The Western Stock Growers’ Association plans to concentrate part of its lobbying efforts on updating wildlife compensation programs.
In keeping with its focus on sound range management, WSGA membership passed a resolution to lobby both the provincial and federal governments to remedy the existing wildlife compensation programs at its recent annual general meeting, held March 4 in Red Deer, Alta. in conjunction with the 2020 Alberta Beef Industry Conference. The resolution cited “the current compensation programs (as being) outdated, financially inadequate and discourage sustainable management and development.”
WSGA membership also resolved to lobby the province of Alberta to reinstate funding for at least 10 seats each year specifically for undergraduate students from Alberta at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Members also ratified a motion to update the association’s constitution, adding that membership in good standing is required to serve on the board of directors and board of governors.
In the last year, the association has participated in government consultation town halls on issues such as rural crime, producer-led research and the Farm Freedom and Safety Act, among other opportunities. WSGA continues to advocate on behalf of its members on topics such as grazing lease policy, surface rights compensation, property rights, ecosystem service benefit markets and land-use and parks designation.
The 2020 AGM included the election of a new executive. Callum Sears (director-at-large) was elected the new WSGA president. Ronda Reesor (director-at-large) and Dana Fitzpatrick (Zone 1 director) were elected as first vice-president and second vice-president, respectively. Aaron Brower, the outgoing president, will serve as past president. As well, Mabel Hamilton was appointed as honorary WSGA president.
The board welcomed two new directors, Chancey Guichon (director-at-large) and Brendyn Elliot (Zone 7 director), and saw the return of Duane Hale, who previously served as vice-president, as Zone 4 director. WSGA Policy Advisor Stuart McDowall stepped down from his position after many years in this role, and the membership thanked him for his commitment to the organization.