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Friday, March 13, 2009

Cow-calf producers receive payment under AgriRecovery program


by Karen Emilson

Flooded-out Interlake and Westlake cow-calf producers were the recipients of good news last week when it was announced that a per head payment is now available for producers in need under the AgriRecovery program.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Gerry Ritz made the announcement along with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Inidiatives Minister, Rosann Wowchuk on March, 5 in Winnipeg.

The announcement came after concerted lobbying efforts by the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association. President Joe Bouchard was at the announcement.

“This is something we’ve been working closely on a one-on-one basis with both the federal and provincial governments to deliver since the beginning,” said Bouchard following the press conference. “It shows the leadership and commitment of our two Agriculture Minsters and their departments and I want to thank them for their commitment to Manitoba’s cattle industry.”

Last summer the areas around Arborg, Gypsumville, Fisher Branch, Ashern and Eddystone received 385 to 474 mm of precipitation between June and the beginning of September 2008, the highest amount recorded since 1951. Wet conditions hampered haying efforts so many cash-strapped producers went into the winter feeding season without enough feed. Others sold off part of their herds when it appeared no funding announcement would be forthcoming. Approximately 850 producers were affected.

“Last fall when we were asking for money for feed under AgriRecovery and to get the tax act changed so that flooding would be included as a reason for tax deferral, we were told we were crazy and we would never get it done,” he said. “But on Thursday we proved them wrong.”

Bouchard also explained that the Municipalities declaring their areas disasters helped support the MCPA’s position and strengthened their case. Despite the fact the affected municipalities in the southwest did not declare their areas disasters, the Board was able to convince government that producers who sold their livestock because of drought in that area should also be included in the 2008 tax deferral.

“This help will give producers the ability to sustain and rebuild their operations,” Bouchard said. “This will go a long way to help these farm families and their communities and will provide a template for future disasters experienced by the agriculture industry.”

Details of the programs, which will be cost shared 60/40 between the provincial and federal governments include:

• The Manitoba Livestock Feed Assistance Program will provide $70 per head of breeding stock to cattle producers living in the municipalities that declared in writing their areas as disaster zones.

• The Manitoba Forage Restoration Program will provide $40 per acre for reseeding of pasture and restoration of forage lands within those same municipalities.
Program details and application forms will be available through the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) and on the provincial website.
Additionally, Minister Ritz announced that the government is also offering tax deferrals to allow eligible producers in designated areas to defer a portion of the income from the sale of breeding livestock for one year as they replenish breeding stock in the following year. This change to the Income Tax Act gives producers across Canada the option of tax deferrals for flooding that match the tax deferrals they have traditionally had in times of drought.

Selkirk-Interlake Member of Parliament, James Bezan participated in the announcement.
“This announcement will put dollars in the hands of cattle producers so they can buy the feed they need and retain their herd,” he said. “And for those that did liquidate or downsize we now have the tax deferral. I have persistently advocated for this tax measure to be available to producers who have had to liquidate their herds due to flooding, as has been available to producers in drought situations. My argument has been that it is only fair because the reasons for liquidating in both situations are the same – a lack of feed. And the reason it was so important to declare areas a disaster zone last summer, is that they had to be to fit underneath the requirements of the tax deferral. It is great that we were able to make that happen and that it is retroactive to 2008.”

Bezan said the tax deferral option will make a huge difference for farmers.
“Unfortunately the producers in the Interlake and Westlake didn’t have assurances of the tax deferral option when making their decisions last fall,” he said. “But from here on in, if faced with this scenario in the future, producers can sell out with plans of buying back in with confidence they won’t be penalized tax wise.”
Read more!

Report from the MCPA Board Meeting


by Karen Emilson

If we can learn anything from this issue’s front page announcement, it is that good planning and persistence pays off.

Every month the MCPA holds a Board Meeting where all the Directors are brought together to discuss the issues of the day, bring forward concerns from their areas and plan a course of action. Board meetings are extremely thought-provoking and informative if you have an interest in the cattle industry as I do; there is so much to learn and things are always changing.

Much of what is said with government is kept in confidence, but sometimes, once negotiations are done, the Board can give its membership an inside look.
Rewind to last June.
The flooding issue was raised briefly at the monthly board meeting then discussed again in July. By early August, the MCPA Executive committee had already met with government preparing them for the fact that if it didn’t stop raining, disaster was looming. The proverbial nail in the coffin came on the September long weekend, when another 73 mm of rain fell on already flooded fields, dashing all hopes that producers in the area would get enough hay up for the winter.
All this you may already know. But what hasn’t been said is that the AgriRecovery and tax deferral announcements never would have happened if it hadn’t been for the diligence of the MCPA and James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake, who listened to the grassroots, initiated discussions with his government and never let the issue rest even when it appeared there was no hope of success.
This reminds me of a recent conversation with former MCPA President, Robert Smith. He was one of the Directors who hired James back in the late 1980s when he was just an upstart —a 24 year-old cowboy who was a little rough around the edges (what good cattleman isn’t?) and the Association’s youngest General Manager to date. Robert described him like “a horse I had to reign in” which I took as a good thing - better than one you had to spur to get going.

James accepted a last minute invitation by MCPA President, Joe Bouchard, to stop by the March Board meeting that just happened to be scheduled for the same day as the federal/provincial announcement in Winnipeg. It was an excellent opportunity for the Board to meet James, who is the newly appointed chairman of the federal Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Included in that portfolio are Environment Canada; Parks Canada; The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
During the informal discussion with James we discussed the recent NFU report, XL’s purchase of the former Lakeside plant in Alberta and a miscellany of other industry issues.
Of course, Board members had a number of questions for James regarding the announcement of the day:

Martin: How many cows are involved in the reduction in herd size in the flooded areas?
James: For the most part this is hearsay, but based on the numbers going through the auction mart, we’re looking at 15 to 20%.
Martin: Do people eligible for this assistance have to be enrolled in the Growing Forward program?
James: No. It is available to producers who were affected in the flooded municipalities that declared disaster.
Joe: Is the tax deferral just for special circumstances for this year?
James: No this is a change to the law from here on in. There are two levels of coverage. Thirty percent of income from net sales can be deferred if the herd has been reduced by at least 15 percent. If the herd has been reduced by 30 percent or more, 90 percent of income from net sales can be deferred.
And with the $70 per head breeding stock, it is simply based on January 1st inventory numbers. Those numbers will be cross-referenced with AgriStability.
I am guessing the backgrounders will be disappointed because they won’t be able to participate. The thought was that this is designed to provide relief in order to maintain the cow herd and feeders have the option of reducing the number of animals they buy if they don’t have enough feed.
Martin: Why did it take so long?
James: I’ve been pushing for this since August. With AgriRecovery the federal and provincial ag departments had to come to an agreement on the parameters of the program.
Where we ran in to problems is there was a conflicting message being heard. You guys definitely deserve credit for moving this forward with government.
Martin: Thanks.
James: Anyway, applications will be online by the end of March and money will start flowing by April.
Martin: Well that is one thing that we asked for that it be simple and we appreciate that.
Greg: This is bankable so guys who need the dollars can take the information to the bank right now.
James: That’s right.
Trevor: How does it work on re-establishing forages on the flooded hay land?
James: I assume adjusters will come out in the spring and see what’s flooded and what’s not.
Greg: And the southwest?
James: The southwest corner of Manitoba qualifies for the tax deferral because of drought.
Early on, Manitoba was very quick to come out and say they wanted to provide Freight Assistance for feed so that’s what was done. We stepped in after five or six days after the parameters of the program were set. That is how it works with AgriRecovery.
Under the auspices of AgriRecovery we can do per head payments because it moves them out of red into green so they are not countervailable.
Joe: What we really like about it is that it is clear cut and simple and that a precedent has been set.
James: Too bad we didn’t do this three or four months ago, but at least now it is done.
Martin: What it does James, is it gives guys who are out of feed enough money to get them through the winter and that is excellent.
James: Guys have been skimping by all winter and with calving season starting, we could really be setting those females back but this gives them the option to buy barley, pellets, hay, whatever they can find to meet those nutritional needs.
Major Jay: What is the definition of breeding animals? Cows and bulls - what about heifers?
James: Your breeding herd. That will be clarified on the application form.
Joe: We really appreciate all the hard work you’ve done and the positive thing is that you’ve set some groundwork for future issues like this. We really appreciate all that you did.
James: I am glad to do it. That’s my job.
Trevor: And how did things go at the roundtable session this morning?
James: It was all in camera (in confidence) so if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.
Everyone laughs
Major Jay: Save us some time. We’ve been wanting to kill him all afternoon.
Everyone laughs
James: No seriously, everyone there had about two or three minutes to voice their concerns and offer recommendations. As we went around the table a lot of similar issues were mentioned. It was an intelligent debate and I prefer smaller gatherings for that reason.
Joe: I thought there were some very good ideas that were brought out. I appreciate being invited and for the opportunity to provide input on behalf of the cattle sector.
James: You’re welcome. Everything that was brought up, the Minister was already aware of it. He has done a series of eight round tables and he is seeing a lot of the same concerns. Tomorrow he is in Lethbridge. He has people working on the issues. There are always ways to improve and that is what this is all about. We want to get out to the grassroots.
Trevor: I think the concept is good. Nice to see it happen.
James: I had one guy complain the session was too short but the reality is, we were fortunate to have the Minister visit the Interlake.
Joe: Whenever you get a meeting with a high profile Minister like that you are lucky to get an hour an a half. Lucky to get five minutes.
Major Jay: (Back to the flooding issue) Did you have support from the other RMs and MPs?
James: Inky was behind me, for sure. I briefed him last night and he was pretty happy about it. The RMs were very helpful by sending me copies of their resolutions declaring their areas disasters.
Major Jay: That’s really good to hear. Thanks for taking the lead (with the other MPs, MLAs) and getting it organized.
James: Because of my new portfolio I am cutting back on some of the Ag Meetings I attend, but I am still the lead in Manitoba, but CCA and other farm organizations may not have as much access to me as in the past, because I have a whole new set of lobby groups I will be working with.
Ray: With your new position, we are glad to see that you will have some input on the issue of TB. Here is a an updated printout on what has been happening here in Manitoba. We’d like to keep you current and would appreciate your support to keep this thing moving forward.
James: Can I keep this?
Ray: Certainly.
Sheila: We will be in Ottawa on May 12th and would like to meet with you and the new Ag Chairman, Larry Miller.
James: Call my office and set something up. We’ll talk environment when you get to Ottawa. Keep up the great work.
Read more!

