Fewer Saskatchewan cattle producers asked for check-off refunds this past year: seven fewer, to be precise.
Information presented at Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association district meetings last week showed that 177 producers wanted their $2 per head levy back, compared to 184 in 2012-13.
Producers actually pay $3 per head. The $2 provincial checkoff is refundable but the $1 national checkoff is not.
The SCA administers the provincial money, allocating it to projects and promotional activities for the industry.
The checkoff raised $3.9 million this past year compared to almost $3.5 million the previous year.
Refunds totalled $88,599 on 42,190 head, while last year the total was $92,125 on 43,870 head.
Only two elections were scheduled in SCA districts this fall after two incumbents were re-elected by acclamation and another spot was filled with one nomination.
In District 2, Philip Lynn defeated incumbent Ken Demyen at a vote in Regina.
In Swift Current, incumbent Larry Grant stays on in District 3B after a challenge from Will Lowe.
Returning for two-year terms are Levi Hull in District 5 and current chair Paula Larson in District 7. In 9A, Arnold Balicki takes over from Ryan Sommerfeld.
The new terms begin at the SCA annual general meeting, scheduled for Jan. 22 in Regina.
McDonald’s restaurants plan to begin using at least some sustainable beef by 2016, and producers must be part of the discussion on exactly what that is, said Tracy Herbert of the Beef Cattle Research Council.
She told producers at the SCA District 2 meeting that the multi-stakeholder Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is working to establish the definition.
“If industry doesn’t work with them to define what sustainable beef is, they will tell us,” she said.
Bill Jameson asked how retailers can already be demanding sustainable beef if no one knows what it is. Herbert said producers can share their thoughts with the roundtable members, which include retailers, restaurants, producers and organizations.
“We are represented (at the roundtable) so our concerns are going to be heard there,” added SCA past-chair Mark Elford.