attending the professional development opportunities, reading the NBCP newsletter, and learning what they need to know to pave their own path towards success.
Sept. 16-17, 2017 - Feedlot School, Nappan Research Station.
March 16-17, 2018 - Maritime Beef Conference, featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, Moncton.
Sept. 2018 - Maritime Beef School: Determining Your Costs of Production, location to be announced.
(Allison Finnamore, based in Moncton, N.B., is the editor of FCC Express, a publication of Farm Credit Canada. She is also a partner in Cultivating Communications, an agricultural communications company, and she is an executive member of local, national, and international farm journalist organizations. For more information on the N.B. Cattle Producers please contact Brenda MacLoon at 506-458-8534.)