Tuesday, February 28, 2017

GOAL 2017

Another goal has come and gone, with lots of friendships made and lots of new concepts learned! We started the weekend with some ice breakers and then jumped right into a weekend of fun with the Junior Angus members. On Saturday, our first guest speaker was Dr. Oliver Schunicht, with a virtual feedlot tour where we learned the aspects of feedlot health and why it is very important in the industry. Following Dr. Schunicht’s talk, we welcomed Kirk Wildman, CAA Past President and his son Thomas to discuss the Canadian Angus Association, past, present and future and how the breed has developed and changed throughout the decades, going from tall to very short and stubby and back to moderate. This was an interesting talk as most Juniors weren't around for the variety of frames that the Angus breed developed. Michaela Chalmers, our Robert C. McHaffie Junior Ambassador then talked about her year as the ambassador and the awesome opportunities she has been given by holding that position. She encouraged all Juniors to apply for the position. 

The ice breakers were fun and gave us some funny pictures

We then had our formal dinner, where the Juniors were divided up to meet new people at each table. After dinner, the most nerve-wracking (for the finalists anyway) experience occurred, the panel discussion for the Foundation Legacy Scholarships. Our CEO Rob Smith asked a variety of questions to the five finalists and they were judged on their responses. Congratulations to Macy Liebreich for winning first place and receiving $5,000, Robert McKinlay for receiving second place and $3,000 and Cayley Peltzer receiving third place and $2,000 as well as Wade Olynyk and Ella Wood receiving runner up and $500 each. To finish up the evening, there was a very entertaining hypnotist show by Terry Knodel and many Juniors got up on stage to participate his show.

The formal dinner
On Sunday, we began the day by learning a practical guide to cattle treatment by Dr. Tammy Nay, and when to vaccinate properly and how to give the medication, intramuscular, subcutaneous, etc. It was a good learning experience for those who don't get to give needles to their cattle very often. Following Dr. Tammy's presentation, we welcomed Dr. Ed Pajor to talk to us about beef cattle welfare and the aspects surrounding the theory, practice and future direction of the industry. The day was off to a great start with both Dr. Tammy and Dr. Ed being very interesting to listen to. The pattern continued with Dausen Kluin and his motivational speech about living in rural Alberta with a disability. His talk was very inspirational and he encouraged us to take chances when opportunities arise and to live life to the fullest even if you need to take a different approach than others might use. One quote I took from his talk was "the limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves."

After a morning of educational and inspirational learning, we then began the fun activities of the afternoon at the West Edmonton Mall, where we had the choice to go shopping, to the water park, or to Galaxyland. The water park was a ton of fun with the wave pool and water slides! After the entertaining afternoon, we then went back for dinner and a couple more speakers where we learned how to build our leadership skills as the future of the beef industry and in any life aspect we may endure. Jane Halford, CAF Director and Bob Hahn, CAA Director did a great job of getting the Junior members to interact with each other as well recognize leadership skills and gave us some tools to grow and be thankful for these abilities. We closed the evening with a singing bee with some very enthusiastic singers and commentators!


Monday was the wrap up of our 2017 GOAL Conference and we began with a talk from Karla Ness, CAA Director of Member Engagement, Brooke Bablitz, CJAA Alberta Director and Raina Syrnyk, CJAA President & Manitoba Director about the endless opportunities within the Junior Association and the Canadian Angus Foundation, I encourage everyone to apply for all of these opportunities because I surely wouldn't be where I am today without these bursaries to attend events such as GOAL and Showdown. Next up was Clint Morasch from Bow Valley Genetics & Lazy MC Angus; he talked about their facility, embryo transfer and IVF and answered many questions that the members had since some of us have never been a part of these areas of the industry. Jamie McAllister, a beef/dairy nutritionist specialist talked to us about interpreting a feed sample analysis and what to look for when doing so. Next was the most exciting part of the day, the announcement of the Legacy Scholarship winners and the World Angus Forum Youth Team Members! Congrats to the members on each of the three teams and good luck in Scotland; represent Canadian Angus and our country proudly! Team Aspire is Meghan McGillivray, Cole Dodgson, Macy Liebreich, and Kelly Somerville; Team Believe is Michaela Chalmers, Travis Hunter, Wade Olnyk, and Kelsey Ribey, and Team Courage is Katie Wright, Maguire Blair, Bailey Dietrich, and Raina Syrnyk.

