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Young cattle producers wanted

Young producers will be the heart of any future herd expansion and should be involved in setting policy

Manitoba Beef Producers is hoping to see a few more young faces at its upcoming annual general meeting.

That meeting is slated for Feb. 2 and 3 in Brandon at the Victoria Inn, and will see the organization discussing a host of issues that affect the industry’s bottom line and setting policy that will chart the future course of the industry.

Brian Lemon, MBP’s general manager, says now more than ever, younger producers are needed to take an active role in this process.

“In part we are trying to attract young producers because it will be a key component of trying to deliver on building the provincial herd. We really want to encourage young producers to show up at the AGM,” Lemon said. “We are going to hold a young producer forum, a special session where young producers can get together and they will have their own agenda.”

Agriculture policy can have a significant impact on individual operations and tends to be long lasting, according to the head of a young producers’ organization.

“Young producers need to come to these meetings because this is where the policy is being made that we will have to deal with for the next 10 to 20 years,” said Brett McRae, a fifth-generation Manitoba cattle producer and president of the Young Cattlemen’s Council (YCC). “The policy that gets voted on right now, may not materialize for a few years and we will be the ones dealing with it, so it is important that we have our say.”

McRae has been an active attendee to the MBP AGM for a number of years and says attending has a number of benefits.

“Keeping up to date with industry issues is the main reason that I go but you also have a chance to rub shoulders with some of the big players in the Manitoba beef industry and there are producers from all areas of the value chain there. So, as a cow-calf guy you can talk with a feedlot operator and gain some perspective and vice versa,” McRae said.

As president of YCC, McRae has been working with MBP to establish the event’s young producers forum.

“At YCC one of our objectives is to improve our relationship with our provincial organizations, so from that we approached MBP and are helping to organize this meeting at the AGM,” McRae said. “It is an event specifically directed to young producers. So, there will be an update from YCC, an update from the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program and a talk on an issue that young producers are dealing with.”

As an added incentive, MBP has established a young producer mentorship offer. MBP members are encouraged to pre-register with a young producer, ages 18 to 39, and the young producer will receive a complimentary registration. The pre-registration deadline is January 5.

The theme for this year’s AGM is ‘Sharing our story’ and much of the agenda will focus on social licence and public trust.

“We need to tell our story and be proud of our story. So, that is what this will be all about. We will talk about the things that producers are doing in terms of animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and on-farm food safety,” Lemon said. “The other piece is that we really need to try and figure out how to bridge the communication between the producers of animals and the consumers of beef. We will have a number of producers come in and talk about selling beef to consumers and what it is consumers are looking for and why it is they do what they do.”

For more information visit, www.mbbeef.ca/annual-meeting/.

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer Paige is a reporter centred in southwestern Manitoba. She previously wrote for the agriculture-based magazine publisher, Issues Ink and was the sole-reporter at the Minnedosa Tribune for two years prior to joining the Manitoba Co-operator.

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