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Newsmakers – for Dec. 7, 2009

Jamie Blacklock is the new provincial cattle industry specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture based in Saskatoon. She accepted the position this fall. Her resumé to date includes a four-year stint as general manager of the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association (SCFA) and two years as a sales representative for Elanco Animal Health. Her successor at the helm of the SCFA, Sue Echlin, resigned last spring to set up her own business, Living Sky Winery, at Perdue, Sask.

The SCFA board of directors will make a decision about the general manager position at its annual general meeting January 20-23, in Saskatoon.

Blacklock replaces Grant Zalinko who has taken on the position of provincial cattle analyst for the ministry. He joined Saskatchewan Agriculture in 2005 as beef consultant for feedlots. Before that he was head of agriculture Programs at SIAST — one of Saskatchewan’s post-secondary training institutions. He’s based in Regina.

In a flurry of sudden changes at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association late last month communications director Sharon Jensen was let go and Don Milligan, a former beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture, was hired as program administrator for its Beef InfoXchange System. The search still continues for a new manager for Can-Fax, the marketing arm of the national producer organization.

Keith Robertson is the first chief executive officer of the newly formed Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA). He brings to the job 15 years of experience in the feedlot industry and 10 years as a market analyst with Can-Fax. No stranger to the sometimes stormy world of cowboy politics, he has served as executive director of the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association before moving back to Alberta as the administration manager of the Northwest Consolidated Beef Producers Association based in Strathmore. He is a cow-calf producer and resides on his farm near Perdue, Sask.

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association has completed its first election of 11 district directors who will take office at the organization’s first official annual meeting, Jan. 22 in Saskatoon. The successful candidates are: District 1 — Jack Hextall District 2 — Bill Jameson District 3A — Ryan Thompson District 3B — Larry Grant District 4 — Rick Toney (acclaimed) District 5 — Duane Thompson District 6 — Howard Toews District 7 — Leon Stang (acclaimed) District 8 — Bruce Holmquist District 9A — Lyal Fox District 9B — David Stuart (acclaimed)

Two appointed representatives from the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association and two from the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association and the immediate past chairperson complete the 16-member board of directors.

Stan Struthers was appointed agriculture minister in a Manitoba Cabinet shuffle last month triggered by the election of Greg Selinger to replace Gary Doer as NDP leader and premier. Doer retired from politics to become Canada’s ambassador to the United States. Struthers replaces long-time ag minister, Rosann Wowchuk who was elevated to finance minister and deputy premier.

Select members of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) board met with representatives of the Japan Meat Traders Association in Japan in early November. The meeting, set up by ALMA board member Hisakazu Hayakawa, who advises the Japanese meat traders group. The goal was to start working toward an industry led campaign to increase access for Canadian beef products in Japan. The delegation was led by ALMA board chairman, Joe Makowecki.

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