Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Canadian Junior Angus Ambassadors Travel South to Palermo

From July 24th to August 2nd, the three most recent Canadian Junior Angus Ambassadors, Chad Lorenz, Matt Bates and Patrick Holland travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina to experience La Exposicion Rural 2015 in Palermo. We all met up at Toronto Pearson Airport and flew together on a direct flight to Buenos Aires.

We arrived in Buenos Aires in the afternoon on Saturday July 25th, after a short stop in Santiago, Chile. To our surprise on arrival we found out that our bags were taken off the plane earlier in Chile, so it would be another full day before we received our belongings in Argentina. Mariano Etcheverry picked us up from the airport, and toured us around for the entire trip. Mariano has worked in the beef industry for most of his life, at one time working for Alta genetics. During his employment with Alta, he made several trips to Canada to take in shows such as Canadian Western Agribition, and during this time he met many Canadian breeders and became fluent in English. Mariano was critical to the success of our trip since the three of us were not fluent in Spanish, and many of the breeders we visited with were not able to speak English.

On Saturday afternoon, we had a brief driving tour of the city, and then had an excellent Pizza supper followed by a quick tour down at the exhibition grounds. We were lucky that our hotel was within walking distance of the grounds, so we weren’t relying on Mariano to drive us to and from the grounds each day. There were just shy of 1,000 head of cattle on the exhibition grounds for the show this year. We were told this was slightly down in numbers from other years, mainly influenced by the lack of support for agriculture form their government.

On Sunday morning we drove out of the city to Casamu Angus, home of the Sackmann family. Carlos and Juan toured us through their many pastures which were home to over 1,000 registered Angus cows. They took a lot of pride in the care of their animals and had very detailed breeding records. Most of their breeding decisions were made based on the Expected Breeding Value’s (EBV’s) for each animal with some emphasis on phenotype as well. Since it was wintertime in Argentina, their pastures were not overly lush; however, the cattle still seemed to be doing very well. The majority of their cows would begin calving within the next few weeks for spring calving, with another portion of their herd on a Fall calving program. After we went through the cows, we had a tour of their very large group of heifers as well as their pen of around 120 bulls that would sell at their sale in a month’s time. This is one of 3 sales they have on the farm each year. We were amazed by the amount of mass and substance that their bulls had on a very moderate frame. After the tour, we were treated to an excellent lunch and met the rest of the Sackmann family.


Most of our Monday was spent at the exhibition grounds with the Junior Angus Judging Competition being the main event for the day. Luckily the competition was based on placing’s only, with no oral reasons necessary, so our inability to speak Spanish didn’t stop us from participating. There were 4 classes of Angus cattle to judge ranging from calves to mature cattle, both bulls and heifers. We very much enjoyed the chance to analyze these Argentina show cattle that were nicely presented in the sunny show ring. We were invited to the awards banquet in the evening where we found out that Chad placed 1st overall in our age division, with Patrick close behind in 3rd. Both were given very nice trophies for their accomplishment.

On Tuesday morning, the three of us hopped on a bus that took us out of the city to meet Mariano. We then drove about another hour to the Centre de Reproduccion Bovina, an AI stud that was currently home to around 70 bulls. We were given a very thorough tour of the daily operations at the facility including their different methods of collection which were quite similar to back home. We saw many impressive bulls, some of which were previous champions at Palermo. On our way back to the city, we stopped in a small town for a nice lunch and a quick tour. That evening we watched the Invitational Angus Sale that was held at the exhibition grounds. Although it was difficult to follow the Spanish auctioneers, with some help, we were able to get an idea of what the cattle were selling for. Their auction style is quite different from back home as the auctioneers seemed to lack a rhythmic chant as we are accustomed to. The hospitality at the sale was fantastic, with waiters bringing around drinks, appetizers and Chile throughout the duration of the sale. The high selling animal in the sale sold for about the equivalent of $9,000 USD.

