We are sad to report the passing of Laurel “Laurie” Watson, 66, of West Montrose, Ont., on September 3. Watson was a promoter and publisher in the beef cattle industry. Together with her father, Harald Gunderson (deceased in 2012), they produced the World of Beef and the Limousin Leader in the ’70s and ’80s. Watson was a well-known beef industry personality, whether on the phone selling ads, reporting on beef sales, or attending cattle events across Canada.
She was predeceased by her husband, Charles Watson of Wat-Cha Farms Ltd., Mount Forest, Ont., in 2006. Wat-Cha Farms raised primarily purebred Charolais cattle. Her two children and their families survive her, as does her second husband, James Dean McInnis.
Ontario MP Lianne Rood has been named agriculture critic for the federal Conservatives. Rood represents Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. She grew up on a vegetable farm and worked for various MPs with agricultural connections, including Gerry Ritz, former federal ag minister. Rood worked with Ritz to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s export monopoly through the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act. Rood also holds a degree in criminology and sociology. She takes over the ag critic post from Alberta MP John Barlow.
The Saskatchewan Forage Council held its annual general meeting this summer. The board welcomed two new directors: Dr. Bill Biligetu from the Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan, and David MacTaggart, a producer who is pursuing a master’s of science at the University of Saskatchewan. Incumbent directors Mark McNinch (producer), Dr. Greg Penner, University of Saskatchewan; and Brent Griffin (producer) renewed their three-year terms. Also on the board are Tamara Carter (producer), Sarah Sommerfeld, Ministry of Agriculture; Alan VanCaeseele, Brett Young Seeds; Garnet Ferguson, CanPro; Jeremy Brown, Ducks Unlimited; Trevor Plews, Ducks Unlimited; Holly Thompson (producer), Jillian Bainard, AAFC; and Terry Kowalchuk (ex-officio), Ministry of Agriculture. Carter was appointed to another term as president, McNinch as vice-president and Sommerfeld as finance chair. Special thanks were given to retiring directors Dr. Bruce Coulman and Dr. Michael Schellenberg.
The council also presented Schellenberg with the Forage Industry Innovation Award during the AGM. Schellenberg is a forage breeder and researcher who is well known for his contributions to the forage industry over the last four decades, having built a research program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Schellenberg recently retired from AAFC, Swift Current.
In September, Les Producteurs de bovins du Québec (PBQ) elected Jean-Thomas Maltais as president at the organization’s annual general meeting. Maltais is a cow-calf producer from Chicoutimi, in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean area. Maltais succeeds Claude Viel, who served as president from 2012 to 2020. Also on the executive committee are Philippe Alain (vice-president), feeder calf and steer producer; Sylvain Bourque, milk and beef cattle producer; Kirk Jackson, milk and beef cattle producer; and Francine Trépanier, grain-fed veal producer. PBQ is an ag association founded in 1975 and incorporated under Quebec’s Professional Syndicates Act. It represents some 13,900 producers from across Quebec.
Dr. Karin Orsel has been named the 2020 Metacam 20 Bovine Welfare Award winner. Orsel is a renowned researcher and veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Calgary. Orsel’s work focuses on infectious diseases in cattle. She is a world authority on bovine lameness, particularly digital dermatitis, notes her colleague Dr. John Kastelic in a press release. Orsel has been a faculty member at the university since arriving from the Netherlands in 2008.
Jay Bourcier is the new operations manager for the University of Manitoba’s Glenlea Research Station. The 500-hectare station, located south of Winnipeg, includes a beef feedlot, dairy unit and swine unit, plus cropping system plots and a greenhouse gas field emission site. The station also provides management for poultry barns at the Fort Garry campus. Bourcier has worked at the station since 2006 in various roles including poultry unit supervisor, livestock research co-ordinator and acting manager.
The Canadian Beef Check-off Agency elected its board members and marketing committee at its AGM in September. Producer board members include: Terry Wiebe, B.C. Cattle Industry Development Council; Doug Sawyer, Alberta Beef Producers; Jeff Smith (vice-chair), Alberta Beef Producers; Chad Ross (chair), Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association; Mary Paziuk, Manitoba Beef Producers; Jack Chaffe, Beef Farmers of Ontario; Kirk Jackson (finance chair), Les Producteurs de bovins du Québec; Trevor Welch, New Brunswick Cattle Producers; Larry Weatherby (governance chair), Nova Scotia Cattle Producers; and David Francis, PEI Cattle Producers.
Board members also include: Mike Kennedy, Cargill; Russ Mallard, Atlantic Beef Products; Andre Forget, Montpak; John Curtis, St. Helen’s Meat Packers; Coral Manastersky, Maple Leaf Foods; and Steve Christie, Sysco Canada.
The following people were elected to the marketing committee: Helen Langford, member-at-large; Mike Guest, member-at-large; Hubert Lau, member-at-large; Becky Bevacqua, member-at-large; Jack Chaffe, BFO; David Francis, PEICP. Appointees to the marketing committee include: Mike Kennedy (chair), Canadian Meat Council (CMC); Alex Fontaine, CMC; Russ Mallard (finance chair), CMC; Leslie Bielak, CMC; Coral Manastersky (vice-chair), Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters; and Steve Christie, Retail Foodservice.
The marketing committee also elected their officers, including Mike Kennedy as chair, Coral Manastersky as vice-chair and Russ Mallard as finance chair.