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Newsmakers – for Aug. 10, 2009

Just after our last issue went out Fred Gorrell was appointed as the first executive director of the newly formed market access secretariat within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Previously he was executive director for international policy at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and before that agriculture counselor at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D. C. from 2004 to 2007. He is credited with helping negotiate market access for Canadian pork and beef in China during that country’s entry to the World Trade Organization in 2001.The secretariat is part of AAFC’s market and industry services branch. When Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the formation of the secretariat in January, he said it will “better co-ordinate government initiatives with producers and industry to aggressively and strategically go after new markets and keep pace with international competitors.”

Calvin Knoss, a rancher from Rockglen was elected president of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association at their annual meeting this summer. Rounding out the executive are Mark Elford of McCord, first vice-president, Doug Gillespie of Neville, second vice-president, Ed Bothner of Beechy, past president and Randy Clark of Rockglen, finance chair.

SSGA director Heather S. Beierbach presented the group’s rangeland scholarship to Amy Wheeler of Eyebrow who has a degree in agriculture and bioresources, and currently works with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The association also passed a resolution to oppose the province’s plan to allow big game hunting on Sunday this fall. Director Reg Schellenberg explains Sunday has always been their day off from hunters when the family comes home to help. Hunting season is a busy time as ranchers are trailing, weaning, shipping and preg checking cattle.

Ron Jackson of Calgary and Wayne McKnight from Mississauga, Ont. are the newest members of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency board of directors. Jackson is a former CEO of Burns Foods and currently chairman and cofounder of TriWest Capital Partners Inc., a private equity firm. McKnight has 33 years of food retail, procurement and distribution experience, and is a former vice-president of global procurement of food for Walmart Stores. He now has his own firm, McKnight Insights and Solutions Inc.

Environmental stewardship is a family affair at the Simonson ranch in the Missouri Coteau south of Dinsmore, Sask., where Daryk and Bonnie Simonson along with their children, Denae, Karmen and Shae ranch with Daryk’s parents, Elmer and Faye. The family was the recipient of The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) presented at the Saskatchewan Stock Grower’s Association (SSGA) annual meeting in Moose Jaw in June. The award was presented to Daryk (right) by director Ray McDougald of Maple Creek.

Well-known Manitoba farm writer, photojournalist and producer of grass-fed beef cattle, Glen Nicoll of Fraserwood, Man., died in late June from the complications of brain cancer. He was perhaps best known for his weekly roundup of cattle sales around the province and other articles published in the MANITOBA CO-OPERATOR. Born and raised in Alberta, Nicoll came to Manitoba as a television cameraman and ultimately became a rancher and farm journalist, setting up a herd of grass-fed cattle as well as Country Quarters, a bed-and-breakfast operation near Fraserwood, about 15 km west of Gimli.

Chance Martin, of Red Deer, Alta., won the Championship Auctioneer buckle at the annual Livestock Markets Association of Canada convention in Brooks earlier this summer. Rod Burnett, Armstrong, B. C. was reserve champion, Brennin Jack, Yorkton Sask., third, Tim Dowler of Winnipeg fourth and Shawn Gist fifth. Eric Fazakas from Brooks was named most congenial auctioneer and Shawn McNary, rookie of the year.

Paul Ramirez of Tucson Arizona won the International Livestock Auctioneer Championship held in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede. He was one of 26 contestants from Australia, the U.S. and Canada. He was reserve champion in this competition last year. Shawn Gist from Gibbons, Alta., followed as reserve champion this year. Rookie of the year was Brennin Jack from Yorkton, Sask.

The Fed Beef Expo grand champion pen of steers in Calgary went to a pen of black steers owned by Kolk Farms, which sold to Cargill for $95. The reserve champion pen of steers owned by Brad and Shane Lutz were also purchased by Cargill. The grand champion pen of heifers consigned by Andy Rock and weighing in at an average 1,480 lb., were sold to XL. The reserve pen of heifers went to XL. The brand consignment portion of the sale included 38 head consigned by local ranching families emphasizing the history of the beef industry.

Prof. Elizabeth Stone has been reappointed to a second five-year term as dean of the Ontario Veterinary College. She became the 10th dean of OVC, and the first woman to head a veterinary school in Canada, in 2005. Her reappointment takes effect in 2010.

Two provincial cattle organizations recently got serious about the Internet. The Manitoba Cattle Producers Association totally redesigned their web site at www.mcpa.netoffering easier navigation while further to the east the Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers unveiled their new site, www.peicattleproducers.com.

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