Wednesday was the calf show at Palermo. We watched the entire female calf show in the morning, and then went for a city tour of the historic downtown Buenos Aires. We took an underground subway from the show grounds to the downtown area. There we saw the beautiful Cathedral as well as the Cabildo, the former government headquarters. We also saw the national bank and several other historic buildings which had been well kept. We then returned to the grounds via the subway to watch the end of the bull calf show. That evening we went for a steak supper featuring excellent Argentina grass-fed beef, possibly one of the best steak suppers any of us had eaten.

The next two days we spent the majority of our time watching the Angus Female show (Thursday) and Bull show (Friday). We were very impressed with the number of quality cattle that went through the ring in these two days. A massive crowd turned out to watch around 250 impressive females parade in front of the Scottish judge, culminating with a 2 year-old female being slapped Grand Champion. On Friday we had to get a seat an hour and a half before the start of the show to make sure we had a good view of the ring. It poured rain throughout the duration of the show, but the presence of rubber boots and umbrellas meant that the show went on. When it was all said and done around 5000 people had their attention turned to the Angus ring to watch another 2 year-old get slapped Grand Champion Male. We were following along in our show programs and were amazed at how much North American influence there was in the pedigrees on these cattle. Bulls like Density, Brilliance, Net Worth, Final Answer, and Heavy Hitter were very common as either the sire or maternal grand sire of these animals. Throughout the duration of the Angus show, the Hereford show was also happening in the adjacent ring and we were able to watch that show simultaneously. To us, the Herefords and the Angus were the most impressive breed shows in Palermo.

On Friday evening there was an off-site Angus banquet to celebrate the end of the show. International guests were given free admission to the banquet which ordinarily cost about the equivalent of $60 USD. The evening was kicked off with a marching band, and then a fantastic beef supper was served with wine and champagne, followed by an awards ceremony. Each operation that exhibited a champion at the show was called up to receive their award and recognition. The awards were followed by a dance to finish the evening.

On Saturday morning we went to the exhibition grounds one last time to see the Parade of Champions, or as they called it, ‘The Official Opening.’ By the time it began, there was nothing left but standing room, and each of the breed champions was walked out into the ring one last time to receive recognition in front of the massive crowd. A few of the dignitaries spoke and then each of the animals left the ring. Shortly after, we left for the airport to catch our mid afternoon flight.

These 8 days in Argentina gave us an excellent chance to experience the Argentina culture, as well as to get a glimpse of their very moderate framed cattle that boast an abundance of substance and style. The breeders were pleasant and passionate, and the hospitality was excellent. A huge thank you goes to Mariano Etcheverry for making it the trip that it was, and looking out for us during our stay.

A special note of thanks to the Canadian Angus Foundation for sending 3 Ambassadors on the trip of a lifetime. The Canadian Junior Angus Ambassador program is certainly the epitome of experiences for Angus youth in Canada.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reach a Nationwide Audience For Just Pennies Per Household! Promote Your Operation in the New CAA Member Directory or CAA Bull Buyer’s Guide!

Whether you run a large Angus seed stock operation, or you run a small herd of Angus cows, you can, no doubt, benefit from advertising in either of the two new promotional publications from the Canadian Angus Association. This includes a CAA Nationwide Member Directory to be mailed on September 15 each year and the CAA Bull Buyer’s Guide to be mailed by February 1st each year.

Want to get involved in these two exciting new advertising initiatives from the CAA. Here’s what you need to know:

