Thursday, October 20, 2016

Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Conference

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) held its bi-annual conference in Banff, Alberta October 4-7 in conjunction with the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB). This two-day conference plus one-day pre-tour was an opportunity for Canada to showcase the work our industry has done on sustainably to the world. There were more than 200 attendees from 15 different countries representing producer organizations, retail/foodservice companies, processing, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and individual farms/ranches. 

Much of the discussion was around showing how sustainable beef production is and ways that we can continuously improve in the future. Sustainable beef is defined by the GRSB (and CRSB) as “a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes planet, people, animals and progress." 

Some points that I thought were really interesting from the speakers and discussion included:

  • Dr David Hughes (UK) – The margin in beef is in the adjectives and people pick the cheapest product at the grocery store because the differences in the product are not described there.
  • Cameron Brunet (USA) – Roundtables need to promote the truth and promote progress.
  • Dr Martin Scholten (NETH) – There is no space for food waste anymore.

Canada’s National Beef Sustainability Assessment and Strategy was released at the conference. This project was years in the making and was done “to gain a comprehensive understanding of the sustainability performance of the Canadian beef industry, as well as to identify opportunities for improvement,” (Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, Chair CRSB). Full information on the report and the next steps are available at

Canada is recognized as a leader in these discussions and has one of the best functioning roundtables to date. The CCA has done a tremendous job putting the CRSB into motion and Canadian Angus is proud to be an active member of the CRSB, allowing our members interests and voice to be heard during these discussions. If you have any further questions or want more information, please feel free to contact me at or at (705) 768-7906. 

The pre-tour visited CL Ranch

Michael Latimer, Executive Director of Canadian Beef Breeds Council,
made a presentation at SSS Cattle Co during the pre-tour

Cheryl also presented at SSS Cattle Co

Our President David Sibbald with his wife Mary Beth
and son Dylan

Posted by Cheryl Hazenberg

Friday, September 30, 2016

Eastern Canada Update

Autumn is upon us and it brings welcome relief across Ontario and most of Eastern Canada. The summer of 2016 has been wrought with challenges for beef producers with falling prices and severe drought in most parts of Southern Ontario. Many areas in Quebec and the Maritimes have also been severely impacted by the lack of moisture this year. Through August and September a little rain has fallen, and that has meant some saving grace for the pastures. Warm temperatures through September have also extended the grazing season. Hay is reportedly already selling at almost $100 a round bale; it will be interesting to see how this affects the amount of animals sold and the prices through the fall. 
Brampton Fair
September saw the first of the female production sales with a strong sale and a $5,000+ average. Fall fair season is in full swing and there were also Gold Shows in each of the three regions. Brome Fair (QC) ran on September 2nd, Brampton Fair was September 18th and Beef Expo Sussex ran September 23rd - 25th. The Maritimes have now wrapped up all their 2016 Gold Shows, while Quebec has their second on October 8 at Expo Boeuf, Victoriaville and Ontario hosts the National Show in November at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto.
There are also a number of female sales and feeder calf sales through October; all details are listed on the Events Calendar. If your sale is not listed please email me and we will add it. We would also like to publish a list of sales results on the Canadian Angus Association website so please email me your sales results at  

Brampton Fair

Brampton Fair

Brampton Fair

Posted by Cheryl Hazenberg

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Canadian Angus Registration Cards

We found some interesting mementos of Canadian Angus Association history while sorting through the Association’s archives. One of these interesting and long-retired artifacts is the registration card. In the absence of modern technology and our sophisticated registration and data storage system, small index cards were used for the enrollment and record-keeping of animals. Each membership/registration card listed the farm name, the breed, a farm address, a registration prefix, the herd letters used by the breeder, as well as in which ear the animal was tattooed and the date. The registrar wrote the animal’s registered ear tag number and registration number by hand on each card. As you can imagine, this would have been a time consuming process for large herds.

Samples of Canadian Angus registration cards

These cards are an antique of sorts when you consider how they date back to the early years of the Canadian Angus Association. It is very different from the electronic system that is in use today at Angus Central. The cards offer a way for us to get an idea of what the industry was like, and are evidence of how far technology and innovation have brought the Canadian Angus Association. Looking through the thousands of registration cards, although a time consuming task, was enlightening for me, as I was able to see how far some herds have come. I was able to look at the registrations for breeders such as Orrin Hart, with registrations from at least as far back as 1942. I was also able to find registration cards for three generations of the Matthews family, which speaks volumes for the legacy of Highland Stock Farms. These are only two examples that I plucked from the pile, leaving a great deal of history in boxes.

We are acknowledging these cards because not only do they have some historical value, we also recognize that they might hold some sentimental value for the farms and ranches to which they belong. As such, we would like to extend an invitation for any breeder who believes that we might have registration cards that belong to them to contact us so that we can send them to you. With an electronic registration system, these cards are no longer of any use to the Association, and there are simply too many to display them all. If you believe that your operation would have cards and you would like them back, please contact Tina Zakowsky.

Submitted by Megan Macleod