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NEWSMAKERS – for Jan. 18, 2010

Fourth-generation rancher Jay Fox of Eddystone was elected president of the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association at its annual meeting last month. He replaces the outgoing president Joe Bouchard. Joining Fox on the executive are first vice-president, Ray Armbruster from Rossburn; second vice-president Don Winnicky of Piney, treasurer Dane Guignion, Pine River and secretary Greg Johnson of Baldur.

The directors of the Alberta Barley Commission elected Matt Sawyer as chairman and Leo Meyer as vice-chairman at its 18th annual general meeting in December. Sawyer, 37, is a fourth-generation farmer near Acme, Alta. He crops 4,200 acres and raises Black Angus cattle with his wife Tara and parents Glen and Joy.

More staff changes have occurred at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association office in Calgary where Gina Teel has been named communications manager to replace Sharon Jensen. Teel has enjoyed a lengthy career in journalism, for the last 10 years as a business reporter at the CALGARY HERALD covering agriculture, transportation and small business. She is a published author and previously a consultant in the area of media training. She starts her job short-handed as communications co-ordinator, Natalie Arnieri resigned earlier this month to take a corporate affairs post with Loblaws in Western Canada.

On Mar. 1 Alberta’s new cattle traceability regulation come into force. The new regs increase the age when cattle must be given a CCIA (Canadian Cattle Identification Agency) RFID eartag and be age verified to 10 months from eight months under the old regulation. Feedlots feeding 1,000 or more head per year will now be required to record and report the ID of animals entering their facilities to the CCIA. Previously, this chore was restricted to feedlots feeding 5,000 or more. If an animal is retagged, on-farm records must be created or updated to reflect the new approved tag number, the date applied, and number of the previously applied tag, if available. The regulation specifies processes for cattle under and over 18 months of age.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently gained a couple of convictions in provincial courts against small processors for infractions of the Meat Inspection Act and the Food and Drugs Act. Perfection Packers of Bedford, Nova Scotia, pleaded guilty to eight counts and was fined a total of $24,000. JBK Meat Products Inc. of Aylmer, Ont. was convicted on one count of shipping non-federally inspected meat across a provincial border and was fined $15,000.

The debate over Alberta’s new livestock policies lit up again early this month when two Calgary Progressive Conservative MLAs crossed the floor to sit with the new Wildrose Alliance Party. Former cabinet minister Heather Forsyth has represented Calgary-Fish Creek for the Tories since 1993. Rob Anderson was first elected as a Tory in Airdrie-Chestermere in 2008. The moves were another blow to the reputation of Premier Ed Stelmach who signalled he would reshuffle his cabinet in late January.

One lot of Longisil, a veterinary form of injectable penicillin used mainly in larger livestock, was recalled last month after allergic reactions were reported in treated dogs and cats. The manufacturer, Vetoquinol North America at Lavaltrie, Que., announced the recall of lot number 9224, which was distributed in three vial sizes: 100 (9224-01), 250 (9224-02) and 500 millilitres (9224-03). Health Canada advised livestock producers and pet owners whose animals are being treated with Longisil to contact their veterinarians immediately if they notice any symptoms of an allergic reaction following use of the drug.

The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) will receive $717,432 for crop research after the Canadian National Railway Company’s grain revenue for the 2008-09 crop year exceeded its revenue cap by $683,269. Under the Canada Transportation Act, the excess plus a five per cent penalty are to be put into a WGRF endowment fund that supports crop research. CP revenues were under its cap by $1.1 million. The WGRF collects a checkoff on wheat and barley sold by the Canadian Wheat Board to support research.

The Beef Information Centre (BIC) has partnered with Costco Canada to launch a premium beef program that features only Canada Prime beef. Canada Prime is the highest grade Canada has to offer. Less than two per cent of all Canadian-graded beef in 2008 qualified to be Canada Prime. Traditionally found at only the finest of restaurants, Costco’s Prime program is currently being tested in a number of strategically chosen stores in Western Canada with plans to roll out additional locations nationally over the next six months. Costco Canada has a long-standing commitment to Canadian AAA beef.

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