COLUMN - Rationing


by Joe Bouchard

Last month I promised that I would write a shorter column but since there is so much going on that you need to know, Karen wouldn’t let me - so this is her fault.
So, it’s time for a cup of coffee and our monthly chat.


First, I’d like to talk about the headlines.
DISASTER AID
No program is perfect but the newest announcement for AgriRecovery payments and tax deferrals on income will go a long way to help flooded producers in the Interlake and Westlake regions. This issue is explained in more detail on the front page and on page 2. And while you may not benefit today in your part of the province, you may be glad for these efforts tomorrow because a precedent has been set for the future.
Some producers are asking why the Saskatchewan government is giving a per head payment of $40 per cow; while here in Manitoba we aren’t receiving anything. The MCPA did request approximately $100 per cow, but we want it tied to our Environmental Goods and Services proposal. That will keep it trade neutral and be a long term, annual payment for the good stewardship practises we do every day. This isn’t about alternative land use, but about best land use.
We have to be very aware of the risk of countervail due to ad hoc payments. This industry cannot afford a countervail - which would far exceed the cost of $40 per cow.
COOL will come into law on March 16th. Last month U.S. President Barack Obama put the COOL Bill (and all Bills) on hold so they could be reviewed.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack had the option of opening up the Bill but he didn’t and that is positive for our industry. The way the rule is written now, it is law. Where the uncertainty lies is that Vilsack has suggested the packing plants follow his voluntary guidelines and said he will review it again in six months. Given all the pressure he is feeling from the U.S. cattle industry over this issue, my bet is COOL will stay as it is and we can live with that.
THE WTO CHALLENGE was dropped but there is talk that it may be filed again. COOL is still a violation of the NAFTA agreement and we have to make sure that the agreements that are signed are honoured. The CCA is currently discussing this with the federal government and we should hear soon if it will proceed.
FOLKS FROM THE NFU went on a romantic getaway to Billings, Montana and jumped into bed with R-CALF. Nobody needs an explanation of how much damage R-CALF has done to our industry and how much they will try to do in the future. The NFU’s recent report on the industry is about as well thought out and credible as their allegiance with R-CALF. The bottom line? We can’t let trade obstructionist groups like these take a negative hold of our industry.
SALE OF LAKESIDE PLANT IN BROOKS TO XL
A lot of people, myself included, are concerned about the recent sale of the Alberta packing plant to Nielsen Brothers. But the reality is Tyson was either going to sell the plant or shut it down. Considering your choice is only as good as your options - there really was no choice. Nielsen was either going to buy the plant or it would have been mothballed and we would have lost 5,000 head capacity per day in Canada, making us more reliant on the U.S. packing industry.
Nielsen’s strong presence in the industry has been brought to the attention of the federal government by the CCA and it is something that is being looked into.
What is the real message here? That all levels of government need to create a more competitive environment for business and industry in this country or the business will continue to go elsewhere. The fact that Tyson could not sell to anyone else—that the most aggressive beef company in the world, JBS, was not interested—underlines how difficult it is to make a buck packing here in Canada. Why? Because of the extra regulations, inspection fees, export permits, etc. that our industry has to absorb over what they have to in the U.S. In order to compete, we have to match the U.S. cent for cent and until we do, our industry will continue to lose feeding and packing business to the U.S.
TRACEABILITY
The $400,000 funding announcement made by the provincial government at the end of January will be used for the computers and technology needed to create a database that can hook into the CCIA database. The government has the responsibility to trace animals in the event of a disease outbreak and we are working with them to meet their needs, but at the same time, will make sure that the privacy and information supplied by our producers is protected. Producers are already premise identified when they buy their tags, so this is nothing new for the cattle industry. The Minister has assured us that farms will not need to be licensed. This ties in to:
THE FOOD ACT
We have made it clear to government that producers are willing to take responsibility for things they have control over when it comes to food safety, but not for mistakes that may be made further along the food chain. The Minister has assured us that we will be consulted as the act is being written.
THE RECESSION has brought to the forefront the value of agriculture. There are predictions that Manitoba and Saskatchewan will weather the recession the best because a bulk of the provincial revenues are generated through agriculture. When things are good, agriculture is taken for granted. But when the economy goes bad, agriculture becomes the foundation that is focused on. That’s because food producers are a tough bunch. We already know how to hunker down and we can do pretty much anything. There will always be work for honest, hardworking people who aren’t afraid to get their fingernails dirty.
Fortunately, beef prices have remained steady when everything else is dropping like a stone. There will still be a demand for the top cuts and hamburger, but I can see there will be pressure on the middle and poorer cuts which will be turned into hamburger to keep it moving out of the coolers during this recession. Which leads to:
AGE VERIFICATION
Right now only 15 percent of Manitoba calves are age verified. By the end of the year, all calves entering Alberta will need to be age verified. Many in the industry believe that calves not age verified will be discounted.
Calving season is the most enjoyable time on the farm. There is nothing nicer than seeing a calf ripping around the pen with an ear tag to grow into. As you put your RFID buttons into those calves ears, keep in mind that the foreign markets we are working hard to develop are not open to any part of an animal that isn’t age verified.
With the Federal Agriculture Minister committed to trade missions (he is three for three right now), we are seeing more markets opening up. He has made a commitment that whenever parliament isn’t sitting, he will go on more trade missions.
We appreciate all the work Minister Ritz is doing on our behalf. I had the opportunity at a Roundtable Session in Stonewall to talk to Minister Ritz about this issue and to congratulate him on the work he’s done on trade and asked him to keep up the good work. He said that he plans to continue.
The demand for age verified beef is increasing. The packing plants can’t find enough of it to fill the orders. We need volume to fill these orders or they will be filled by one of our competitors. Japan and South Korea will only buy beef that is age verified.
We have to remember that we are in the protein market. We have be competitive on cost, quality and implement all the food safety safe guards as our competitors - pork and poultry. To think we can just raise our price and move the product is a nice idea but in reality, if our product is too expensive, people will buy pork and poultry instead. We have to keep our meat moving off the shelves.
In this regard, it is the cow-calf guy who can help move our industry forward. And it is a lot easier to work on the baby calves when firstborn than when you are weaning right before you sell. Soon your efforts will be up in lights -
ON THE LED BOARDS in the auction marts. A description of your calves along with any value added information such as age verification, vaccinations, etc. will notify buyers of the extra work you have put into your calves. This should improve the marketability of the calves especially as age verification becomes mandatory in Alberta.
These LED boards were provided to the auction marts through the Verified Beef Program. This program is an industry led initiative along with:
THE LIVESTOCK CASH ADVANCE. This is a management tool that our counterparts in the grain industry have had for years.
This can be used as your operating loan and it helps with cash flow. You can save thousands of dollars in interest - unless you like giving money to the bank. The first $100,000 is interest free. The loan is paid back as you sell calves. This is a great business tool that I strongly recommend you look into and see if it can provide a benefit to you. The MCPA pushed hard to make this available for producers so go ahead and use it.
I took one out last year and will take out another this year. The office is in Winnipeg and you can find an ad with the number in this month’s paper.

I would like to finish off this month’s column by thanking Martin Unrau for the two years he served as our President.
I believe a good leader must be credible and knowledgeable about the industry he is representing. Successful leaders are positive, sincere, honest, hardworking and do what is best with no hidden agendas.
Positive thinkers create their own opportunities while those who are negative can only see what can’t be done.
Good leaders earn respect and do not take it for granted. They are in it for the long haul, not for 15 minutes of fame. No battle was ever won by a leader who believed he couldn’t succeed.
Again, I would like to thank Martin for setting an excellent example for us all to follow.
Read more!

COMMENTARY


by Ray Armbruster

I am writing this to update producers about the TB situation here in Manitoba, but this is also a message to government.
Producers in and around the Riding Mountain Eradication Area (RMEA) call me, angry and frustrated that after all this time they are still being required to test their cattle. From their perspective, they have been doing so continually, with no end in sight, for nearly 20 years.

At this time I would like to thank producers for their efforts. And while I know the continued testing of cattle may appear to be a waste of time to producers burdened with the task, the fact we aren’t finding infected herds helps raise the confidence in the health of the cattle in the area. As I’ve mentioned many times before, this helps keep our provincial status TB-Free. Hopefully because of this, the level of testing will decrease.
Last year the MCPA was successful in it’s lobbying efforts to secure a mustering fee for those producers in the RMEA who are subjected to ongoing herd testing. The MCPA pays $1 per head and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) pays $6 per head. We know this is not nearly enough, but despite our efforts, neither Manitoba Conservation or Parks Canada were willing to step up and acknowledge the efforts by producers and contribute to the fee and that is extremely disappointing.
The federal government has said that their dollars and manpower will be spent dealing with the strategic testing and eradication of wildlife; and that the CFIA will provide the manpower to come in and do the cattle testing.
When the MCPA began talking to government about a mustering fee, it became apparent early on that in order to make this happen, industry was going to have to make a financial contribution as well.
As a Board we had to set guidelines on how payment would be delivered and who would be eligible. It was decided that the mustering fee would be paid to producers in the RMEA who have been continually testing. Unfortunately, those who have to occasionally test (tracebacks) outside of that area are ineligible.
However, we are not ignoring those producers - we have lobbied for them as well, asking for the same help that was made available to producers in B.C. who faced quarantine while their herds were being tested.
Now that AgriRecovery is in place, and a precedent has been set in B.C., the provincial government has to agree, then take it forward to the federal government. To date, we still do not have an answer on this issue.
And while our goal is eradication of the disease, we will continue to lobby for more financial support for producers who have to test.

