Report from the World Angus Secretariat

Purely Purebred with Mike Millar: News about you from the May 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

The Maritime Angus Association’s long time secretary-treasurer, Betty Lou Scott of Mount Thom, N.S., has stepped down from official duties. Her contribution and efforts to develop Maritime Angus are unmatched. Scott will still be involved as secretary-treasurer of the Nova Scotia Angus Association. The current and past board of directors thank Scott for all her years of service with the Maritime Association.


Amy Higgins, Cattlemen’s Young Leader and industry co-ordinator for the Maritime Beef Industry Conference, filed the following report from the World Angus Secretariat in South America:

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The World Angus Secretariat was hosted in Uruguay March 26 to 29. The Pre-Secretariat Tour covered six ranches and 2,400 km over five days. Many of the Canadian delegation had the opportunity to attend the pre-tour.

Uruguayan beef production is largely a grass-fed system, based on native grasses and legumes. There is a 1:1 ratio of cattle to sheep. The cow herd outnumbers the human population 3:1 with 11.7 million head and an annual cattle slaughter of 1.8 million head. At the packing plant level about 50 per cent of the stock is Hereford-based, 15 per cent are Hereford-Angus and six per cent are Angus. The carcass size is a bit smaller in Uruguay, with finished animals being shipped at 1,050 to 1,100 pounds live weight. Because of the reliance on grass to finish, 45 per cent of the finished animals hitting the plant are three to four and a half years old, having been raised almost entirely on native grasses. Another 39 per cent heading to the plant are two to three years old, and have been grazed on improved pastures. The remaining 16 per cent are feedlot-finished and hit the plant around the two-year mark.

There are 16 member countries in the World Angus Secretariat: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Columbia, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, and host Uruguay. On Tuesday morning each country made a short presentation about what was happening in their respective regions. It was quite interesting to see the similarities and differences within each of the national breed associations.

All of the secretariat countries have been moving from STP processing for their genomics to SNPs (snips) such as variations of the i50k or AngusGen proprietary levels. Each country is in a different level of transition, but all are moving towards the same process which will enhance the ability for the data to cross borders with less “translation.”

Almost every region touched on quality, leveraging regional strengths and marketing brands to match those strengths. Traceability came up in each presentation and while there are differences in processes, the goal is to be able to maintain and improve consumer confidence.

Peru, for example, is quite a new association. They feel so strongly about accurate data management being key to progress that they provide intensive extension services which include everything from sleeve services in A.I. and embryo work to taking scales from farm to farm for accurate weights to the general registry work that would be more common in a national association.

Seeing the similarities and differences in opportunities and challenges is the best part about participating in these international events. The next event is the World Angus Forum which will be in Australia April and May 2021. Following that the Czech Republic will host the next World Angus Secretariat in 2023.


The 2019 Canadian Angus Convention co-hosted by the Alberta Angus Association is taking place in Drumheller, Alta., on June 6 to 9, 2019.

Updated information on sessions and events for the 2019 national convention is at the Canadian Angus website.


Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) have been up to amazing things so far this year. This year started off with a bang as it always does, with applications opening January 1. We were very excited to see numerous applications pour in from all across Canada once again this year. The current young leaders have been busy travelling, meeting with their mentors, and strengthening their connections around the Canadian beef industry.

The annual trip to the National Western Stock Show, and NCBA Young Leader Roundtable was another great success this year. Attendees included Allana Minchau (Alta.), Amy Higgins (N.B.), Leonard Retzlaff (Alta.), and Bree Patterson (B.C.). The group took part in an exciting tour day, in the greater Fort Collins-Denver area, made strong connections with their counterparts from the U.S. and gained a new perspective on the similarities and differences that they share with U.S. producers.

Jessica Giles (second from left) met with U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft (centre) and embassy staff. Also pictured are Bonnie Haywood-Farmer, Cathy Sharp, Fawn Jackson and Alexandrea Watters.
photo: Supplied

Several young leaders used their annual budget to take in the NCBA Convention in New Orleans this year. The group included Allana Minchau (Alta.), Amy Higgins (N.B.), Megan Clifton (Alta.) and Jordan Dahmer (Man.). The group had a great time.

In February, many young leaders participated in the Canadian Agriculture Policy Institute’s (CAPI) Land Use Forum, providing insight from the perspective of young producers. CAPI approached the CYL program about having a delegation attend. We are always excited to have organizations and companies reach out to CYL about collaborating. It was a great opportunity for the group to connect and share their views. The group of invited CYL’s included Annessa Good (Alta.), Dean Sentes (Sask.), Jacqueline Toews (Sask.), and Melissa van Sickle (Alta.).

CYL graduate Elizabeth Homerosky (Alta.) recently received the Continuing Educator of the Year Award from the Western Veterinary Conference — a very prestigious honour!

CYL graduate Katie Songer (Alta.) was named the 2019 International Beef Alliance representative from the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Program. She will be traveling to Brazil in May.

CYL graduate Rachael Verwey (Man.) received the honour of Youth Advocate of the Year from the Portage la Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce.

CYL Jessica Giles (Alta.) was invited to a high level meet-and-greet at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, along with a group from the CCA Leadership Team.

Cattlemen’s Young Leaders are looking forward for the next few months of their program, with Spring Forum quickly approaching. As always, we are extremely grateful for all of your support and look forward to sharing more stories with you as the year continues.


Our condolences to the family and friends of Bob Wilson. Wilson passed away on April 5 at the Foothills Country Hospice at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer.

Wilson was born at New Brigden, Alta. on January 9, 1941 to John Edgar (Ed) Wilson and Lea Blanche Lemire. In 1968 he moved to Calgary to manage Rudiger Ranch, a purebred Charolais operation. In the fall of 1971 he began a career with Transcon Livestock Corp., a purebred cattle sales management company, which lasted approximately 40 years. During this time he made many lifelong friends all across Canada and had a very deep and special bond with Rodney James, Bob and Heather James, and Jay Good. He also worked for a short time at the Calgary Stockyards with his cousin Harvey Bourassa order buying cattle, and as an insurance adjuster for Agriculture Financial Services Corp.

Wilson was a mentor and friend to many. When it came to dignity, integrity and the example of how to treat others, he was a giant of a man. Looking at the tributes from the industry he loved so much, many others would agree.

Wilson is survived by his partner, Louise Gale, and many family members and friends. Donations in Wilson’s memory can be directed to the Foothills Country Hospice or a charity of one’s choice.

About the author

National account manager

As National account manager for Canadian Cattlemen, I work with all major accounts including equipment manufacturers, ad agency's and national breed associations. When I'm not busy working and promoting Canadian Cattlemen magazine, my family and I are running a purebred herd of Simmental cattle at Grandora, Sask.

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