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Peak Dot Ranch donates sale proceeds of heifer to SSGA

News about you, from the Nov. 2014 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

black heifer

Peak Dot Ranch is donating the proceeds of the sale of a Peak Dot heifer (see photo above) to the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association. Peak Dot Barbara 258S is a purebred heifer that comes from one of the most popular, longest-running cow families at Peak Dot Ranch. She is sired by Peak Dot Volt 950U, bred to our new herd sire Bush Easy Decision and is due to calve April 15, 2015. She will be the first animal in the sale ring at 1 p.m. and will start the Dec. 4, 2014 Peak Dot Ranch Bull Sale in Wood Mountain, Sask.

Canadian Beef Breeds Council sponsored an on-farm tour at Belvin Angus for members of the Industry Government Advisory Committee (IGAC) who are responsible for implementation of multi-species animal traceability in Canada. The evening consisted of a great meal along with a hands-on demonstration of logistics associated with purebred beef cattle traceability. Mabel Hamilton and her family hosted the event.

Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) faced a firestorm of controversy last month when allegations of animal abuse at the Western Hog Exchange facility in Red Deer hit the media. As with any such allegations, due process is important when determining wrongdoing to take appropriate action.

I live in the vicinity of the Western Hog Exchange and saw this reported on the Alberta TV stations, repeatedly. The video showed the bats that hogs were “bludgeoned” with at the facility. I have to say that the bats definitely appear to be of the large plastic toy variety or similar to those. I would imagine that they are used to appear intimidating to the animals both in size and noise created. A person, who works with hogs that have been raised in confinement, can understand how difficult it is to work with, and move these animals. It is unfortunate the videos were taken and used out of context, as well as being sensationalized, but as livestock producers this is something that we will continue to see happen.

As an industry we need to know who we hire, who we let into our operations, and ask ourselves do the employees understand why we do what we do. Twenty seconds of video can discredit a whole industry, so we need to take this seriously and be proactive. Perhaps the answer is legislation that makes it illegal for a person to gain employment on a livestock operation, of any kind, for the purpose of creating video that misrepresents the industry or operation; as well as improving our handling practices.

children at certificate presentation
Secretary treasurer Riley (l to r), Kayla and president Vanessa presenting Kayla with her certificate.

Last winter the Alberta Shorthorn Association decided to donate a $500 and a $250 certificate to a 4-H member in Alberta who showed a Shorthorn or Shorthorn influenced animal over the past 4-H season. All of those members had their name placed in a draw, with the first name drawn receiving the $500 certificate and the second name receiving the $250 certificate, to be used towards the purchase of a Shorthorn or Shorthorn-influenced animal from a member of the Alberta Shorthorn Association.

This year’s winner was Kayla Van De Voorde. She is an eight-year-old Cleaver Kid from the Bashaw 4-H Beef Club who chose to show a Shorthorn “because my Grandpa and Grandma Peterson, and my mom and dad show Shorthorns. I think it’s in the family to show Shorthorns. They’re so quiet. They are easy to train to lead and they don’t like to kick very hard or very much.” Kayla plans to use her $500 certificate to buy a roan steer — or possibly a white one — for her 4-H project. Roan is her favourite colour.

Benjamin Masson was the winner of the $250 certificate, so he will be looking for a Shorthorn animal of his own.

December will mark the beginning of Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan (FFCSK) which grew out of the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan (FACS), an organization with a 22-year history advancing animal care in the province. The new Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan will have an expanded mandate to help connect consumers with food and farming in Saskatchewan. It follows a similar pattern followed when the Ontario Farm Animal Care Council evolved into Farm Food Care in 2012.

FFCSK will represent livestock, poultry, crop and horticulture producers, and work with agriculture partners, chefs and associated businesses — all those who are passionate about food and farming in Saskatchewan. Today, there’s greater interest than ever in understanding how food is grown, especially since less than two per cent of Canadians now have a direct link to the farm. The mandate of FFCSK is to help consumers make the connections between the food they eat, and where it comes from and how it ends up on their plates.

Programming will focus on reaching consumers to build public trust in the entire food industry while educating members about best practices, communicating with the public and responding to concerns about animal care and environmental sustainability.