On a more positive note, there has been some progress. Whereas seven years ago we were testing all over the RMEA, we have been able to establish that the newly named Western Control Zone is where the problem is the most serious.
This is difficult to explain without showing a map and providing a historical perspective, but I will sum up by saying that the only reason we were able to establish this zone is because of the work in surveillance and monitoring of wildlife; capturing and hunter samples; and also because of the monumental commitment made by cattle producers.
We’ve tested nearly 200,000 head of cattle in the RMEA since the 2002-03 testing year. The cattle herds act as sentinels as to where the disease is prevalent in the wildlife. Knowing this will now allow us to focus more vigorously on the high risk area.
Recently, Parks Canada announced that they have a goal of eradication and now have a straight-out removal program. We recognize this and support their efforts wholeheartedly to eradicate TB from the RMEA.
In a recent article in the Winnipeg Free Press, Parks Canada took a lot of criticism over their recent commitment, which may explain part of the reason why this has taken so long. The Manitoba Wildlife Federation vigorously opposes us and Parks Canada on this issue and look for public support to further their cause.

While we are trying to get this resolved, I have to ask producers once again to continue to work at keeping their herds disease free.
Testing has been extremely important in the past and will continue to be in the future - along with methods to remove interaction between wildlife and cattle.
We recognize that if barrier fencing is properly used and maintained it is a key element in keeping wildlife away from feed. I’d like to encourage producers to contact either the MCPA or MAFRI if they feel they need help with this.
I ask producers to continue to erect and maintain barrier fencing where needed; or consider guardian dogs which have been on trial for a few years and they can be effective at keeping the wildlife away from cattle. From time to time there are special situations where interaction is a problem and we will work hard with producers and government to remedy it.

We have to remain diligent so that our concerns are taken seriously.
One argument that I have heard from Manitoba Conservation officials is that cattle producers are not doing their part. This sidetracks the negotiations and gives government an excuse to not take our demands seriously.
For the most part, producers recognize what is at stake. Many have been unable to adopt practises like bale and swath grazing because of concern for the bio-security of their cattle. Not everyone in Manitoba Conservation recognizes the sacrifices producers are making.
The ninth case of TB in whitetail deer was recently reported in the RMEA. We have a bad situation brewing that needs a direct approach sooner rather than later. The fact TB is moving into the deer population underlines even more the need to eliminate this problem at its source.
Considering the level of disease within the whitetail deer and elk populations, total avoidance of year round interaction between wildlife and cattle is an impossible task. We still have to get to the source of the disease and focus on eradication. The RMEA was created with that goal.
TB is an economic, bio-security, animal welfare, food safety and human health issue that cannot be ignored any longer.
We are dealing with an infectious, reportable disease and it is irresponsible to leave it on the landscape where there is the opportunity for it to continuously maintain itself.
All members of the TB Task Force are onside with this rationale, with the exception of the Department of Conservation. They have a lack of understanding and respect for cattlemen and push the blame back onto producers when we pressure them to develop and cooperate with a more direct effort towards eradication. We recognize that monitoring and surveillance and management are all key issues— have supported this in past and will in the future—but we also need a direct approach towards eradication.
Manitoba’s Conservation’s lack of commitment could be seen by many as down right negligence on their part - knowing there is a problem but refusing to do something about it. This is unacceptable.
And finally, I would like to end this commentary by saying producer frustration with this process is completely justified. There is a feeling in the RMEA that as long as they continue to test, the issue will never be resolved.
Producers have been shouldering this burden for too long. The only proven method of eliminating TB is through animal removal. We need all government agencies working together to make that happen.

- Ray Armbruster is the chairman of the MCPA’s animal health committee.
Read more!

Keystone Processors up and running


by Karen Emilson

Keystone Processors is up and running, and while their facility isn’t fully operational, the company seems to be off to a solid start.
Company President and General Manager, Kelly Penner, recently toured MCPA Directors through the facility which is housed in the former Maple Leaf pork plant on Marion St., in Winnipeg.

The facility was undergoing extensive renovations at the time. Since then, the cutting facility opened right on schedule, and the company began processing 40 head of cattle per week - supplied by provincially inspected abbatoirs in McCreary and Carman.
Penner explained that they hope to have the renovations completed and a federally inspected killing floor operational by early 2011. Plans are to slaughter 250 head at day during a single-shift with hopes of adding a second shift of an additional 250 head when needed.
Keystone Processors is a joint venture of Natural Prairie Beef and the Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council (MCEC). A deal to buy the plant last July was made possible by a $2.4 million investment by the MCEC. Keystone is looking to secure additional funding so they can continue with their expansion plans.
Read more!

MCPA says good-bye to Val Bell


by Karen Emilson

Taking care of people is what Val Bell does best, but by the end of February, her days of taking care of cattle producers are over.
Val is moving on and beginning a whole new life in Fitzgerald, Georgia with a new husband and a new home.

Val was hired to work for the MCPA by General Manager Keith Robertson in July 2003 after she returned to the province to care for her ailing mother.
Val had worked previously for Buchanan Lumber Sales in Upsala, Ontario in a bush camp where she kept tabs on 25 heavy equipment operators. She cleaned the office, answered phones, made coffee and cinnamon buns so the guys would have something warm to eat when they came in after a long day’s work.
Prior to that, she ran a cattle farm for 10 years at Beausejour, supporting four young children after her husband Paul died of cancer at the age of 52. It was the toughest period of her life, but the experience she gained got her foot in the door at the MCPA.
“I can never thank Keith enough for hiring me,” she said. “I knew something about the rear end of a cow and I could type, but that’s about it.”
It was two months into the BSE crisis and Val suddenly found herself on the frontline in the office. Answering the phone and being the first voice producers heard during that uncertain, stressful time, meant she and the rest of the office staff learned to work as a team in a hurry.
“It was overwhelming because for awhile there, all three lines would be busy, all day long and we were all on the phone,” she said. “I talked to producers who were worried they were going to lose everything and some were talking suicide. Usually by the time we finished talking they would say ‘thank you’ for listening - because they needed to vent and couldn’t talk to their wives about how they were feeling. I realized that I had to have my best voice on all the time because that is what they needed. I feel honoured that they chose to talk to me. It was a horrible time to be a cattle producer and unfortunately, things haven’t changed much in that respect.”
In addition to answering the phones, Val is responsible for keeping the Cattle Country mailing list current, books airline flights and hotel rooms, schedules meetings, directs inquiries to the right staff person, keeps the office running smoothly and makes sure the Directors have what they need to stay organized. She also played a huge role in organizing the MCPA’s Annual General Meeting.
And with nearly six years of experience under her belt, Val has seen both staff and directors come and go.
“After Keith left we didn’t have a General Manager for nine months,” she said. “That was hard but members of the executive committee - Ken Crockatt, Martin Unrau, Art Jonasson - they were all here when we needed them and we were able to keep things going.”

Now with her children all grown and married, Val has decided to turn a page and start yet another chapter in her life. Last year she met Paul Weaver through a mutual acquaintance and their long distance friendship blossomed into love. On May 9th she and Paul will marry in his home town of Fitzgerald, Georgia with her children and their families in attendance. After the wedding Val will help out in Paul’s Cypress lumber and log home building business.
“It is very difficult to leave Manitoba but love has a way of being the deciding factor,” she said. “I’m not leaving for a better job, this is an opportunity for me to be a wife again.”
Val is currently in the process of obtaining a U.S. Visa but says that she will always be a “Canadian,” hopefully with dual citizenship.
And she said if there is one message she would like to leave with everyone it is this:
“At the office we got calls from producers who have said thanks to us for the job we are doing and it felt wonderful to work in an industry with such fantastic people.
I really admire all the present directors, and those who have retired from the board, for all the time and effort they put in, for their dedication to represent the industry in Manitoba - it is just phenomenal what they do on producer’s behalf.
And it is humbling to think that I was a part of something so big. This really was an eye-opening place to work and I want to say thanks to everyone for making the last five and half years so enjoyable.”
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Industry applauds livestock handling course

by Claire De'Athe

Unfortunately, on more than one occasion we’ve met them.
On our farm, the banging of cattle against the aluminum sides of the trailer makes us cringe. Then the whoosh of air brakes, more clattering, as the cattle liner backs up to our loading chute.

My husband Doug and I have looked at one another disparagingly and rolled our eyes: the unspoken words, “another live one,” hang in the air. We help the trucker load and when we are done, shake our heads.

Fortunately, the careless, untrained livestock hauler is not the average. I remember one of Doug Green’s drivers well.

I realized he’d arrived to pick-up a load of fats when I saw his rig idling in front of the chute. He was grumpy with us humans, but efficient at handling stock. In very short order the big, possum belly eased away from the yard. There was a minimum of scraping in the trailer and the odd click as he geared up. The motor growled steadily and we heard a hiss of brakes as the semi paused to turn onto the main road. We went back to work feeling pleased and confident that those steers would be well taken care of on the trip.

It isn’t always that livestock transportation companies are able to hire drivers with experience handling and hauling all varieties of cattle, hogs, the other four footed animals as well as poultry. With animal care and welfare issues growing within the agricultural industry, producers need to be concerned about our image—both on the farm and on the road­.

Seeing a need for better education, the Alberta Farm Animal Council became the driving force behind establishing the Canadian Certified Livestock Transport training program. Input and funding came from Agriculture Canada, various provincial government departments and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. When the Farm Animal Councils of Saskatchewan and Ontario saw the benefits, they too, jumped on board.

The course is designed to provide skills certification for the Canadian livestock transportation sector. As well as elevating the degree of driver professionalism, it also provides some standardization.

This was a much-needed initative because the meat industry is wholly dependent on transportation. Hog plants, participants in the Canada Gold Beef program and an increasing number of major feedlots, are now demanding that drivers delivering or picking up stock at their premises be CLT certified.

On February 20, a day long CLT course, promoted by the MCPA, was held in Brandon.
Ken McDonald from Indian Head, Saskatchewan was the trainer for the for the classroom session. Other participants included two Canadian Food Inspectors and an assortment of experienced livestock haulers.
The goals
• Provide drivers with the tools to do a good job
• Increase the driver’s confidence by providing the knowledge of his rights and responsibilities.
• Promote opportunities for networking and new business.