The CAA Member Directory will include contact information for every member of the Association and is anticipated to be used for the entire year until next September when the new version appears. This is an ideal showcase for you to promote your entire program; tell us who you are and what you're about. Specifically, if you have a fall sale, or a sale in the first six (6) weeks of the new year, or consign to such, this is your opportunity to promote that event or those consignments. If you do NOT wish to be included in the CAA Member Directory, please contact the CAA and request removal from this broad-based exposure prior to August 20.
The CAA Bull Buyer's Guide will be mailed no later than February 1st each year, so will be your chance to advertise your bull production, including all sales taking place from the middle of February onward. Regardless of whether you choose to advertise or not, the CAA Bull Buyer's Guide will feature the most comprehensive list of Angus bull sales in the nation, so please share your sale information with Keltey at your CAA (403-571-3598- as soon as you know it!
Advertising Rates...
Full Page $1250.00 / 15,000 households = 8.3 cents per household
Half Page $700.00 /15,000 households = 4.7 cents per household
Quarter Page $450.00 / 15,000 households = 3 cents per household
Business Card Ad $250.00 / 15,000 households = 1.7 cents per household
* Please speak with Today's Angus Advantage representatives about their 15% discount on yearly contracts (card ads exempt), including these two Canadian Angus Association tools
To book space, please contact:
Bryan Kostiuk - 306-934-9696 -
Chris Poley - 306-220-5006 -
Shane Michelson - 403-363-9973 -
Office: 306.934.9696 - F: 306.934.0744 -
Please remember... these two tools will be sent to every member of the Canadian Angus Association as well as everyone who has purchased a transferred Canadian Angus bull within the past two years. Your exposure could not be any better - 15,000 households!!! One could not ask for more fair advertising rates given the scope of the audience that will be reached by these two publications. Check out the rates broken down by household, and you will see that your business card ad could be sent nationwide for less than 2 cents per household! These publications offer an incredible new opportunity for CAA members… Book your advertising space today!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Time to get registered… National Convention is Almost Here!

It’s hard to believe that convention is upon us again. In less than a month, Convention 2015 will be kicking off with the President’s Reception on Thursday June 4th at Angus Central.

The Canadian Angus Association (CAA) National Convention is the Annual General Meeting for the association coupled with outstanding tours, events and hospitality, making it a must-attend event for progressive Angus breeders. This will be my third time attending National Convention, and I have seen firsthand the value of the event as a networking opportunity for Angus breeders.

This year the event will be held in Calgary, Alberta and the theme is “Yes We Can.” Some of the key events that should be highlights of this years’ Convention include:

·         Open house at Bow Valley Genetics in Brooks, AB on June 3rd

·         Golfing at Beaver Dam Golf course on June 4th

·         Shopping trip to Irvine’s Tack & Western Wear on June 4th which features lunch at Pasu Fine Dining Experience & Sheepskin Boutique

·         Presidents Reception at Angus Central on June 4th featuring light refreshments and the Robert Cameron McHaffie Ambassador competition

·         Cattlemen’s Connection Day on June 5th featuring a panel discussion, keynote speakers and afternoon tours

·         Breakfast with the Board of Directors as well as Staff Information sessions on June 6th

·         CAA AGM, CAF AGM and Convention Banquet on June 6th followed by award presentations, the ‘CAF Building the Legacy Sale 4’ and a dance to conclude the evening

·         Northern Alberta Angus tour on June 7th

·         Trip to Banff, AB on June 8th

The number and scope of events on this list speak to the value of National Convention to Canadian Angus breeders and Angus enthusiasts alike. Whether you are a large Angus producer, small Angus producer or a Junior Angus member, you will no doubt benefit from attending the event. There will be lots of Angus breeders in attendance from near and far which should be invaluable from a networking perspective.

Be sure to get registered as soon as possible as the early registration deadline is May 15th. Full details available at or by calling 1-888-571-3580.

Matt Bates – CAA Summer Marketing Intern

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Over 40 Angus Heifers Exhibited at Youth Forum – Markham, Ontario

There was a large presence of Angus cattle at the Markham Fairgrounds over the weekend for the annual Youth Forum. Youth Forum is one of Ontario’s largest junior shows, with approximately 150 juniors pre-entered for the show. Angus was the largest breed in attendance, with over 40 Angus females walking in front of judge, Josh Elder during the conformation show. There was a large crowd in attendance for both days of the show  (April 25-26)

The Angus show was split into 6 heats, followed by a championship class. Champion Angus Female went to Polestar Queen Lily, exhibited by Denver Bolton of Lansdowne, Ontario. The Reserve champion female went to IRCC Tibbie 401B exhibited by Owen Elmhirst.

