The western way of life is renowned for its warm and giving nature, and at their semi-annual meeting in Calgary, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) approved the formation of an arm’s length charitable foundation.
“It’s a means for people to put money towards the industry. It provides a tool for people who want to put something back into the industry to be able to do it with a tax credit,” said CCA director Bob Lowe, who ranches near Nanton, Alberta.
The CCA established objectives for the foundation, which have been submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency for approval, a crucial step in obtaining charitable status.
The objectives are to support stewardship practices and conservation actions that conserve the environment, biodiversity and wildlife habitat on working agricultural landscapes; to support education, leadership development, and outreach programs to serve youth involved with beef cattle and grass-range management; and lastly, to support cattle care research and awareness.
Once it is approved the Canadian Cattlemen’s Foundation will form a committee of cattle producers, and representation from the outside community and from within corporate Canada to review requests and submissions for funding.
The foundation is prohibited from funding lobbying efforts or actual beef production, and must be geared towards the wider public good. “It’s open to a lot of possibilities. It allows people to give back to the industry they grew up in if they want to, and it also gives the industry a form of funding to do research,” said Lowe.
Encouraging and supporting youth is a strong part of the foundation’s mandate, and a goal which resonates personally with Lowe. “Scholarships and things like that, that will benefit the industry in a time when mostly due to lack of cattle numbers, we’re running out of money. Cattle organizations all over are running out of money because cattle numbers are dropping. And this could be a means of sourcing some more money to put into things like research and youth,” he said.
The foundation will support youth interested in pursuing a future in agriculture with scholarships, sponsorships and grants. “The business itself has had such negative connotations, at least since the border closed in 2003, and it’s been pretty tough and it’s pretty dang tough to get kids interested. And those who are should be promoted all they can,” said Lowe.