A young leader in Canada’s beef industry has been chosen as one of four 2018 Nuffield Canada scholars.
Ellen Crane of Murray Siding, N.S., is currently the general manager of the Maritime Beef Council, co-ordinator for the Verified Beef Production Plus program in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and president of the Maritime Hereford Association.
“Time management will be the big thing, but we will be able to use the information for work we are doing here,” says Crane, who was surprised to even get an interview let alone be chosen to receive such an honour.
The scholarship provides $15,000 for international travel and study on her chosen topic.
Crane will be exploring beef-production attributes that are important to consumers, such as antibiotic use, hormone use or grass-fed, and how much consumers are willing to pay for beef that comes with certain production attributes. She is also interested in learning how producers could put these related management strategies into practice on their operations to leverage marketing opportunities.
Her quest begins with a March conference in the Netherlands where new Nuffield scholars from around the world spend a week on international agricultural and business topics and fleshing out itineraries for the required six consecutive weeks of travel and another four weeks spaced out as needed before filing a formal report to fulfil her commitment.
Her initial plan is to travel to areas where Canadian beef is sold — Europe, Hong Kong, the U.S. and Mexico — to learn about opportunities and challenges in those markets for the Canadian product.
A significant part of the Maritime Beef Council’s work in the coming years will revolve around implementing the Maritime beef sector development strategy announced in May. It addresses current issues and opportunities with the goal of adding 20,000 cows to the Maritime beef herd over the next 10 years. That’s roughly a 44 per cent increase in the current herd of 45,000, along with added backgrounding and finishing capacity needed to capture the economic benefits of a larger herd.
The Atlantic Beef Products plant in P.E.I. foresees a demand for an additional 10,000 finished cattle in the Maritimes and the Ontario Corn-Fed Beef program, another major buyer of Maritime cattle, expects to need an additional 215,000 finished cattle per year.
Cane says there’s no telling where this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a Nuffield scholarship will lead. As a youngster growing up on the family’s first-generation cow-calf operation near Cardigan, P.E.I., and even while finishing her masters in animal science at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, Crane says she never would have guessed that she would be where she is today.
It was her selection to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s Cattlemen Young Leaders program in 2015 that tilted her career path toward marketing. The CYL co-ordinator at the time, Jolene Noble, suggested a switch away from studying the science of beef production. Crane’s interest in the business side led to her mentorship with John Baker of Baker Marketing Services International, who is the director of brand management and business development for Ontario Corn-Fed Beef, and the former director of global marketing for Canada Beef Inc.
With guidance from strong networks of people within the Canadian beef industry and from Nuffield alumni here and abroad, Crane is confident that her journey over the next two years will be rewarding professionally and personally.
The Nuffield Canada scholarship program is open to anyone between the ages of 25 and 45 involved in any capacity within the agriculture sector, such as primary production, industry, education, research, or governance. For details, visit www.nuffield.ca.