 Angus Youth also competed quite successfully in the showmanship division. Results of the Showmanship were as follows:

Champion Junior Showman: Katie Elmhirst

Reserve Champion Junior Showman: Allie Wade


Champion Intermediate Showman: Denver Bolton

Reserve Champion Intermediate Showman: Owen Elmhirst


Champion Senior Showman: Bailey McConnell

Reserve Champion Senior Showman: Blair Allnutt


Supreme Champion Showman: Bailey McConnell

Reserve Supreme Showman: Blair Allnutt

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 World Angus Secretariat – Will you be there?

The World Angus Secretariat was established in 1969 to facilitate the exchange of information between the various Angus societies and associations around the world. The organization is comprised of more than 20 breed associations worldwide and it will be conducting its biennial meeting this October. Angus breeders from across the world will meet to discuss the latest breed information and technological advances as well as tour the regions locales and of course look at Angus cattle.

The Mexican Angus Association will be hosting the 2015 World Angus Secretariat. The meeting will feature the beautiful Mexican countryside alongside Angus cattle. Mexico has a very unique geography and climate, ranging from hot deserts to cold mountains to tropical regions and Angus cattle are able to thrive in all of those environments. The Secretariat provides an opportunity for Canadian producers to gain a different perspective on the industry, and see Angus cattle residing in an environment unique to Canada. Here is an overview of the conference itinerary:

October 12-14 – Pre tour – Copper Canyon

Visitors will travel in the famous ‘Chepe Train’ through the copper Canyon in the Tarahumara Mountains in Chihuahua. The Copper Canyon consists of six distinct canyons, and the overall canyon system is larger and portions are deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

October 14-18 – Chihuahua

Chihuahua is located in Northwestern Mexico and is the largest state in the country by area. Visitors will tour various operations in Chihuahua that raise purebred Angus cattle and enjoy a variety of social events.

October 18-22 – Durango

This part of the tour will consist of a large cattle show that will be the national show for Mexico in 2015. There will be exhibits set up at the fairgrounds and a cattle auction after the show.

October 22-25 – Mazatlan (Sinaola)

Mazatlan is the second largest city in Sinaola, consisting of very nice beaches lined with resort hotels. This will be the location of all of the conferences, speeches, and technical parts of the secretariat.

October 25-27 – Post tour

The post tour begins in Mazatlan and is the final leg of the secretariat.

There was a very large Canadian delegation in attendance at the 2013 World Angus Forum in New Zealand, and here’s to hoping that there will be another strong Canadian delegation at this year’s Secretariat in Mexico. The registration form and all fee breakdowns are available on their website:

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Bulls n' tags

Have you watch the second episode of AC-TV yet? This episode is called "Bull n' Tags" and has a large focus on the bull sale season and the new Angus tag products.

I, Karla Ness, had a great time collecting footage for this episode and certainly learned many new things. The episode starts with our head registrar, Stacy Price, explaining how to transfer your animals correctly and giving tips to make transfers go smoothly.  One thing that Stacy stresses is make sure you provide a sale date!! We then move into interviews with some of the field staff that work for the CAA. I was able to get 4 out of the 6 Field Staff interviewed and will collect the other 2 interviews for future episodes. Our field staff are very busy right now as there are many bull sales across the nation right now! What a great bull sale season we have seen so far!

Next we have a feature story about the CAA research projects. I went to Kinsella to visit the Roy Berg Research Station there. I am originally from north of Lougheed so Kinsella is only 20 minutes from our farm. I had no idea the research station was as big as it is! I was truly impressed and was able to learn about many different projects that they have going on right now. I took my dad along with me and he enjoyed learning first hand about the CAA project and we are looking at how we can breed more efficient beef cattle. Tom from Livestock Gentec was the one that I interviewed and he did a great job explaining the project. I hope that we can see some results and get more efficient cattle soon! I learned that 60-70% of a producers cost is feed so it would be nice if we could cut that down!

