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Newsmakers – for May. 14, 2009

Tony Saretsky, a cattle exporter and feedlot operator from Ponoka, Alta., resigned as vice president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association at its recent annual meeting. Travis Toews of Beaverlodge, Alta., was elected to complete Saretsky’s term, putting him next in line to become president of the national lobby group in March 2010. Bob Lowe, a feedlot operator from Nanton is the new CCA director representing Alberta.

Congratulations to Pine Lake beef producer Doug Sawyer who was recently re-elected to another term as chairman of the Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) association. Doug is also the finance chairman of the Alberta Beef Producers.

In other AFAC news, the group said goodbye to long-time manager Susan Church, who retired at the end of April. She has steered the animal care lobby group since its inception. Jim Haggins is the new interim manager. Originally from Ontario he has 20 years experience in the poultry and pork sector. His resumé includes stints as a director of Alberta Pork and the Alberta egg board and chairman of the Canadian hatchery association.

Dr. Sandra Honour resigned her post as manager of animal health and food safety with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency last month to take up a consultancy position in food safety with the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. The agency is still recruiting for a new President and CEO to replace Jeff Kucharski. Ken Moholitny, a former assistant deputy minister with Alberta Agriculture, is serving as interim president and CEO.

There have been some big changes at the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta. ARECA represents the producer-run regional research groups across the province. Starting at the top president Doug Wray moved over as chairman of the newly formed Alberta Forage Industry Network (AFIN). Longtime ARECA executive director Dee Ann Benard resigned to take a similar position with the newly formed Alberta Rural Development Network. Research manager Ty Faechner is the new executive director. Forage program manager Grant Lastiwka returned to the provincial ag department as forage specialist after a two-year secondment with ARECA. Gayah Sieusahai also joined Alberta Agriculture as regional variety trial co-ordinator, a role he filled with ARECA when it was responsible for variety testing in Alberta.

Hereford breeder Clint Whetter of Boissevain will be inducted into the Manitoba Agriculture Hall of Fame in July in recognition to his strong commitment to conservation. He is a former chairman of the Turtle Mountain Conservation District and the first Manitoban to be inducted into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame in Ottawa.

Cattle producer Peter Philip of Knutsford, B. C. has won a new Ford F-150 as the winner of the Maintain Your Gain Case IH Inspection Event. The North American promotion encouraged Case IH customers to schedule maintenance inspections and use genuine Case IH parts to ensure peak performance of their equipment. His family’s 600-acre grain, hay and cattle farm is celebrating its centennial year in 2009.

Trish Kelly is the new general manager of Agri-Food Laboratories in Guelph. The lab is an operating division of Beef Information Ontario (BIO). She succeeds Dale Cowan, the lab’s former owner and general manager for many years. She has worked at the lab for the past nine years.

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