Morgan McIntyre, Brandy Thaxter, Naomi Best
With the conference coming to an end, we also heard a retiring speech from Brooke, and said goodbye to our new and old friends as we all parted ways. I would like to personally thank the Canadian Junior Angus Association and the Canadian Angus Foundation for the endless opportunities they have given me over the years as well as Belinda Wagner for everything that she does for the Association and especially all of us Juniors. We wouldn't be able to do all of this without you. Finally, as this is my final year as a Junior, I encourage all Juniors to apply for bursaries and scholarships and take advantage of every opportunity given to you because I know I will miss being able to take part in all these great activities. I hope to see everyone at Showdown 2017, in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, and I hope that everyone will take part of GOAL 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba! 


Posted by Brandy Thaxter

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

AgEx Conference


President David Sibbald and I had the pleasure of representing Canadian Angus at Farm Management Canada’s Agricultural Excellence Conference, AgEx, in Calgary November 22–24. The theme for the conference was Plan and Prosper: Set the Course for Farm Success. Canadian Angus was pleased to sponsor this conference, and we wanted to share some of the highlights with you. 

AgEx attracted nearly 200 delegates from across the agriculture industry: primary producers, advisors, academics, associations, corporations and government. All of these varied perspectives made this conference different from your “typical” beef conference.


Tina found Manitoba Angus producer Steven Ardiel
at AgEx
At the start of the conference we were introduced to a study called “Making Dollars and Sense—Measuring the Tangible Benefits of Farm Business Management Practices on Canadian Farms”. The "dollars and sense survey" revealed that the top seven things Canadian farmers do for farm business management are:

  1.   Ongoing skills development, lifelong learning
  2.   Business decisions made using accurate financial data
  3.   Seek the help of business advisors/consultants
  4.   Have a written business plan, follow it, review it annually
  5.   Know, monitor your cost of production and what it means for your profits
  6.   Assess risks and have a plan to manage and mitigate risk
  7.   Use a budget and financial plan to monitor financial position and options

As was pointed out in this presentation, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Another of our favourite quotes from the morning came from Farmers Advanced Risk Management Company (FARMCo) founder John De Pape: "Hope is not a marketing strategy."

This slide illustrates why farming is as much a lifestyle choice
as it is a business or career choice.

There was an excellent panel discussion on Managing Risk in Agriculture: How Can We Confront Change with Confidence? Richard Stamp owns and operates Stamp Farms and Stamp Seeds at Enchant, AB. He shared how his top 5 risks change when he looks at them from a perspective of traditional thinking versus one of futuristic thinking:


Fellow panelist Scott Ross, Director of Business Risk Management and Farm Policy at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture was the first person to give the advice "Find people who are smarter than you". This became a common theme at the conference: seek experts and assistance to help in areas where you lack skill and/or knowledge. He also recommended continuous learning. He was also the one to ask the question, how does the industry get ahead of public trust issues? We know that this is a huge problem but no one has the magic answer to this question yet.

The third panelist David Sullivan left us with two very important pieces of advice:
     1.  Do accrual accounting.
     2.  Actually look at it and use it with benchmarks.
For many people, that ties back to Scott's advice to find people who are smarter than you.


President David and I had to split up for the Young Farmers versus the Young at Heart “bear pit” exercise as one of us is under age 41 and one of us is over. A couple of good tools were shared at the Young at Heart session that we wanted to share. Young farmers were encouraged to send a letter. Suggested phrases to use include:



  • Feel strongly that by (pursuing, implementing, etc.) then describe what change you want to see
  • Bullets listing tangible, financial, family harmony, etc. benefits of the change. Be specific and measurable not subjective.
  • Your commitment—what specific action are you going to take to demonstrate your commitment?

This letter needs to have an accompanying 30/60/90 day action plan. The next 30 days should be task focused to keep things moving. The next 60 days should be focused on planning and be specific to both the organization/operation and to yourself. The next 90 days should be focused on strategic planning and the big picture.

Day 2 offered break-out sessions. Key takeaways from these include:
  • Without a plan, the two levels of government become the biggest beneficiaries of your estate
  • If two people at a board room table are always in agreement, one of them is unnecessary
  • When you are planning for succession, remember that one day your buyer will sell too
  • Are your marketing goals measurable?
  • Do you have a written marketing plan?


The ultimate goal, no matter how you choose to make your living,
is to find your sweet spot.

These are some of our highlights and the resources that we thought were worth sharing. We encourage those of you who use Twitter to search the conference hash tag #AgExConf16 for more insights and discussion. 

Farm Management Canada’s website has many resources for producers in all industries including strategic and business planning, marketing, human resource management and succession planning. The organization is a national umbrella for farm business management activity.

AgEx will move to Ottawa next year, November 21-23. There are also FMC events across the country throughout the year as well as webinars. 

We'd love to hear from you if you have questions.


Posted by Tina Zakowsky
Feedback: tzakowsky@cdnangus.ca