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NEWSMAKERS – for Sep. 7, 2009

The Madley family of Canyon Ranch, Alexis Creek, B.C. are the recipients of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award. The award was presented to Bev Madley and her daughter Brooke at the CCA semiannual meeting last month in Regina. The fourth-generation ranch is situated at the confluence of Alexis Creek and the Chilcotin River, both of which are important waterfowl and fish habitats. Extensive fencing has been done to protect the sensitive riparian areas from the family’s Hereford/Simmental herd. This includes an exclusion fence along Alexis creek and the installation of water troughs in sensitive areas. Holding pens in the barnyard have been set back from the creek to establish a buffer zone. The award was presented by CCA environment committee chairman, Lynn Grant.

The first beef processing plant to open in Winnipeg in a generation is turning to online marketing to reel in customers. Keystone Processors Ltd. has opened an online store to sell Manitoba-raised hormone-free beef direct to consumers. The beef-processing plant, which opened earlier this year, is working with Natural Prairie Beef to bring its brand of premium, locally raised, hormone-free beef to the Winnipeg market. Orders can be placed online at www.keystoneprocessors.comor by phone for pick-up or city-wide delivery.

The ongoing merger of drug giants Merck and Schering-Plough (SP) took a short detour in late July when Merck sold its 50 per cent share in the animal health company Merial to its joint venture partner sanofi-aventis. The three companies also signed a call option agreement giving sanofiaventis the option of combing Merial with Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health after Merck and SP complete their merger later this year. Assuming the option is exercised, the newly merged Merial would go back under the joint ownership of sanofi-aventis and the “new” merged Merck. The sale of Merck’s interest in Merial was subject to approval by the European antitrust authorities as press time.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has presented its 2009 Humane Award sponsored by Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health to Dr. Dewey Stickney. Shortly after he began his practice in the 1970s in Manning, Alta., Stickney started travelling into northern Alberta to perform veterinary procedures. As his northern practice grew, he designed a unique veterinary clinic in the 50-foot trailer on an 18-wheel tractor-trailer unit that he used to make his rounds. After three decades on the road Stickney has recently scaled back his practice to his original Manning clinic. Dr. Randy Graham, a senior manager of veterinary services with Pfizer Animal Health, received the 2009 CVMA Industry Award.

The Alberta-based Beef Industry Alliance has established its own joint venture Roundtable to advocate for policies, regulations and the vision to encourage more value-addred production of premium beef products in Western Canada. The founding member organizations include the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association (ACFA), the Western Stock Growers’ Association and Canadian Legacy Partners. New member organizations are asked to commit $5,000 to the Roundtable. For further information contact the co-ordinator, Bryan Walton, CEO of the ACFA at 403-250-2509.

The Alberta government has temporarily relaxed its policies on Crown land so leaseholders can sublet public lands in drought stricken areas where producers are struggling to find feed for their animals. Requests will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

The first elections of delegates to the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association will be held in October. Nominations are being accepted through the mail until Sept. 15 but at press time it looked like there would be elections in all 11 districts across the province. Producers at those meetings will elect directors to represent them at the SCA’s annual meeting Jan. 22, 2010 in Saskatoon. The SCA is expected to take control of Saskatchewan’s refundable beef checkoff in April or May next year. Traditionally the refund rate on the beef checkoff in Saskatchewan has been between five and seven per cent each year.

Well-wishers and old friends gathered July 24 near Maidstone, Sask., to unveil a large sign honouring Bill and Eileen Lamont, the originators of the Speckle Park beef breed. The sign was created by long-time friend and professional artist, Velma Foster. In the late 1960s, the Lamonts began to purchase some unique spotted Lindsay Linebacks developed by Mary Lindsay near Greenstreet, Sask. When crossed with Lamont Black Angus bulls these females produced black and white speckled calves. The Lamonts eventually chose the name Speckle Park and sought breed status for their cattle. Since then the breed has spread across Canada and into New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. The Lamonts have lived in Salmon Arm, B.C. since their retirement 25 years ago. For more go to www.speckleparkoriginal.com.

Lloyd Halstead of Carbon, Alta., won the Calgary Stampede’s 2009 carcass competition with a 15-month-old Angus steer that beat out 46 other entries. A Shorthorn steer owned by Brent Stewart of Russell, Man., came second. The Angus carcass had a 87 sq. cm. ribeye and 9 mm fat. Of the 47 entries, 15 graded AAA and 14 of those qualified for all branded beef programs.

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