Colton Hamilton from Belvin Angus was the winner of the "2014 Outstanding Young Angus Breeder" award. In this episode you can learn more about Colton and how he has been involved with the Angus Breed. I find it pretty neat all the places that Colton has gone around the world with the Angus breed. GOAL conference recap follows the piece on Colton. GOAL this year was in Guelph and I was able to attend the conference! It was a lot of fun and it seemed like the kids enjoyed themselves as well. The CJAA always does a great job organizing this event. Next year it will be in our nation's capital- Ottawa!

The Lakeland Student Managed Farm has a purebred unit and they have chosen to use black angus for the project. I travelled to Vermillion (again not far from where I grew up) and learned about the SMF purebred unit. Grayden Kay is the general manager of the unit and has 11 other students helping him to make sure that all angles are covered. They have positions like public relations manager, herd health manager, finance manager and more. I think it is an excellent program that allows the students to learn about how many different roles it takes to be successful in the beef business. I recently went to their beef day where they sold the bulls that they raised through the program. Very good sale and solid 12 bulls that they sold!

The episode ends with information about the new Angus tag products that are now available to our breeders. There are many colors now and a new Angus insignia!!
I think that this episode is very informative and I hope that you do too!

I would love to hear any questions about AC-TV or stories that we have featured. Email me at anytime at

Stay tuned for the next episode coming June 22!

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Monday, March 9, 2015

The second new face to Angus Central

Please join us in welcoming Angela Cambruzzi to Team Angus. Be sure to say hello when you see Angela at our National "Yes We Can" Convention in June.
Angela was born and grew up on an acreage east of Airdrie riding and competing with horses her whole life. She is a barrel racer that attends local races, jackpots or rodeos.  Angela is apart of Alberta Barrel Racing Association.  Angela will be cross-trained to assist with our tag program as well as working with the data flow from our Canadian Angus Performance Program. We are very excited to have her join our team, working daily with Stacy, Laurie and Julia as well as, as needed, with Byron, Cheryl and Kajal.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Team Members at Angus Central!!

It is an exciting time at Angus Central. We have added two new team members to team Angus! Sydney Budgeon will be with the office until later this fall and will be helping with special projects at Angus Central. Please help me in welcoming Sydney to team Angus!!

Name: Sydney Budgeon

Where are you from:  I grew up on a mixed farm just north of Crossfield, Alberta; the farm is worked by both my grandfather and father who run primarily a grain operation, but have intermittently kept a small feedlot as well.  In December, I returned home back to the farm after travelling and living in Edmonton for the past five years.

Schooling:  I studied at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and I graduated this past June with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History.  I focused much of my degree on Western Canadian history, particularly rural history and Aboriginal history.  During my degree I was accepted to study at the U of A’s satellite campus in Cortona, Italy, and also to intern at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. through the Alberta-Smithsonian Internship Program. Both experiences were truly incredible and life-changing.    

Organizations: I am a 4-H alumni, having belonged to the Rosebud 4-H Sheep Club and Crossfield-Madden 4-H Beef Club while I was growing up.  One of my favourite projects was a sweet-tempered Black Angus steer named Baht.  Organizations I have worked for in the past include the Musée Héritage Museum in St. Albert, Alberta where I worked as the Lead Interpreter at their Grain Elevator site, giving tours of the historic grain elevators and teaching children about both historical and modern agriculture.  I’ve always really enjoyed teaching and bringing the rural perspective to the urban.  I’ve also worked as a research assistant to Dr. Sarah Carter who is producing a book about female homesteaders in Saskatchewan that will hopefully be coming out shortly.

Role at the Angus Office:  I am working at CAA as the Special Projects Coordinator in a temporary internship position.  I have applied to study in Amsterdam in the fall for a Master’s degree, so I’m really enjoying the time I have here in Alberta to get back to my roots and spend time in a more rural environment again. 