McDonald began by explaining how a change in mandate in 2005 gave CFIA inspectors more options to deal with untoward situations regarding animal care. The federal government’s law, under the Health of Animals regulations, cannot be super ceded by provincial standards, unless the provincial standards are stricter. Codes of practice for farm animals, while not used in a legal sense, are the accepted standards used in evaluating a case. Today, the CFIA can handle a welfare infraction in several ways - from verbal instruction to the laying of charges.

Professionalism was an interesting, lively discussion topic as all drivers sometimes face problems dealing with producers, enforcement agents and auction mart personnel. The topic of downer stock provoked much discussion and debate.

What I found particularly interesting was learning how to calculate load density and ceiling clearance. Several videos showed handling techniques for horses as well as the food animals. It would be impossible to describe all the topics covered in the manual, which was comprehensive but easy to follow. The course is recommended for all livestock haulers, producers and especially entry-level drivers.

The CFIA inspectors rounded out the impromptu discussions and answered many questions. Because policy does not allow inspectors to make media statements, truckers are encouraged to go to the CFIA web site at www,inspection.gc.ca for more information or in person at the district offices in Brandon, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach and Winnipeg.

I spoke to Gary Rhodes at the course. He trucks livestock and employs eleven drivers. Although he hauls 99% cattle, his outfit has moved horses, bison and elk. Despite having 20 years of experience under his belt, Rhodes and several of his drivers found the course quite informative. He said that once his men have completed CLT certification, he wants them to carry their reference manuals in the semis.

Rhodes reported that before the course began, one of his more mature drivers stated, “I’ll be amazed if I learn anything new today.” As they left the building, Rhodes asked his employee if the day had been worthwhile. The reply was: “I definitely learned some important tricks.” Rhodes plans to have all his operators CLT certified.

- Claire De’Athe is a cattle producer and freelance
writer from Carberry.
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Connecting Buyers and Sellers

by Matthew Wright

About a year and a half ago, 18 year-old Mark Van de Kerchhove saw a need in the growing realm of web marketing and made that link to an industry he knows well - bull sales.

The son of purebred Charolais breeders in Pilot Mound, Van De Kerckhove, used the skills he gained while studying at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon to create his own web site, Bull-Trader.

Launched in the fall of 2008, Bull-Trader provides both buyers and sellers of purebred cattle an easy way of connecting and doing business.

Tradionally, buyers rely on newspaper advertisements, ads posted in community coffee shops or auction marts and word of mouth. Van De Kerckhove’s web site offers two benefits to those buyers.

Firstly, with the click of a mouse, Bull-Trader offers an easy to use format that provides potential buyers with pictures, statistics including bull weights from birth to yearling stage, heredity background and tattoo number all cleverly organized by breed. What’s more, if you find something that interests you, the contact information is all right there at your fingertips.

Secondly, Bull-Trader is able to offer cheaper advertising rates than most other outlets as Van De Kerckhove’s costs to run the web site are low. He can provide much more information than a pre-specified ad space would, it is customizable and of course, there’s no extra charge for full colour. Not only that, but his advertisers get the added benefit that he currently promotes his web site in major and local farm papers thereby increasing overall exposure for his business and ultimately, the breeders that post bulls on his web site.

“The price you’re paying for advertisement (on Bull-Trader) is more of an investment; you’re not paying for a single ad because it also goes into where I advertise the site, like through my mailing list, bulletins, Cattle Country and the Manitoba Cooperator,” he said.

The challenge now, said Van De Kerckhove is alerting both buyers and sellers that the option is available.

“I’ve done my homework and there is no other site like this in Manitoba. So far, the reception has been really positive, there is a lot of interest,” Van De Kerckhove said.
The fact that some cattle producers still haven’t embraced the internet age doesn’t faze the young man.

“The sellers might not be at that stage yet, but the buyers mostly are and pretty much every breeder has a web site of their won,” he said.

Van De Kerckhove grew up in a cattle family and can boast a broad knowledge of the industry, something that will shine through on his web site.

Right now he’s focusing his efforts on Manitoba but hopes to expand his service to the other prairie provinces in the future, essentially growing market opportunities for those involved in the industry.

Ultimately, Van De Kerckhove, who operates his business out of his home in Brandon, hopes to be that middle player that seamlessly links those who are selling cattle, with those who are looking to buy.

“People will always need bulls to breed their herds. I want people to have success with this web site. I want them to sell their bulls because someone saw it on Bull-Trader,” he said.
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COLUMN - A View of the Industry


by Deb McMillin

The Statistics Canada report of Canadian cattle inventories report recently pegged the total cattle and calves inventory to be lower once again, with a total of 13.18 million cattle and calves on January 1, 2009 - 5.1% lower that the January 1, 2008 total.

This comes as no surprise as the number of cows marketed for slaughter was large in 2008. The total cattle and calves inventory in Canada has been on the decline since its peak in 2005. Cattle numbers grew quickly after 2003 when Canadian producers found limited opportunity to market mature cows in Canada and did not have access to export markets. The current inventory report however states that the inventory has decreased back to a level under the pre-BSE totals in 2003.

The number of beef cows reported in Canada was 4.65 million head, which was down 7% from a year ago. This varied regionally as the eastern provinces saw a reduction in beef cow numbers of 3% while the western provinces saw more significant changes. Alberta beef cows were down 7% while Saskatchewan and Manitoba both saw a 6% reduction in beef cows in the past year. BC saw the largest change with a reduction in its beef cow inventory of 15% since the start of 2008. The report also confirmed that the number of heifers being kept as replacement heifers was smaller in Western Canada with the exception of Manitoba. Manitoba replacement breeding heifer numbers were 11% larger than in January 2008 while Alberta was down 14% and BC and Saskatchewan were both down 12%.

Looking specifically at numbers for Manitoba the total number of cattle and calves in the province is 1.28 million head, down 6% from 2008. Beef cows totaled 575,000 head in the January 1 report for which was down 6% from January 2008 but was up 4% from January 1, 2003. The number of reported dairy cows in Manitoba was up 2% on January 1, 2009 to total 45,000 head.

The total Canadian inventory is expected to continue lower in the coming year. Slaughter is expected to remain strong due to increased demand for grinding and trim meats lead by consumers looking for decreased grocery expenditures through the economy troubles. In addition there is still considerable market uncertainty due to current input costs in cattle production as well as uncertainty around the effects of COOL on the entire Canadian cattle market.

The USDA recently reported the January 1, 2009 US cattle inventory however at the same time they release revision to the 2008 numbers. These revisions stated fewer than previously reported cattle numbers. The total number of Cattle and Calves in the US on January 1, 2009 was 94.491 million head, down 2% from the revised year ago total.
The beef cows in the US were down 2% and now total 31.671 million head that is the smallest beef cow herd in the US since 1963. These revisions in the US for 2008 coupled with the reduction in the herd throughout the past year results in a smaller US herd than analysts had expected for 2009. Looking forward even as total cattle numbers appear to be bullish in the US expansion is not expected. The US herd is expected to continue to contract due to increased production costs, less grazing land available as producers have looked to cash crops, a softer US economy and its affects on beef demand as well as weather conditions across the US.
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Anaplasmosis found in Manitoba Cow Herd

Testing will continue after Anaplasmosis was discovered in two Manitoba cow herds.
Twenty-six animals tested positive and were ordered destroyed from a 418 head commerical and purebred herd situated in the eastern part of the province. Following testing of herds neighbouring the pasture where the disease was discovered, another 33 animals tested positive in one herd and the investigation continues.
This is the first time the disease has been confirmed in Manitoba since 1968. Because Anaplasmosis is a federally reportable disease, the producers involved will be compensated for the loss of their animals.


Background
Anaplasmosis is caused by a red blood cell parasite transmitted by ticks but also through management practices where blood contamination occurs (dehorning, castration, treatment using common needles). Cattle infected with Anaplasmosis remain infected for life, serving as a source of infection to other animals. Canada is considered free of Anaplasmosis which has been a federally reportable disease since December 17, 1969.
The disease has previously occurred 5 times in Canada - in Manitoba in 1968, Quebec in 1979, Saskatchewan in 1983, Ontario in 1996 and in a bison herd in Saskatchewan in 2000. Only the 1968 and 1983 events are considered outbreaks as in 1979, 1996 and 2000, spread did not occur beyond the index premises associated with imported cattle.
Recent 2007 consultation with stakeholders reaffirmed maintenance of the CFIA’s Anaplasmosis import restrictions and domestic policy which includes quarantine of infected herds and testing plus slaughter of infected animals. Herds in close proximity to the infected herd will also be tested. Trace-in herds and trace-out livestock from the infected premises will also be investigated and tested.
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COLUMN - Beyond the Range of Reason


By Jerry Nelson

The economy is in the news a bit nowadays, which is about like saying that the sun tends to rise in the east. Every day brings yet another boatload of bad economic news. The weight of it presses down on us and makes us want to huddle in the basement like children hiding from a summer thunderstorm.

It’s been said that the only difference between a recession and a depression is our collective state of mind. If that’s the case shouldn’t the government, just to be safe, start pumping Prozac into our water supply?

A farm machinery dealer summed it up best recently when he commented, “This country would be a whole lot better off if people would just quit listening to the news!”
Not listening wouldn’t change the fact that it has gotten tough for many. There is no shortage of pain as folks watch their dreams melt like a snowman in May. But as dire as things may seem, there can be no doubt that we will someday find our way out of this ditch.

America is still the land of opportunity, full of ambitious, energetic and inventive people. New industries and new jobs will rise from the ashes of this recession, or downturn, or whatever you want to call it.

While this dip in the economy is probably not as bad as the Great Depression, we can certainly take some lessons from that era. One of them is the lost art of hunkering.
Hunkering can be summed up by a bumper sticker I once saw: “I’ve done so much with so little for so long, I can now do almost anything with just about nothing!”

