Alberta beef plans vote on checkoff changes

Resolutions supporting a vote on reformulating Alberta’s beef service charges have received producer approval.

Delegates to the Alberta Beef Producers annual meeting want a clearly worded question for a producer plebiscite on the status of the $3 per head checkoff as well as information about how money is spent and how it might be divided among provincial cattle groups.

“We are going to have a very strong information package to educate our producers and delegates about the value of this commission,” Chris Israelson of Didsbury said at the meeting held in Calgary Dec. 4-6.

Alberta retains $2 and remits $1 to the national checkoff agency.

Negotiations between ABP and the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association continue, said chair Bob Lowe.

“We have an agreement in principle with the Alberta cattle feeders. The details have to be hammered out and we hope that gets done before their AGM in February so we can go to government hand in hand and ask for a plebiscite,” he said.

While ABP can advise the Alberta Agriculture Marketing Council on the wording of the question, it will not actually write it. That duty is left to marketing council, which administers the province’s agriculture boards and commissions.

The negotiations propose a beef industry development fund in which a portion of the money collected on every animal sold is set aside for research and education. An appointed council would administer the funds.

“To me this development fund signifies the industry coming together. I believe it will be the catalyst that brings the industry together and we can quit warring with other factions for a while,” Lowe said.

In addition, regulations are being changed so Alberta can start collecting the national checkoff, which is going up to $2.50 per head from $1.

Alberta should start collecting it next April. This money goes to the national checkoff agency and is split between Canada Beef Inc. and the Beef Cattle Research Council. Some provinces retain the right to hold back some of the money for specific local programs.

Most of the provinces have moved toward changing regulations to collect the extra money. Ontario is the only one that has yet to vote on the increase.

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  • old grouchy

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm – – – every bureaucratic hand is stretched out eagerly for the influx of ‘new’ cash. Has anyone thought about where the returns for the cow-calf guys actually are?
    Has anyone remembered the heady time of the early 1970’s?
    Well – – – I do – – – and I can tell you that what the cow-calf guy gets today is less (adjusted using the inaccurately low values for inflation touted by those that want us to continue quiescent) well off by a significant margin than at that time. Pssssst – – – at that time the check-off was smaller too!
    So where is this vaunted research that will ‘help’ the sector?
    I read many promises – – – I hear great noises – – – and yet the sector largely relies on a spouse, at the very least (if not more), working in town to give a lifestyle that is close to the urban one.
    Yes there are rich ranchers – – – you bet – – – but when great-grandpa or at least grandpa set things up – – – well – – with even decent management there ‘should’ be some $ around.
    If you do think that the sector is doing so well – – – please describe to me how you will start an operation in 6 months that is self financed and self sustaining (means its also self-replicateable).

    Having a hard time convincing that supposedly friendly loans officer that you can do this – – – – well – – – welcome to a ‘new world’.


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