Hobbies:   I am absolutely passionate about creative writing, mostly short fiction and non-fiction.  While studying in Edmonton, much of my work was published through a friend’s magazine The Glass Buffalo.  In 2013 I was awarded the Amber Bowerman Travel Writing Award by the Writer’s Guild of Alberta for a piece about traveling in Italy.  Additionally, right now I am very focused on learning a second language, practicing both Italian and Danish.  This summer I will be traveling to Denmark to meet for the first relatives on my mother’s side, and I am very determined to be able to speak at least some Danish when I get there.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 was a great year!

Happy New Year, CAA members!

The end of a year brings a number of ‘best lists’… the best movies, political moments, technological inventions, sports plays, etc. of the prior 365 days. Well, I have always been a real fan of lists for how they represent our past and allow us to reference as we seek to grow and prosper in our future, so my final column for this year will be… guess what? A TOP 10 list of the highlights of your CAA through the year that was 2014.

Although this would be atypical of how I normally approach such a message, I am going to start off with our most significant challenge... our biggest problem... of 2014. I do this because, in honesty, this is the worst situation we’ve experienced since I started as your CAA servant 3.5 years ago.

I speak, of course, about our challenges working through issues with services regarding genetic testing, primarily the achievement of parentage verification. There is no way to ‘sugar coat’ this... it was an unmitigated disaster for far too long as we continually found ourselves failing you, our membership, in the provision of these essential services. It was because of this failure to adequately serve that the Board of Directors decided in June to postpone implementation of the new Parentage Verification policy for one year affecting sires (from which offspring are applied for registration) born on or after January 1st, 2015... moved now to 2016. There is a ‘bright side’ however; we worked through the performance issues and successfully transitioned to Delta Genomics as your new DNA technology provider. I can and will never be able to say this enough nor with adequate emphasis: THANK YOU for your patience and understanding through the better part of 2014. We are taking steps to assure we are never stuck in a situation of compromised service adversely affecting our membership again. So, hopefully, we have, as 4-H teaches us, “learned to do by doing” from this trying circumstance and that our recent history will NOT repeat itself... EVER AGAIN!

There! That’s the negative. And it truly was, for us in your national Angus headquarters, the only notable weakness in an otherwise fantastic year. Thanks to YOU, the folks we serve, it was a great year.

A couple of thoughts that don’t quite make the Top 10 list... Let’s call them the ‘honourable mention’ of CAA Highlights:

We survived major snow, wind and hail storms with little to no damage at all to your new national CAA headquarters. Having ‘survived’ more than a year in our new location, ‘Angus Central’ has stood up well and your Angus ‘home away from home’ continues to impress those who visit.

Last year, I listed a highlight that was completed this year. The ALMA-supported Genomics project which brought over $120,000 worth of DNA technology to our membership was a huge highlight for us and, with the final investment of this project utilized by our members until March 31st of this year, a lot of value was captured as a result of ALMA’s investment. As we said at the time, many thanks to the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency for providing the financial support for the project on which we worked with our great friends at Livestock Gentec.

Finally, attendance was up at almost every event held within our CAA fraternity this year, from the most ever at the Canadian Junior Angus Association’s 2014 GOAL Conference in Calgary, AB to more cattle through the Gold Shows than ever before: an increase of 2.6% from 2013 to 1463 total head shown – an average of 98/show. We processed results from more Zoetis HD50K tests than we planned for. Finally, since January, we have set a record almost every month for the most transfers. Once 2014 has completed, we will be touting a new record for the most transferred registered cattle in Canadian Angus history.

It seems that, as Angus breeders, EVERY year brings about some record, so I’ll refrain from listing any of these within the highlights. I’ll focus on new initiatives or achievements, or those sustainable ones that experienced substantial, notable growth this year.

So now... the Top 10 CAA Highlights of 2014:

10) As a member and industry educational and networking opportunity, our initiative with Certified Angus Beef (CAB) LLP, Carcass 101, has been a goal for a number of years now. We offered the first intake last June and are satisfied and inspired by the outcome and evaluations. Accordingly, we will be offering an enhanced Carcass 101 in June, 2015 again at Olds College, as well as a modified iteration at the University of Guelph with an additional partner.  We are proud of how Carcass 101 has created additional value through our Canadian Angus Rancher Endorsed initiatives.