I was a farmer for most of my life, which meant that I was self-employed. There was thus little chance that I would be fired for, say, showing up late for work. On the other hand, my boss could really be a jerk and often forced me to work long hours. My wages generally fell somewhere between “little” and “none.”
Because of this, my wife and I perfected the art of hunkering during our early years together.

Certainly we would have qualified for food stamps back when we were a struggling young dairy farm couple with two small kids at home. We never applied for them, though. Pride was a factor, but I also thought it weird that a guy who raises food would get food assistance from the government. In any case, we never went hungry.

This was because we hunkered. We did without such things as nights at the movies, and planted a large garden. When one of my cows broke a leg, we butchered her and my wife canned most of the meat. We dined for many months on the delicious beef stew that was once a Holstein named Becky.

We also ate road kill, thanks to my wife’s uncanny ability for “grilling” deer with the car. Such events are a pain in the neck for us, but generally fatal for the deer. When we were young and poor, we never let a little thing like tread marks on a carcass stand in the way of fresh venison.

Speaking of cars, we did everything we could to save gas. We had a Chevette -- basically a roller skate bolted to a lawn mower engine -- which got about 50 miles per gallon. It had a stick shift, so I would extend our gas mileage whenever we went downhill by popping the tranny into neutral and killing the engine. I often drove many miles out of our way so we could save gas by coasting down a hill. My wife argued that this used more gas than we were saving, but women tend to have a poor grasp of the automotive world.

Another hunkering method involved saving on electricity by burning candles. My wife has always had a thing for candlelight. When I met first her, my wife’s apartment had more candles than a Medieval monastery.

Luckily for us, our family knew about this and often gave my wife candles for Christmas and birthdays, along with extra-special candles from Rome for the Fourth of July. One evening we were enjoying a cozy candlelit meal when my wife caught me staring deeply into the flickering flame. Smiling warmly, she reached across the table, squeezed my hand and asked, “What are you thinking?”

“I was thinking about how all this wax is going up in smoke,” I replied, “And what it’s going to cost to replace these candles. But I believe I’ve come up with a way to make them last longer. What do you call that stuff I’m always digging out of my ears?”

- Jerry Nelson is a recovering dairy farmer. He and wife Julie live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 115 years ago at Volga, South Dakota.
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Report debunks earlier greenhouse gas numbers

No question about it: The 2006 United Nations report Livestock’s Long Shadow put a new jolt into animal-rights and other anti-meat campaigns.

The report’s claim that 18 percent of global greenhouse gases are caused by animal agriculture has become a rallying cry for activists whose fondest wish is to weld the animal rights and environmental movements into one giant behemoth to remake the way we eat. But something has always smelled a little funny about that “18 percent,” and we worked to put a finger on it.

The Marlborough Express reports that the company’s marketing manager spoke with Pierre Gerber, a livestock policy officer who co-authored the UN report. And Gerber apparently agreed that “18 percent” was a generalization that might not apply to every country.
“Buried in the report,” writes Express reporter Jon Morgan, “is the information that deforestation—mainly in the Amazonian rainforest—is included in that figure. Without it, livestock’s contribution falls to less than 12 per cent.”

They don’t clearcut or burn down forests for pasture land in New Zealand, you see. And neither do we in the United States.

But even 12 percent still sounded a bit unrealistic. So we went digging.
In April the Environmental Protection Agency released a massive 473-page report called the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006. It’s a complete accounting of global-warming-related emissions in the United States and where they come from. Here’s what the EPA has to say:

In 2006, the agricultural sector was responsible for emissions of 454.1 teragrams of CO2 equivalent (Tg CO2 Eq.), or 6 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Yes, six percent. Not 18 or 12. And that six percent represents all of agriculture, not just meat production. It includes greenhouse-gas emissions from farming cotton, wheat, broccoli, soybeans (tofu, anyone?), and everything else that comes out of the ground.

It gets more interesting still. The EPA actually separates out the various kinds of agricultural emissions, including two categories (“manure management” and “enteric fermentation”) which are clearly related to raising animals for food, and many (like “rice cultivation”) which clearly are not.

The livestock-related greenhouse-gas emissions from 2006 add up to 181.9 teragrams of CO2 equivalent. And the EPA reports that the entire United States emitted 7,054.2 teragrams during that year.

We did the math. Greenhouse-gas sources directly related to livestock production in the United States only account for 2.58 percent of the total. And the latest USDA figures we could find, show that 95 percent of the animal products we consume are produced right here in the United States.

In addition to deforestation, the UN report counts livestock-related carbon emissions from a few other sources that the EPA doesn’t consider. Burning fuels to make fertilizer, for instance, along with tilling soil to grow feed crops, and the transportation of meat to market. But we’re asking ourselves this: If livestock production disappeared tomorrow, wouldn’t we just be transporting more tofu around? And wouldn’t we just be plowing and fertilizing the land to supply PETA’s vegetarian utopia?

That settles it for us. “Livestock’s Long Shadow” has officially disappeared, at least where domestic meat production is concerned. All it took was a little bit of light.
For related articles on this subject, head to the Center for Consumer Freedom.

- Source: www.BEEFmagazine.
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DIRECTOR PROFILE - Brian Sterling


by Karen Emilson

Last winter, Brian Sterling attended a National Cattlemen’s meeting in the U.S. At the next MCPA Board meeting, he delivered an impressive, half hour power point presentation on what he learned. I’ve been looking forward to interviewing him ever since.

It is the dead of winter and about as cold as it can get. The sun is bright but there is a bite to the wind that makes it unbearable if facing in to it too long.

I have zig-zagged my way southwest to Tilston, and just discovered that it is a half-horse town at best—only three miles from the Saskatchewan border and pretty much 25 miles in every direction, from anything. Much like where I live.

I park in front of the post office boxes and pull out my cell phone. Surprisingly, there is service. A face suddenly appears at the driver’s side window and scares me half to death. It’s Brian - wearing red coveralls and a fur hat with the flaps down.
“Perfect timing!” he hollers and waves for me to follow his truck home. Earlier he told me that his place was easy to find, that you can see their barn from town, and he wasn’t kidding. He and his wife Sandra live pretty much at the end of Main Street.

We step into the porch and I hang up my coat, then follow him into the warm kitchen where Sandra is making a wonderful lunch. Brian tells me that she does not call soup and sandwiches a meal - that whenever she is home, they have a sit down dinner that includes “greens.” My timing is perfect once again.

Sandra works as a librarian and educational assistant at the school in Reston. It is the weekend so she is home. “So now you have an appreciation for how far I have to drive to meetings,” Brian laughs when I confess this was a longer drive than I expected. “That’s why I often can’t make it to Winnipeg for extra meetings. When most guys are giving up one day, I’m giving up two.”

He tells me that he isn’t a morning person; they don’t like to make plans and are usually late—confirming what I thought I knew all along—Brian is a bit of a free spirit.
We sit down at the table to chat. He tells me that he and Sandra grew up in the area, have been married since 1975 and have farmed here their whole lives. Brian did spend some time when he was younger working out - in a steel mill and on a combining crew - but basically he has always made a living right here in mostly cattle but also a bit of grain.

“This was my grandfather’s place,” he said. “Right here where we are sitting used to be a horse stable. He slept upstairs and the horses rested downstairs.”

Brian and Sandra have two children: a daughter, Jessica, 23 who lives and works in Brandon and a son, Andy, 25. Andy arrives in time for lunch and joins in the conversation. He lives 20 miles south at Pierson, and is back in Manitoba helping out on the farm while he waits for the Saskatchewan drilling rig he works for to start up again. Andy took AgriBusiness at College, but like most young men in the area, can earn more money in the oil fields. He would like to farm full-time and has built a herd of 40 cows. We talk for awhile about the idea of expanding at someone else’s expense.
“I was sitting next to someone who was buying cows and he was mad,” Andy says. “He was shaking his head, saying that it was #*!@ crime that cows were selling for so low. It is a good time to buy, but you feel bad for the guy selling.”

Brian says that when he and Sandra took over the farm, they did all the things that were popular back then - including scrubbing out the sloughs and turning marginal land into productive grain land. His thinking has since changed.

“When we talk about land use transition—taking land out of cattle and turning it into grain—this is where it is happening, right here in this area. Further south they are bulldozing trees that have been growing since the 1930s.”

Brian began turning his grain land back into acres suitable for cattle in the 1980s. Since then, he has noticed an increase in the amount of wildlife in the area. Sustainable farming and environmental protection was an interest of his long before he became a Director with the MCPA.

“But I have to admit, a lot of it I just fluked into,” he says, “which just goes to show how practises that benefit cattle work naturally well with the environment.”
He tells this story: In 1985 he was grassing 300-400 yearlings but was having a serious problem with foot rot, so he decided to fence off the areas around the creek and put in a watering system.

“A grazing guy came out and took a look at it and thought I was doing it to save the riparian area.”

The fencing he put around the creek created natural paddocks and because most of their land is connected, he added a few cross fences and began moving the cattle from one paddock to another. “Then they started calling me a pioneer in rotational grazing but I was doing it for other reasons, mostly because it was easy. I had to get the cattle from one side of the creek to the other.”

Brian says that when he converted some of his grain land to grass, he decided to sow meadow brome and alfalfa. He had two bags of western wheat grass that he decided to throw in.

“Well, the cattle didn’t eat the wheat grass and it grew really tall. When fall came, everything was gone except for the wheat grass. The grazing guys thought I’d done it to catch snow, but to be quite honest, I had no idea why I did it. Now it has become a mix recommended by Ducks Unlimited.”

Because his area is traditionally very dry, finding ways to hold moisture is always on everyone’s mind. A few years ago Brian thought it would be a good idea to trap a live beaver and introduce him to the creek.

“That didn’t work out so well,” he laughs. “I thought he’d build a dam and hold the water back, which he did. I just didn’t realize he would attract so many more of his kind!”

He is called “McSterling” when he’s flipping burgers or “Bull Dog” when he has taken a hold of an issue and won’t let go. What I find most interesting about Brian is his modesty. He sincerely doesn’t realize how good he is at furthering the cattleman’s cause, nor does he know how much weight his words carry. Brian is the sort of guy you want to have on your side.

