Latest articles

National cattle checkoff on its way up this spring

The national levy used to fund marketing and research is going up by $1.50 — the first increase since 2002

Come spring, more than the grass will be rising — the national cattle levy is going up $1.50 per head on April 1. “The impetus for us was the national beef strategy,” said Rich Smith, executive director of Alberta Beef Producers. “The national beef strategy is a plan for us for the next five years […] Read more

Start succession planning with a conversation — and then keep talking

Trent Clark has heard many succession ‘horror stories’ and is making sure that everyone in his family is on the same page

Working on your farm management skills is like exercising… it pays big benefits, but it’s easy to push it off for another day. Only one-third of producers use business advisers or risk management tools, and fewer still do HR, succession, or strategic planning. To help make your farm more profitable (and your life more enjoyable), […] Read more

‘Change’ is the watchword in a warming world, says researcher

Longer summers and milder winters sound nice, but even the pluses come with some negatives

How will the Canadian cattle industry fare if global temperatures continue to rise? Count a reduced feed demand, a longer grazing season, and higher forage production among the benefits — but also expect more extreme weather, pests, and transport headaches, according to University of Manitoba research scientist Kim Ominski. “We know the future of our […] Read more

Just a bad patch? Or is the cattle sector in denial?

Charlie Gracey says an ambitious plan to revitalize the beef sector isn’t working, but Dave Solverson says give it time

The cattle industry needs to stop patting itself on the back and face an uncomfortable truth — its grand plan to create a bright new future isn’t yielding results. That’s the view of Charlie Gracey, one of Canada’s most renowned experts on the beef industry. And all you have to do is look at the […] Read more

Parasites could be costing you big bucks without you even realizing it

Infected cattle often look healthy, but their daily gain might be up to half a pound lower than it should be

Little is known about the impact of parasites on Canadian cattle production. But one thing is sure — resistance to the medication used to treat these parasites is growing. “There’s a lack of local information and a lack of information on parasites in Canada. That’s a problem,” John Gilleard, professor of parasitology in the University […] Read more

New verified beef program makes a timely debut

Revamped VBP program means producers can document their animal care, biosecurity, and environmental practices

The newly launched Verified Beef Production Plus program is taking Canada one step closer in its quest towards verified sustainable beef, says one of its designers. “This is just from my perspective, but we have always had early adopters — the people who believe in it — but there have never been clear market signals,” […] Read more

Study digs deep into state of cow herd

Five-year project generating hard data on topics such as antibiotic use, trace minerals, and Johne’s disease

Cattle in Western Canada tend to be deficient in copper, have a low incidence of Johne’s disease, and cow-calf producers don’t use antibiotics excessively. Those are three of the findings from the cattle health network, a five-year project begun in 2012, and based on the National Animal Health Monitoring System in the U.S. “This year […] Read more

‘Sustainable’ beef pilot a success — but the job isn’t done yet

McDonald’s pilot is complete but now the Canadian beef industry has to create and implement its own standards

After being the first to source and track “verified sustainable” beef for McDonald’s, the Canadian cattle industry has a new challenge — create its own standards that all of its buyers can use. The wrap-up event drew more than 300 ranchers and industry players to celebrate the accomplishment — a sharp contrast to the quiet, […] Read more

Industry enthusiastic about McDonalds’ approach

Fast food chain worked with producers

Producers who participated in McDonald’s “verified sustainable” pilot are enthusiastic about the project and the lessons learned. “It felt like they (McDonald’s) were going to the grassroots where the other competitors were not,” said Les Wall, feedlot operator and owner of KCL Cattle Company near Coaldale, Alta. “I felt like the other competitors were doing […] Read more

Earls’ reversal wins battle, not war

One of Canada’s highest-profile food and agriculture commentators says the beef industry shouldn’t be celebrating victory over getting Earls to roll back its humane beef certification decision. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of marketing studies at the University of Guelph who frequently writes about food consumers and how they interact with the agriculture and food industry, […] Read more