A website and provincial Ag Ambassador’s Speakers Bureau are currently in the works and plans are being made to enhance networking with the culinary industry, on farm tours, and a social media strategy.

The official launch will occur at an inaugural industry conference Dec. 10 and 11 at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel in Saskatoon. For more information and to register for the conference visit

The new CBBC website has officially launched! It can be found at They welcome your comments to help them improve the site and ensure the most useful information is available.

The official CBBC Twitter handle has been updated to @CanBeefBreeds so make sure to follow CBBC. The staff will maintain personal pages as well, so follow Doris (@DorisRempel), John (@Gentec_John) and Michael (@LatimerMichael) on those accounts for up-to-date industry information.

The Beef Cattle Value Chain Round Table (BCVRT) was held in Calgary Oct. 1-2. There was general consensus that currently the No. 1 issue for the Canadian beef industry is the difficulty in finding skilled and entry-level labour for farms, feedlots and packing plants.

Tina Zakowski was scheduled to begin maternity leave as communications director with the Canadian Angus Association on October 24. Karla Ness (email) will be taking over Tina’s duties while she is on leave. This will be Tina’s second child and we wish her best of luck.

Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Profiles

Colin Verbeek
Colin Verbeek photo: Supplied

Colin Verbeek was raised on his family’s mixed grain and purebred Limousin farm in Sturgeon County, near Morinville, Alta. Hillview Farms calves out 150 purebred Limousin females each year and sells high-quality Limousin bulls by private treaty, and in the Prime Limousin Club Bull Sale in Westlock, Alta. the third weekend of March. Colin graduated from the Olds College agricultural management program with a major in marketing and worked for Richardson Pioneer. This spring he will be returning to the family farm and starting up his own cattle operation with his fiancée, Tessa Nybo, another CYL mentee.

Colin has a passion for improving genetics through the use of artificial insemination, genomics, expected progeny differences, and other progressive means of selecting and breeding efficient, productive and sound structured cattle. Colin is a director of the Alberta Limousin Association and is looking forward to becoming more involved in cattle industry groups, as he progresses as a producer and industry leader himself.

Colin is eager to learn from his mentor, Dyce Bolduc Cudlough Farms at Stavely, Alta., as he begins building his own operation.

Laura Ecklund
Laura Ecklund photo: Supplied

Laura Ecklund grew up on a cow-calf operation in southwestern Ontario, raising purebred Limousin cattle. In her youth, she was an active 4-H member in the local beef club and also showed cattle with the Ontario Limousin Association. Laura’s passion for beef cattle led her to pursue a career in the beef industry. She moved to Alberta to attend Olds College graduating with a diploma in agricultural business and a bachelor of applied science and agribusiness degree. She and her husband, Cody, now live in Olds. In the near future they hope to start their own commercial beef operation.

Through the Cattleman’s Young Leaders program and her time with mentor Deb Verbonac a senior account manager with the PR firm AdFarm, and a former staff member of the Canadian Limousin Association, Laura would like to become involved in educating consumers about beef production.

Kristine Blair
Kristine Blair photo: Supplied

Kristine Blair grew up in Woodside, Man. on a cow-calf and backgrounding operation. The goals of her family’s operation have been to strive for excellence in grazing management and environmental stewardship. She is in the process of building her own cow-calf herd and she is very excited to be establishing an operation near Langruth, Man.

Kristine received her bachelor of science, from the faculty of agriculture and food science at the University of Manitoba majoring in agroecology. She has spent some time working for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) on projects including riparian area health, as well as the impacts of bale grazing on forage quantity, quality and species composition.

Kristine is currently enrolled in the master’s of animal science program at the University of Manitoba. Her research is part of a larger study to develop beneficial management practices (BMPs) that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the Canadian cattle industry. This is particularly important as cattle producers in Western Canada have begun to change the way in which they overwinter cattle, moving from traditional confined pen systems to extensive in-field systems including swath grazing and bale grazing. Kristine’s project will compare energy lost as methane, a greenhouses gas, in background cattle. More specifically, she will compare intake, gain and energy use efficiency in steers fed during winter, four forage-based diets that differ in protein content. The diets have been formulated to reflect the range of diets fed to backgrounding cattle in Western Canada.

Her mentor is Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell, senior manager sustainability with McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.

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