I ask what made him decide to become a Director with the MCPA.

“Trevor Atchison kinda tricked me into it,” he said. “He sent in a letter pretending to be me and I got a call from Keith Robertson (the General Manager at the time) saying he was glad I was interested. I thought Trevor had done it in jest, so I sent back an email saying I’d be glad to do it, thinking they would be mortified by the idea of having me on the Board.”

Of course now, I have to ask him why.

“Well I don’t know. Why would they want me on there?” he asks.

Then he explains that he came on halfway through the year - replacing Scott Hunt from Hartney. Scott had a young family and just didn’t have time.
“Schweitzer was the President. BSE was going full tilt so it was pretty overwhelming. I almost didn’t go back after the first meeting. I didn’t have a handle on any of it and there was so much going on. I didn’t understand what they were talking about.”
Shirley Conibear, a Director from the next District over, piqued Brian’s interest by asking him to help her on the environment committee. He said it took about four meetings before he started to catch on. “And then it was tough to quit because they were a pretty committed bunch of people and it was easy to get caught up in the desire to try and make a difference.” He said that he thought he’d just finish out the year, but then he got hooked.

Brian says what really opened his eyes was the realization that the MCPA is a lobby group but not in the position to affect immediate change.

“The toughest thing for me to understand was that confrontation really didn’t get you anywhere. You can do it; and it makes you feel good at the time, and you would get your point across, but it doesn’t make anyone want to do anything for you.”

He explained that he had been on a few community boards prior to the MCPA and spent six years on the Co-op Board, so he had a hint of what a person needed to do to be a successful board member.

“It doesn’t bother me anymore, but at first it is hard for strong-minded people to accept that the majority rules and if you argue a point and lose the vote, you have to go with it. Because you are suddenly representing all cattle producers, you have to change your attitude. I’ve found out a few times that I’m not always right.”
Brian is starting his fifth year on the Board and the third as the Association’s Environmental Committee chairman. Last winter at a Board meeting in Winnipeg, there was a very serious discussion involving the many contributions cattle producers make to the environment, but how these contributions are ignored. By the end of that day, an idea was formulated and a strong focus has strengthened since.

“It is something most of us just take for granted, but the cattle industry has more to offer environmentally than any other industry in Manitoba,” he said, adding that peer reviewed research is currently being done to substantiate his claims. “We know what ALUS does and doesn’t do, and it doesn’t work for cattle producers. Our Environmental Goods and Services proposal will reward cattle producers for their contribution to a healthy environment.”

The MCPA’s EG&S proposal was put together late last summer by the environment committee and Board Policy Analyst, Shane Sadorski. It was presented to government in the fall.

“We are asking to be paid for environmental goods and services that can be measured,” Brian said. “It is sad when we are compared to the transportation industry. They can reduce, but they can’t offset an environmental emission. Granted, we are producers of emissions, however we not only have the ability to offset our own emissions, but also to offset the emissions of others. When we talk about the livestock industry, lets talk about offsets instead of just emissions. This is a real passion of mine. We are a good industry environmentally and we are getting the short end of the stick. The worst of it is there are smart people saying that livestock is responsible for 20% of the world’s emissions and people listen to them. My problem with it is that first, nobody is questioning that maybe they are wrong, and secondly, nobody talks about offsets.”
Brian said the Board is starting to see support across the country for the proposal and he hopes it will be implemented before his six years as a Director are done.

Another thing that frustrates Brian is the disconnect that exists between farmers and urbanites.

“We are providing an essential service but how do we get that message across to the average urbanite?” he asks. “The things we do every day really matter. We have to get our feed made, we have to feed our cattle. The decisions we make every day determine whether we are successful or not and sometimes we have no control over circumstances that affect our livelihood.

How many people have jobs where they go to work and what they do doesn’t really matter? A lot. And it is very discouraging to watch our industry try to survive, while tax dollars from producers who are holding down two or three jobs are being spent to bail out banks, the auto industry and to pay the exorbitant salaries of corporate executives who dart between government offices asking for bailouts. Anyone in the cattle industry can tell you that too many parasites on an old cow will eventually kill that cow. Then the parasite dies.”

I ask Brian what he thinks of recent decisions made by the current MCPA Board.

“I really like the youth movement that is happening on the board right now,” he says. “I really think the young guys have to take the reigns, they are the ones who will be influenced most by the decisions we make around the table. And they will be the ones still on the Board a few years from now, accountable for those decisions.”
And Brian is especially supportive of the Board’s decision to withdraw membership from the Keystone Agriculture Producers. In fact, he was the Director who brought forward the motion.

“It is difficult for a general farm organization to represent all of the ag sector. Our cow-calf and feeding industry rely on trade to prosper and this is the opposite of the dairy and feather industries. The subsidized ethanol industry makes it difficult for us to compete for feed grains, but is great for the grain industry. We need commodity groups to fight for needs that are specific to that commodity. Having said that, a general farm organization is a very useful tool to lobby for the ag industries on a united front on some common issues such as the environment.”

When lunch is done, we decide to take a drive out to see the cattle. Sandra tells me that she supports Brian’s decision to be on the Board but doesn’t like it when he is away too many nights and worries about him on the road in bad weather. And she says it keeps him very busy. “We call him “Hollywood” because he is on the phone all the time. I think it is good for him, though. It is very stimulating. He can be a very sociable person, but he also needs time alone to think,” she said.

“And all these issues make you think, I’ll tell you!” Brian says as we climb into the truck and head down the road.

Brian points to the house where he grew up, just a few miles from where they live now, then stops the truck and gets out to open the gate. He doesn’t have a dedicated feeding spot and has been feeding the cattle on the fields for years. They have been corn grazing since 1996 and last year found they didn’t have to start feeding hay until early March. They also do some swath grazing.

Hay was in short supply las summer due to an early drought that burned off all the hayfields in June. Timely rains after that meant some grain producers in the area harvested good crops - some with excellent yields. But the challenge of finding the money to buy feed and the task of having to haul water to cows has left many cattlemen in the southwest discouraged.

“Guys in this area are getting out of the industry, plain and simple,” he said. “There are dispersals at the sales every week.”

Brian is also planning to scale back his herd and put more calves on grass. Living in an area prone to drought means he has learned to become flexible with the herd. He says the first time he sold off cows it was difficult seeing them go, but that the decision gets easier every time he does it.

A few years ago, he decided to retain his calves and feed them up to 900 lbs. Since he didn’t sell that fall, he put off weaning and fluked into another management strategy that to date has worked well for him.

“I leave the calves on the cows over the winter instead of weaning,” he said. “We start calving at the end of April and I found that the calves naturally wean themselves by March.”

He says the only drawback he has found is that it is hard on the cows, so he needs to feed them more grain. The benefit is that all the animals are in one place so feeding, plus the calves are easier to wean and they don’t get sick.

Before I leave, I ask Brian to tell me his thoughts on being a cattle producer.

“The thing I like most about the cow-calf industry is that it remains one of the few industries where anyone with $500 and a bit of gumption can experience the joys or pitfalls of owning an animal. They can experience the reward of being paid well for taking a risk, or the disappointment of having worked hard for no return. This industry will welcome anyone—old and young, rich or poor alike, whether you are from the rural area or an urbanite—there is no discrimination, no unions to join, no dues to pay, no quota to buy. Just go to the auction and buy your cow and the game is on. And even if the whole venture is a financial failure, there are life lessons that will be learned that you can’t put a price tag on. The uncertainty of life, the inevitability of death and the acceptance of it, is what allows one to get on with life and enjoy what we have rather than wasting energy desiring something we don’t have.

"Most cattle people I know are not monetarily secure, but generally speaking we are still a relatively happy lot. And I think that is because we have learned one of the secrets to being content and satisfied: That we can’t wait for tomorrow for happiness because we have no idea what will tomorrow will bring. We simply have to enjoy today.”

Well said, McSterling. Now it’s time we get back to work.
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Why the Cattle Industry is Important to Manitoba

by Fred Sharpe

Beef producers in Manitoba are proud to help feed the world. We have the land area, the water, and the expertise to produce healthy and healthful product that we are happy to provide to our residents and for export beyond our borders.

Much of our land is rolling hills and we live in the “pothole” country so we have many acres that are unfit for grain production, yet still can produce forage suitable for cattle. Areas of marginal land of sandy soil or steep slopes may be subject to water and wind erosion and may be well protected by seeding down a hay and forage stand. Cattle producers are using rotational grazing and off-site watering methods to further protect the soil, and we find these strategies benefit the cattle, soil and water quality and wildlife. Another scenario that our operation is exploring is the concept of paying to use our surrounding neighbor’s grain land for after harvest residue grazing. This will provide for longer grazing season for our cows, give our pastures a chance to rest before winter and another source of income for the grain farmer.

Economically, the beef industry generates income for many producers and has long been one area of diversification that fits into a mixed faming operation. The spin offs of the beef industry provides jobs and business opportunities for auction marts, the trucking industry, feed mills, manure spreaders and grass seed production across the province.

The B.S.E. crisis in 2003 was a severe blow to the industry and it will take many more years before the industry can totally recover. The spin offs from this calamity have been felt province wide, ranging from stores closing in our small towns, slow down n machinery sales, herd dispersals at a great loss, and producers leaving the industry. Now we are using R.F.I.D. tags in every animal being sold or moved. While this is an added expense right now, producers will comply in the hope that in the future this traceability – “from birth to plate” – will assure the world and our customers that we do produce a safe and wholesome product.

We beef producers have a great way of life. We live close to nature and we care for nature every day. We experience the cycle of life every year as the new calves arrive, and our children learn about life and death in a clean wholesome way. We are proud of what we produce and perhaps best of all---home grown beef sure tastes good on our plates!!
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COLUMN - The Bottom Line



by Rick Wright

“Enough is Enough Already!”
Just when we thought we had seen it all in this business, something that defies all reason and common sense comes to the surface.

The National Farmers Union of Canada’s reported support of R-Calf has betrayed the Canadian cattle industry. And while the NFU has worked overtime to deny any alliance with R-Calf (regardless of their official stance) the damage has been done.

