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Newsmakers – for Apr. 6, 2009

The Ontar io Cattlemen’s Association re-elected Gord Hardy of Lucan as their president for a second one-year term. Vi e-president Curtis Royal who operates a feedlot near Creemore was also re-elected for a second term.

A new federal/provincial program will pay $70 per head of breeding stock to Manitoba Interlake producers whose hay crops were flooded out last summer. A top-up Manitoba program offers another $40 an acre to reseed their haylands and pastures.

Les McIntyre is the new voice of the GMC Rangeland Derby, the pinnacle of chuckwagon racing, at the Calgary Stampede. He takes over the mic this summer from retiring Joe Carbury who called the big show for 45 years. Les has been the voice of the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton for the past six years.

Darlingford, Man., cattle producer Devon Holenski is a national finalist is the Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship competition May 4-6 in Toronto. The full-time University of Manitoba student pays for his university out of the profits from his small mixed grain and cattle farm. He owns eight head and expanded from 80 to 240 acres and doubled his profit in one year while remaining debt free. He’s the only farmer entrepreneur in the finals.

Dr. Bob Ruckman was elected president of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association last month. He has practised at various locations in southern Alberta and currently operates Ruckman Veterinary Services in Pincher Creek.

Dr. Jim Lawrence of Westlock Veterinary Clinic was named veterinarian of the year by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association last month. His colleague at Westlock and a regular contributor to CANADIAN CATTLEMEN, Roy Lewis received the communications award. Lloyd Keddie of Fairview received the meritorious service award and Melodie Chan of Olds was honoured as young veterinarian of the year. Gerald Ollis, the retiring provincial veterinarian for Alberta, and Charles Rhodes, the retiring dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine received honorary life memberships.

Fred Hay is the new policy analyst of the Alberta Beef Producers. He is originally from Olds. After getting a degree in agriculture at the University of Alberta he completed a doctorate in animal physiology and nutrition at the University of Missouri. Since then he’s had an eclectic career as a teacher, feedlot manager, feed mill nutritionist, manager of a national swine genetics firm and consultant. For the past eight years he’s been with a small-business consulting firm in Calgary helping feed, genetics and biodiesel firms.

President Barack Obama announced a couple more undersecretary of agriculture nominations last month that won’t do anything to quell the anxiety of Canadian cattle producers. James W. (Jim) Miller, the current chief of staff for the National Farmers Union is to be put in charge of farm and foreign agricultural services. Given the NFU’s active support for country-of-origin labelling, this is a disheartening appointment. Dallas P. Tonsager, a member of the board of the Farm Credit Administration, will be the under secretary for rural development. These follow the nomination of Kathleen Merrigan as deputy secretary in February. Merrigan has a background in environmental planning and policy and is a former head of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

Norm Ward has his Round Up 80 Ranch in the Porcupine Hills near Granum, Alta., up for sale. He is a former president of the Western Stock Growers Association, a fourth-generation rancher and a passionate life-long advocate of the rancher’s role as a steward of the land. It’s not surprising that he is trying to sell the ranch as a package, for a reported $19 million.

The SYDNEY MORNING HERALD gave us a glimpse into the health of the Australian grazing business recently with a report that large trading corporations and hedge funds have gobbled up several huge cattle stations carrying upwards of 30,000 head since December. More than $1.1 billion has changed hands so far, and those in the know were looking for more to come.

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