9) One year ago, we were preparing for the February 1st commencement of mortgage payments on your new national headquarters. We had budgeted for it and were confident that we would be able to handle these payments without challenge to our monthly cash flow. I am so proud to be able to say that, at the end of this first year of an additional $22,000+ payment each month, your CAA is not only able to manage the new expense but we did so without dipping into reserves or a single dollar from our line-of-credit. Although the cost-benefit of an office complex as a fixed asset was my first task upon starting my employment with the CAA on Canada Day, 2011, as an (agricultural) economist by education, being able to implement the projections with no shock or surprize is a definite highlight of 2014. There is that saying about the “most carefully laid plans” so typically going awry; well, for us, not THIS plan... not THIS time!

8) In early 2014 we started offering EPD-blending which gives us daily updates based on submitted data to every animal in the CAA Herd Book. We heard our members input that two or three evaluations each year were not current enough, particularly when our friends in the American Angus Association have a weekly update. Our new ‘in house’ capabilities to generate not only daily EPDs but genomically-enhanced EPDs (GE-EPDs) assure our members’ information is truly current, even ‘cutting edge’ based on TODAY’S data. We continue to enhance how we offer Member Services to and for you and are always excited to ‘make real’ your suggestions leading to greater efficiency or ease for you and your fellow CAA members.

7) I include this every year, but here it is once again... the 2014 National Convention. One notable difference this year, and a real highlight, was the amount of “Young Breeders” in attendance as well as the number of honoured guests we were able to fete. Please note the site of our 2015 National Convention: Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Calgary Airport EastDescription: Description: (6620-36 Street NE, Calgary, AB T3J 4C8 ‎- (403) 475-1111). We desperately hope to see you there!

6) Undertaking the Female Longevity and Sustainability Project, with unprecedented support from Provincial Associations and the Canadian Angus Foundation. This project comes about as a result, again, of input from the membership on the need to assure structural correctness through the creation of objective standards in hoof, leg, udder and teat phenotype and their heritable genetic predictor. Our “Research & Special Projects” intern, Matt Bates, completed the initial phase of this project and we are looking at various grant and partnership opportunities for the next, or genetic investigation, phase. We will be working on this for some time to come, but, again, we are so proud when we can take requests and feedback from the membership and work towards the creation of new member value based on your ideas.

5) The continued success of the Foundation’s “Building the Legacy” sale, which broke $120,000 in donations this year; who thought just 2.5 years ago that we’d triple the donation from the 1st to 3rd sale?! The generosity of our members continues to humble and amaze me and we owe such a debt of gratitude to all the donors of semen, embryos, experiences, good and services. Of course, we need to ‘tip our hats’ to those who donate a ‘Pick of the Heifer Calf Crop’ each year like Wilbar Cattle Co., South View Ranch and Young Dale Angus who join the esteemed ranks with past donor LLB Angus. These folks INSPIRE us and we must acknowledge their contribution to the future of our breed.

4) In September, 2013, Corinne Gibson, President Elect (at that time) of our Board of Directors demanded that we do better with turnaround time on member work submitted by mail, fax, e-mail and drop-ins. It had become cultural for your CAA to have periods of backlog in July, August, September and October that moved into the 20-30 day range, or 4-6 weeks behind when the work first arrived. At Corinne’s urging, I pledged a turnaround time to the Board of Directors that was vastly less than we’d ever achieved historically and, in fact, less than our standard ‘10 working days’, or two weeks, for most of the year. We only failed to meet my stated objective for the month of March due to a change in staff and still we were at 7 days when our standard pledge has always been at 10 days with the exception of July to October. Save for our delays and challenges due to genetic testing, I am so very proud of the reduced turnaround time that our Member Service Team has provided with top shelf service. In November, when we surveyed you for Customer Satisfaction, you rated an 87.3% Satisfied  result and I am very proud of this level. Knowing that just shy of 10% indicated our customer service must be better, we will spend the next year working to better serve that 10% as well as trying to increase the number of ‘Highly Satisfied’ members.

