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History: Grant MacEwan appointed General Manager

Reprinted from the June 1952 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Grant MacEwan appointed General Manager
By Kenneth Coppock

The Western Section of the National Council of Canadian Beef Producers announced on May 13th the appointment of J.W.G. MacEwan as General Manager of the Section. Mr. MacEwan will assume his duties on July 1st. This should be met with acclaim by all segments of the beef cattle industry.

The Western Section of the beef council comprises representatives of the B.C. Beef Cattle Growers’ Association, the Western Stock Growers’ Association, Saskatchewan Stock Growers’ Association, the Alberta Cattle Breeders’ Association, the Canadian Aberdeen Angus Association, the Canadian Hereford Association and the Canadian Shorthorn Association.

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It is an outgrowth of the original Council of Western Beef Producers organized by western cattle associations in 1932 to meet marketing problems of that period. After the abandonment of the gold standard in 1933, the Council lay dormant until it was revived in 1943 to bring about uniform action by the associations in Western Canada. In meeting the problems of the removal of the embargo on exports of cattle to the U.S. and in developing a Basic Herd principle of taxation, it became evident that a National council would serve a useful purpose. As a consequence in 1945 the name of the original council was changed. An Eastern section was formed and the two sections were brought together as the National Council of Canadian Beef Producers.

After the successful conclusion of the embargo and tax problems and the return of prosperous conditions to the industry, or since 1948, the Council has held a watching brief for the industry keeping its organization intact. At the same time it repeatedly pointed out the necessity of the industry to remain organized so that at the right time it could launch a product promotion program. Conditions within the industry proved too prosperous, however, for producers or others in the industry to take proper cognizance of the necessity for such a program. Something of a fundamental nature, however, was taking place and it was destructive. Consumption of beef in Canada from 1943 when the per capita market was 69.3 pounds went into a long decline reaching a historical low of 44.1 pounds in 1951.

Cattle producers finally came to the realization that this loss in the home market was reaching serious proportions and this year strongly urged through their associations that the beef council should develop a promotional program which would encourage greater consumption of beef in the home market and at the same time produce better public relations between producers and consumers. In doing this it was hoped that a constructive contribution also might be made towards encouraging better production and a more diversified agriculture.

To carry this general program into effect, the Council engaged the services of one of Canada’s foremost agriculturists who by training and natural talents is well qualified to make a substantial contribution towards a better cattle industry and a better Canadian agriculture.

Since the organizational work is not so far advanced in Eastern Canada, Mr. Mac­Ewan will at first devote his time to matters concerning producers and consumers in the West.

Grant MacEwan was born of pioneer parents on the land, north of Brandon, Manitoba in 1902. The family later broke new frontiers in northern Saskatchewan in the Melfort district.

Efforts there were quite successful and a herd of pure beef cattle contributed to a balanced farming operation.

After graduation from the Ontario Agricultural College with specialization in Animal Husbandry, he took post-graduate work at Iowa State College in meats and animal nutrition. He was then appointed to the faculty of the University of Saskatchewan where he served for 18 years with titles such as Professor of Animal Husbandry, Manager of the University Farm and Director of the School of Agriculture.

During this time he also established himself as a popular and competent livestock judge, agricultural extension worker and public speaker throughout Western Canada.

In 1946 Professor MacEwan was selected to be Dean of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba. He remained in that post until less than a year ago. Since that time he has been writing extensively, more recently as the Agricultural Editor of the Western Producer. He has been Associate Editor of Canadian Cattlemen since 1944 and it is expected he will retain this important connection with the cattle industry of Canada. Author of five well-known books, some on technical animal husbandry subjects, some non-technical and dealing with the development and settlement of Western Canada, he is presently engaged in preparing his sixth publication. Formerly President of the Saskatoon Exhibition, Grant MacEwan has been a director of the Royal Winter Fair for some years. He is now President of the Palomino Horse Association of Canada and vice chairman of the board of the Western Development Museum.

Our History is curated by Gren Winslow.

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