… Having a national beef strategy has paid dividends and that’s why the sector has revised and updated it, say beef leaders…



Having a national strategy is working, say beef leaders

Sustainable beef effort, more funding, and greater industry co-operation cited as examples of progress


By Alexis Kienlen, Reporter, Alberta Farmer Express

November 5, 2019


Having a national beef strategy has paid dividends and that’s why the sector has revised and updated it, say beef leaders.


“This is an ongoing plan for the industry,” said Anne Wasko, chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, one of seven groups behind the strategy. “The vision of the national beef strategy is a dynamic, profitable cattle and beef industry in Canada. Everything is built around that.”


The new five-year plan, which runs to 2024, is based on the same four “pillars” outlined in the 2015-19 version: beef demand, competitiveness, productivity and connectivity. All of the pillars are of equal importance, said Wasko.


“This is big-picture stuff,” she said. “You have to set those goals to get to those places we want to reach. We have to be realistic and have metrics there to make sure we’re heading down the right path.”


Those include some very specific targets.


“One of those is to try to increase the conception rate by two per cent,” Ryan Beierbach — a Saskatchewan rancher and chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council — says in a video on the renewed strategy.


“So on an operation like mine, if I could sell a couple more calves for $1,400 apiece, that goes straight to the bottom line.”


Having a clear set of goals and ways to measure progress has brought industry players together, said Michael Latimer, executive director for the Canadian Beef Breeds Council.


“In the last decade, there’s been a conscious effort from all the national groups and even the provincial organizations to work together in a collaborative way,” he said. “We know we need to work together. We know we need to make improvements, and we can do that through this. This still gives everybody the ability to do what they need to do.”


That also helps the industry when talking to government, said Wasko.


“The belief is that we can be stronger as an industry if we’re all speaking with one voice,” she said.


Some of the goals...