R-Calf has reported in a press release that NFU director, Neil Peacock, stated:
“NFU no longer views R-Calf as a threat because our cattle producers are facing the same challenges as the independent, U.S. cattle producers.” Peacock was also quoted as saying, “Just like R-Calf members in the U.S., we are fighting the packers, the mega corporations and the ramifications of NAFTA and the WTO.” NFU director Jan Slomp was quoted as saying, “We need to be allies with R-Calf.”

If R-Calf is not a threat to the Canadian cattle business then who is? For the past ten years they have worked very hard to close the border to imports of Canadian cattle and beef products. They have been a major supporter of M-COOL in its most stringent form. R-Calf seems to have the ear of Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture and the last thing Canada needs is R-Calf claiming support from a national farm organization in Canada.

Since the press release, the NFU claims that they do not support R-CALF. Maybe they learned a lesson that most of the Canadian cattle industry already knew —in the past R-Calf has stretched the truth to further its own goals, and cannot be trusted!
The NFU turned its attention to the beef business in an effort to recruit more members from an industry in crisis. Their report on the packing industry contains nothing new. It is long on criticism and short on realistic solutions.

In other news, the Competition Bureau announced that it would not challenge the acquisition of Lakeside Packers in Brooks, Alberta by XL Foods Inc. This should clear the way for XL to take over the packing plant and other assets in the very near future.
The interesting part of the story is that the Competition Bureau found that after interviewing 50 industry representatives, that those interviewed were more concerned about keeping the packing plant open and operating than the reduction of competition in the meat processing business. It is no secret that there has been very little interest by other parties in purchasing the Lakeside operation. Even though we all want more competition the industry, it is good that Nilsson’s took the chance on the Lakeside operation. Another plant in mothballs will do nothing to increase the chances of opening overseas markets in the future. If the Competition Bureau had stopped the sale, the plant could have closed, making Canadian cattle feeders even more dependant on the U.S. market.

The fear factor of the unknowns surrounding M-COOL has surfaced again.
The rules as published by the Bush administration will come into effect March 16, 2009. However, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, has strongly suggested that if the packers do not segregate the cattle and products and label accordingly, he will pursue changes that will force them to do so. It will be very interesting to see how the packers react over the next six months. U.S. packers and cattle feeders had asked the Bush administration to lighten up on COOL so that they could remain cost competitive. Meat industry representatives feel that there will be a big enough percentage of product labelled “product of USA” to meet consumer needs.

Protectionist groups like R-Calf are using M-COOL as a trade barrier. Fear tactics over BSE and food safety are being used to encourage the U.S. government to tighten rules like M-COOL. The fact is, country of origin labelling has nothing to do with guaranteeing food safety. Independent inspection at processors and retailers, along with enforced food safety production protocols throughout the food chain, will help address food safety concerns—not a label stating where the product was born!
Canadian imports for direct slaughter account for a very small percentage of the weekly U.S. kill, however the affects of COOL on the feeder cattle business could be severe.

In 2008 we exported 573,000 feeder cattle to the U.S, up 6.4% from the previous year. As of February 21, 2009 we had already exported 56,200 feeder cattle south. We exported 649,000 fed cattle south last year, the equivalent of one week’s USDA reported average kill in the U.S., down 23.3% from last year.

Last year we exported 157,000 cull cows and 43,300 bulls to the U.S. The total number of cattle exported was 1.432 million head. One interesting fact is that 24% of the beef exported from the United States came back to Canada.

Even though we think we are short on cattle, the shortage has yet to arrive. Cow cull was running about 15% last year, while the 15-year average was 10%. The beef herd shrank about 6.6% last year with Manitoba losing about 6.1% of its base cowherd. These numbers put inventory close to the spring 2003. If that is a fact, then we have finally gotten rid of the extra inventory created during the BSE crisis. The beef cow cull projections for 2009 are estimated at 927,000 cows - a huge decrease in the number of Canadian beef cows. In comparison, the U.S. beef cowherd declined 764,000 head last year, resulting in the smallest cattle population in 50 years.

Combine the cattle supply ratio with projected cheap grain prices and it looks like there could be a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. Even though consumers are not purchasing as much beef as before— and U.S. exports are down due to the high value of their dollar—the current demand-driven market could easily change back to a supply driven market in the next two years.

The two keys for a successful Canadian market will be free access to export to the U.S. and a Canadian dollar worth under 80 cents.

As far as price projections go, expect steady prices on the cattle between 700 - 900 pounds, providing American feedlots do not lose interest due to COOL. Grass-type cattle will remain strong, as demand will outlast supplies of green feeders less than 650 pounds. Kill cows should remain strong, while bred cows look like a good buy. Finished cattle prices will continue to struggle in the second and third quarters as beef retailers compete with cheap pork in the stores and consumer spot purchases.
Until next time . . .
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Expanding ranch profit by windmill

Renewable wind power aeration revives rural pond water quality for livestock, eliminating the high cost of water hauling or electric aeration

Ranchers and rural landowners often rely on ponds or dugouts to supply their livestock or farm animals with fresh drinking water. While these bodies of water can be a valuable natural resource, too often they become stagnant, algae-filled financial sinkholes.

To clean up their ponds and dugouts, many rural landowners are turning to efficient pond aeration run by renewable wind power. Even as energy costs rise, they’re reviving rural pond water quality for livestock and eliminating the high cost of labor, energy and maintenance for water hauling or electric aeration.

“Our windmill pond aerator paid us back in ten days and is saving us $30,000 a year by avoiding water hauling and energy costs,” says Jim Barrett, owner of the Barrett Ranch in Venus, Florida. “We could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to our bottom line by keeping our herds healthy and preventing catastrophic loss with good water. We’re expanding now.”

Natural Limits
Before using windmill pond aeration, the Barrett Ranch couldn’t expand due to a lack of clean, affordable water for its cattle and registered goats on 88 acres. Water was plentiful but undrinkable in 12 stagnant, algae-filled ponds.

“You wouldn’t give a herd moldy feed and expect it to thrive,” says Jim Barrett, the ranch’s owner. “Clean water is even more important. A herd can graze in the pasture and survive without feed; but they can’t drink dirty water--it’ll sicken or kill them.”

Traditional approaches were of little help. “I paid one man to pump well water into a tank and deliver it to troughs in the pastures,” says Barrett. “It took all day and tied up equipment better used elsewhere.”

Barrett considered but dismissed pumping and filtering pond water using electricity. “We’d have to run electricity out to the pond, install tubs with pumps, timers and filters,” says Barrett. “We’d have to clean the filters and the tubs of algae. It was too expensive and too much work.”

Generations ago, pond aeration would not have been needed to clean up stagnant water—the wind and rain did the job, stirring up the water enough to keep it oxygenated. In the last 20 years, however, pollutants and fertilizer run-off, combined with an increasing lack of rainfall, has caused many ponds and dugouts to stagnate. Medical costs for livestock that drink from algae filled ponds can be thousands of dollars. The costs of maintenance and filters for irrigation pumps can also be thousands of dollars per year.

Saving the Pond or Dugout
The only way to save these ponds and dugouts is with bottom up-water aeration, which gives the water the strength to burn off the excess chemicals and pollutants that cause algae, weed growth and stagnation. The water becomes much clearer and cleaner when air, diffused into tiny bubbles and transported by tube, is continuously pumped to the bottom of a pond or dugout.

In this effort, windmill aerators are gaining in popularity over electrical ones for a number of reasons. Powered by wind as light as 3 mph, windmill aerators were originally developed for farm pond use when running electricity out to ponds was found to be too expensive. Wind costs nothing. It can save farmers and ranchers thousands per year in energy, maintenance and filter costs. It can save thousands more per year in preventing livestock and farm animal loss or sickness.

Another reason for the popularity of windmill aerators is how long they last. While the windmills only have 3 moving parts and will last decades, electrical aeration devices have motors and generally die out in a few years after constant use. Environmentally friendly windmills also eliminate the need for costly electric power or oil-based fuels.

After investigation, Barrett chose a windmill aerator by Koenders Windmills to clean up his first pond.

“Within 30 days, the water was clean enough to put catfish in,” says Barrett. “Not long after that we had the water tested, and it was fine for our animals. Now it’s crystal clear and I could drink it.”

Expanding Profit, Expanding Herds
Besides saving $30,000 a year in water hauling and energy costs, switching to windmill aeration of pond water has allowed Barrett to put his labor and equipment to better use. More time is spent cultivating and improving the pastures rather than simply hauling water to his animals.

Healthy water can fatten not only ranchers’ livestock but also their wallets. A study by the Western Beef Development Centre in 2000 showed that calves that drink aerated water from dugouts tend to eat more, resulting in additional weight gains of 1/3 lb. per day.

After switching to windmill aeration of pond water, Barrett’s Black Angus cattle and registered Boer goats, which can cost $500 each for females and thousands each for males, are gaining weight and healthier than ever.

“With clean water for my herds in pasture, we haven’t had to shoot them with anti-biotics,” says Barrett. “By keeping them healthier, we’ll get a better price whether for breeding or eating. At auction, people ask, ‘Did you bring anything to sell?’ They want to buy because they know my herds are healthy.”

To their great satisfaction, rural landowners with ponds or dugouts are discovering that their wind powered aeration systems are extremely low maintenance and ruggedly reliable, even to the point of withstanding hurricane conditions.

Barrett’s windmill aerator has survived hurricanes winds as high as 110 MPH with no damage. “I don’t touch it; it’s trouble-free,” he says. “It’s built to last and I expect to use it for decades.”

To further expand his cattle and registered goat herds, Barrett recently added windmill aerators to two ponds.

“I couldn’t do without my windmill aerators,” says Barrett. “By the time I’m done, we’ll have one at every pond.”

Some windmill technology, for added convenience, is available with two outgoing lines. This enables one to be used for pond aeration and the other for pumping water. Depending on the lift required, ranchers can provide clean water for up to 30 animals this way.

