Monday, June 25, 2018

2018 Canadian Angus National Convention - Recap

Thursday, June 7th marked the kick-off for the 2018 Canadian Angus National Convention. Canadian Angus CEO Rob Smith lead his team to British Columbia to a warm welcome from the BC Angus Association. The anticipated coastal rain did not put a damper on the 4-day event that is only hosted in BC once every eight years.
Thursday morning, while not an open event to the public, proves to be one of the most productive and intensive days of the convention. The day known as “CanProv” is where all regional associations come together with the Canadian Angus staff and address common concerns and topics of interest. Hours are spent with the provinces asking questions and comparing ideas and platforms to benefit each provincial group. There was also a tour of a local BC salmon farm, where attendees enjoyed being out on the ocean and received an educational tour about BC’s salmon industry. The day then ended with a visit to Shelter Point Distillery for the President’s Reception, where the Angus community officially acknowledges the President’s year of service. 

Friday is the official beginning of the convention where the public is invited to participate in information and education sessions. This year, the theme for convention was “The Future: Red, Black and Green”, focussing on sustainable and environmentally conscious cattle ranching. The morning and afternoon sessions alternated in order for delegates to attend both sessions during the day. One session was lead by BC Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program coordinator, Annette Moore and focused on the program outline and the benefits of the VBP+ program. This session would have been a great first step for people wanting to become aware of VBP+ or who want to become VBP+ verified. This session proved to be beneficial not only for attendants, but also for the program as the day’s sessions ended with a few new program registrants!

Parallel to the VBP+ session ran a “Sustainable Agriculture Panel” which was chaired by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s Community Engagement Manager, Andrea White. The CRSB’s objective is to promote sustainability across the Canadian beef industry through three pillars of focus: environmental, social and economic performance. Andrea was joined by Jeff Fitzpatrick-Stilwell, Senior Manager, North America Engagement, Strategy and Innovation Global Sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation; Hubert Lau, Co-President of BIXS Inc. and ViewTrak Technologies Inc.; Gurneesh Bhandal, Sustainability Manager of Cargill Protein; and Stephen Hughes, Canadian Angus producer, Chinook Ranch; to discuss the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration (CBSA) Pilot. The goal with this pilot is to help make Canada the first country to deliver beef from certified sustainable sources, establishing Canadian beef as synonymous with sustainability in the global market. While it was incredibly interesting to hear from corporate partners why sustainable beef production is so important, it was all tied together by a Canadian Angus producer who also sat on the discussion panel to talk about the benefits from a grassroots level.

The afternoon’s conversation also featured guest keynote speaker Bruce Vincent. Bruce is from the logging industry out of Libby, Montana and spoke to Angus ranchers about the importance of social licence. He gave a very motivating speech on the importance of advocating for ourselves as stewards of the land and activists for the environment and animal welfare. He touched on struggles that he experienced during the “Timber Wars” in the US and things that he would encourage people to think about moving forward. Bruce Vincent proved to be a highlight of the convention for many people, as they sent him on his way with a standing ovation.

The afternoon included a tour of Manatee Holdings at Geoduck Clam Fishery, Deep Bay Marine Field Station and a quick stop at the Wayward Distillery House. Another favourite event that we like to call the “Hoedown on the Pacific” concluded the evening with a “surf and turf” BBQ and dance at Heart of the Valley Farms. 

Saturday was the Canadian Angus Association’s annual general meeting, which is facilitated by the President and CEO. In addition to a typical AGM, the day included a “Question and Answer Forum” discussion with the president and CEO; a presentation about the CAA’s newly launched strategic plan; a commemorative presentation celebrating 50 years of Red Angus registrations in the Canadian Angus herdbook which featured a walk down memory lane with long-time breeder and CAA President Brett Wildman who talked about the Canadian history of Red Angus and why it is so important to his own family history; as well as the speech component of the Robert C. McHaffie Junior Ambassador competition. 

Once all of the “business” was concluded, the day ended with a banquet dinner and a number of awards presentations. The BC Angus Association began the awards ceremony with a presentation to retired BCAA Secretary and Treasurer Jill Savage with a service award for over a decade of commitment to Angus in BC, as well as the Honourary President award with her husband Lance. Canadian Junior Angus gave their “Junior Ambassador” award to Kamloops, BC’s Matthew McGillivray, as well as the Outstanding Young Angus Breeder of the Year award to Karl and Kristine Sauter from Wawota, SK. The Canadian Angus Association also presented Doug Haughton from Kamloops, BC area with his 50 year long-term recognition award for 50 continuous years of membership! Following the awards, the 7th annual “Building the Legacy” fundraiser auction was held, with all proceeds going towards the Canadian Angus Foundation.

Sunday June 10th wrapped up the National Convention with a morning full of sessions including an EPD discussion as led by Kajal Devani, Canadian Angus Member Service Team Leader, and a DNA workshop, as presented by Yee Ying Lock, from Delta Genetics. The afternoon included a sightseeing tour to Little Qualicum Falls, Cathedral Grove (an old growth forest), Morningstar Farm (home of Mooberry Wines and Little Qualicum Cheeseworks), and the Ship and Shore restaurant in Bower, BC, for a delicious supper event.

The BC Angus Association would like to give a sincere thank you to each and every person who attended convention, worked behind the scenes to plan and host events, and to every sponsor who believed in this event enough to give support. 

We look forward to welcoming the national Angus community back to BC in the future!

By Carley Henniger 

Junior Angus Ambassadorship 2017/18

A little over a year ago I completed a last minute application for the Junior Angus Ambassadorship position with doubts of receiving the position and honestly little knowledge about the opportunities that come along with it. A positively ridiculous thought now as my year term has closed and I am flipping through the pictures of my travels.

I have had the honour of having this position take me literally around the world to three countries and from coast to coast of this great country. In no way has it simply been about the destinations. I have met an incredible collection of diverse and magnificent people who all have the one common interest. An interest in the advancement of agriculture whether that be a passion for raising livestock, for advancing technology, for strengthening the breed, or empowering the youth. And the most spectacular part of it all is that I have found the same welcoming community atmosphere at every place I have traveled with the Ambassadorship.

I can’t begin to explain all the things I have learned or gained from this past year but I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t have been the same person now if I hadn’t sent that application in.

I truly hope that I have done my part thus far promoting the Angus breed and doing a just job of representing the youth in the breed and in the industry well. The youth initiatives and support in agriculture and more specifically within the Canadian Angus Association is something to marvel at. It is because of this strong community culture around educating youth through life experiences, mentorships, and practical applications that the youth today are one hell of a group. This statement holds true not only for Canada but for the other countries I have traveled to.

I cannot thank the Canadian Angus Foundation, it’s supporters, the entire Canadian Angus membership, and all the influential people on my travels enough because without you none of this would have been possible. A special thanks to Belinda for being my unofficial mentor throughout the year and another thanks to my family for their encouragement, support, and advice. You guys went from running me to rinks to running me to airports and without your guidance I wouldn’t have sent that application in.

It’s difficult to believe my term is up, however I am incredibly excited for the next Ambassadors to create their own adventures. And to those I have met along the way, take care till we meet again, the world is really a small place.

Macy Liebreich