As a secondary highlight, 69.1% of the CAA membership supports the new Parentage Verification policy becoming effective for sires from which purebred calves will be registered and who are born on or after January 1st, 2016. It is always good when democracy works which it does when ‘the people’ speak. You spoke and your preference has been shared with the Board of Directors for their current and future reference and information.

3) In February, we debuted our CAA Communications Strategy, including a new member communication platform. In the Member Renewal / Winter/Spring Calving Inventory packages mailed to every member of the CAA last January, we asked each member what your communication preferences are. We have been tabulating these results throughout the year and updating every member file with this important… and required… information. We dubbed 2014 our “Year of Member Communications”, and the year culminated in the launch of AC-TV earlier this month, which has been viewed over 600 times in its first two weeks of broadcast. We fully realize that a complete transition to electronic communications does not satisfy the needs of a number of our members (about 250) and that is why we have your preferences determined; so we can reach you in one of your Top 3 preferences for being communicating with. Please make no mistake… the electronic interface for sharing information and even creating engagement and feedback, is only going to become more profound in its influence on how we do what we do. But it is our mandate that EVERYONE receive our information and this will remain until our generational shift is complete. Or YEARS yet!!!

While such ‘highlights’ of ‘best’ lists are typically of accomplishments you might expect the CAA to have played an active role in, #2 on the list is one we have no role whatsoever in making happen, but a highlight that we are positively delighted in observing, reacting to and joining in with your celebration as members of the global cattle and beef value chain. For # 2 is…

2) The escalation of prices for all classes of beef cattle, from feeder calves to bred females, across both commercial and purebred sectors. We are in a period of record prices with more revenue than a Canadian cattleman has ever sold their fats, calves, culls, bred cows and heifers and bulls for… EVER!!! We couldn’t be happier to see the smiles and positivity emanating from you and the rest of our CAA membership. I guess there is merit to believing that we see “all good things to those who wait”! Producers have been waiting a long time to get rewarded for their hard work and top quality cattle… and that reward is most certainly here now, and, based on the analysis of my fellow agricultural economists, are expected to remain for some time to come… like, YEARS!

And, in this period of unprecedented prosperity for Canada’s cattle operations, this does lead directly to the highlight of 2014 for the Canadian Angus Association. The #1 Highlight of 2014 is...

1)      Creation of the next 5-year CAA Business Plan, entitled “Enhanced Member Services: Building Our Future… Yes We Can!”. While details about this plan are included elsewhere in this e-news, I am so proud of our CAA Board of Directors for their foresight, strength and generative thinking leading to this new ‘roadmap’ for our business operations for the years 2015-2019. There is much to come and much more we look to you and your fellow members to provide input toward and regarding. This Business Plan relies heavily on cooperation and collaboration with the membership so please get involved when you see the opportunity to do so.

So those are our highlights for 2014. What do we most look forward to in 2015? Well, here is a start to the list…

a)      Your CAA enacting the Board’s Ownership Linkage / CAA generational consultation plan for 2015 per the new Business Plan;

b)      Re-launching our website in the first part of 2015 and are excited to have it better reflect the needs of our membership;

c)       World Angus Secretariat in Durango, Chihuahua and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico next October;

d)      Continued strength and excitement in our cattle business with prices that allow cattlemen to not only realize profit but consider expansion or creative means of succession.

Do you agree of disagree with anything on our list of highlights? We always welcome your thoughts, opinions, input and requests. This is, after all, YOUR Association and, as President Corinne Gibson says every time I hear her speak to her fellow members, “We not only want to hear from you, we NEED to hear from you.”

Please accept my personal best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year in 2015. May your calving be uneventful, your sales be richer than you imagine, your moisture and heat as plentiful as you want, and your health be perfect. I think its going to be a great one, so let’s go forth and grow Canadian Angus!!!



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