Fred Taylor, for instance, a beef farm owner in Blackstock, Ontario, Canada uses a pond windmill aerator made by Koenders Windmills to supply fresh water to his cattle.
“I have it rigged so it pumps water into a barrel then recycles it into the pond,” explains Taylor. “In the summer, my cattle have instant, clean, fresh water 100% of the time. Another reason we put the windmill in, was to keep the cattle away from the main source of water, to keep a fresh supply.”

Koenders Windmills and Superior Windmill are two of the world’s most experienced manufacturers of windmill aeration systems. Models ship worldwide and typically range from 12 to 24 feet in height, with the hub and compressor pre-installed at the factory for ease of installation. Taller windmills typically have access to stronger winds, which can be harnessed to oxygenate and revive larger bodies of water or pump more water for livestock or farm animal use.

- Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California
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MCPA Resolutions from 2008 Annual General Meeting

Here are the Resolutions debated at the 2008 Annual General Meeting:

1. Reaffirm MCPA Policy Number 2007.04 (Improving Problem Predator Removal Program)
Be It Resolved that the MCPA reaffirm policy number 2007.04 (Resolution 9 from the 2007 AGM) regarding improvements to the provincial problem predator removal program.
MCPA Policy Number 2007.04: Improving Problem Predator Removal Program
Whereas the current Problem Predator Removal Program has some serious flaws that need to be addressed,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the Provincial Government to establish the following:
1. A fee be established for $300.00 per wolf and $50.00 per coyote,
2. Eliminate the 24hr. limit on the trapping permit,
3. That a long term commitment be made for funding this program.
Art Jonasson/GlenMetner
CARRIED

2. Retain the Manitoba Forage Assistance Program as a Permanent Crop Residue Program
Whereas the burning of straw is not a suitable use of an available resource since burning crop residue causes pollution that damages both the environment and human health, and
Whereas the Elie Isoboard plant is no longer in operation to make use of this resource,
Be It Resolved that MCPA request that the Province of Manitoba retain the Manitoba Forage Assistance Program or a program similar to it as a yearly freight assistance program for crop residue, and
Be It Further Resolved that the Province encourage crop producers in Manitoba not to burn their stubble but make crop residue available for feed instead.
Mark Emilson/Glen Metner
CARRIED

3. Deferred Livestock Payments
Be It Resolved that MCPA lobby the federal and provincial governments to legalize deferred livestock payments.
Glen Metner/Art Jonasson
CARRIED

4. Use of Cyanide Guns for Problem Predator Control
Whereas problem predator incidents are increasing and resulting damage and loss to livestock is on the increase,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the federal and provincial governments to reintroduce the use of cyanide guns for problem predator control in Manitoba.
Glen Metner/Art Jonasson
DEFEATED

5. Improve Provincial Problem Beaver Program
Be It Resolved that MCPA lobby the provincial government to improve the existing Problem Beaver Control Program by adequately compensating producers for damages caused by beavers.
Glen Metner/Art Jonasson
CARRIED

6. Transfer Departmental Responsibility for Crown Lands to MAFRI
Whereas provincial responsibility for Crown lands has been allotted to three different departments in the provincial government,
Be It Resolved that MCPA request that provincial responsibility for Crown lands revert to Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.
Betty Green/Jay Fox
CARRIED

7. Changes Required to AgriStability Program
Whereas both the old CAIS and new AgriStability programs do not work for cattle and other livestock producers,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA and CCA formally request that the federal and provincial governments move immediately on making the necessary changes to CAIS/AgriStability to enable these programs to work for cattle producers.
Larry Clifford/Mac McRae
CARRIED

8. TB Related Deer and Elk Depopulation in Southeast Manitoba
Whereas bovine TB has been detected in cattle herds in Northern Minnesota, and
Whereas the State of Minnesota has responded to the outbreak of bovine TB with targeted wildlife depopulation measures as part of its overall bovine TB Management Strategy,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the Province of Manitoba to conduct a depopulation of the deer in southeast corner of the province as well as establish a hunting season for elk in southeast Manitoba.
Don Winnicky/Allen
Kopeechuk
CARRIED

9. Provincial Reporting System for Cattle Market Prices
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government to establish a better and more accurate reporting system for the market prices of cattle sold in Manitoba.
Don Winnicky/Greg
Johnson
CARRIED

10. End the Exclusion of Grazing Practices from MASC Wildlife Compensation
Whereas there is a clear need for the provincial government to promote better management practices in Manitoba such as bale grazing, standing corn grazing and swath grazing,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government to end the exclusion of bale grazing, standing corn grazing, swath grazing and other management practices from the MASC wildlife insurance program.
Bill Acheson/Greg Johnson
CARRIED

11. Reaffirm MCPA Policy Number 2007.05 (Remote Electronic Review of CCIA Data)
Be It Resolved that the MCPA reaffirm policy number 2007.05 (Resolution 10 from the 2007 AGM) regarding the remote electronic review of CCIA data.
MCPA Policy Number 2007.05: Remote Electronic Review of CCIA Data
Whereas CCIA has a database system for identifying cattle in Canada,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby CCIA in order for individual producers who have purchased CCIA tags to have the ability, by entering individual PIN numbers, to review the data for the calves they have produced (e.g., carcass data which would assist producers to evaluate genetics of their herd).
Bill Acheson/Greg Johnson
CARRIED

12. Beaver Dam Removal on Crown Lands
Whereas current beaver removal programs in Manitoba are unable to target the problems with beaver dams on Crown land properties,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the relevant provincial government departments (MAFRI, Manitoba Conservation, and MIT) for the removal of beaver dams on the Garland Point River Watershed and other problem watersheds.
Mary Paziuk/Kim Crandall
CARRIED

13. Expansion of Kill Permits for Problem Wildlife
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government for the establishment of a kill permit for problem wildlife not presently included within current problem wildlife management programs but nonetheless pose a threat to property, food safety and livelihood.
Kim Crandall/Allen
Kopeechuk
CARRIED

14. Ban on Use of All Animal By-products in Ruminant Feed
Be It Resolved that MCPA lobby the federal government to ban the feeding of animal by-products such as porcine meal, feather meal, poultry meal, and animal fat to ruminants, and
Be It Further Resolved that in the absence of such a ban, that the federal government be asked to require that the sale of all feeds include a list of ingredients as well as a statement as to the types of animal products used in the feed mill, and
Be It Further Resolved that the federal government require all trucks transporting animal byproducts be washed out in between loads to prevent cross contamination.
Brent Benson/Greg Johnson
CARRIED

15. Feed and Livestock Production Insurance Programs
Whereas existing production insurance programs for cattle producers’ feed sources such as hay are not effective or sufficient, and
Whereas the livestock production insurance program promised by both provincial and federal governments in 2003 as part of the Agricultural Policy Framework still does not exist under Growing Forward, and
Whereas feed and livestock production insurance program is an essential building block under the APF/Growing Forward for the AgriStability program to work effectively for cattle producers,
Be It Resolved that MCPA continue to lobby both levels of government for workable and effective production insurance programs for cattle producers that will insure both feed sources and livestock.
Mary Paziuk/Irene
Kopeechuk
CARRIED

16. Beaver Removal Program Compensation
Whereas the current Beaver Removal Program compensation fee of $15 is inadequate to properly deal with the beaver problem,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government to increase the Beaver Removal Program compensation amount from $15 to $50 per beaver in order to cover actual costs, and
Be It Further Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government to have Beaver Removal Program compensation be solely administered by the Department of Conservation.
Larry Clifford/Jay Fox
CARRIED

17. Increase Elk Hunting Areas
Whereas elk that pose a risk of disease and property damage are traveling in larger numbers outside of the current hunting zones in Manitoba,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government to increase elk hunting areas beyond the current hunting zones in order to mitigate the risk of disease and property damage from elk.
Robert Schwaluk/Larry
Clifford
CARRIED

18. Government Funding for CCIA Tags
Whereas BSE and other diseases are a food safety issue, and
Whereas the cost of ID tags are a financial burden to the producer,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial and federal governments to cover the cost of CCIA tags for producers.
Dave Fulton/Stephen
Reykdal
DEFEATED

19. Municipal Expropriations

Whereas municipalities have set a precedent by expropriating land beyond what has traditionally been understood as a public need (i.e., roads and sewage lagoons),
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government to change the Municipal Act to prevent municipalities from expropriating land and improvements for the purpose of economic development, including but not limited to, engaging in a business-related or industry-related undertakings.
DAVE FULTON/RAY ARMBRUSTER
CARRIED UNANIMOUS

20. Trade Challenge Against COOL
Whereas Canada, the U.S., and Mexico each signed a NAFTA trade agreement, and
Whereas U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) legislation and regulations are a contravention of this trade agreement,
Be It Resolved that the MCPA request CCA to press the federal government immediately on launching a trade challenge to COOL under either NAFTA or WTO rules.
Robert Schwaluk/Ray Armbruster
CARRIED
21. Gopher Control Program
Be It Resolved that the MCPA lobby the provincial government for a gopher control program whereby producers can purchase bait. and are eligible for reimbursement of 50% of bait costs.
Jay Fox/Susan Johnson
CARRIED

22. Return Restrictions on Oversize Load Permits to Previous Amounts
Whereas Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation recently changed the restrictions and conditions stated on oversize permits for the purpose of long loads (over 23 meters) of hay and straw pulled by a farm tractor, and
Whereas producers who were previously issued an oversize permit in 2007 to haul hay and straw were not adequately notified that the conditions under the permit had been changed when renewing their oversize permits for 2008,
Be it resolved that the MCPA lobby the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation to change the restrictions on oversize permits back to their previous amounts, and
Be it further resolved that the Minister be asked to provide an explanation as to why producers were so inadequately informed of changes to the regulations.
Don Winnicky/J. Anovich
CARRIED

23. Agricultural Crown Land Sale Program
Whereas the Government of Saskatchewan has introduced an Agricultural Crown Land Sale Program of significant size, and
Whereas Manitoba cattle producers as well as the general public would benefit substantially from a similar made-in-Manitoba policy,
Be it resolved that the MCPA enter into discussions with all major political parties in Manitoba to adopt an agricultural crown land sale program suited to Manitoba.
Greg Johnson/Art Jonasson
CARRIED

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