As the winter comes to an end, farmers have been able to better assess the implications that last year’s drought had on their farm. A few reports have come forward regarding hay shortages. Nova Scotia Cattle Producers and Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture will be co-leading two sessions for farmers of any commodity to attend so we have a better idea of the scope of the issue.
To ensure that the file can be moved on as quickly as possible if necessary, two sessions will take place starting at 7p.m.:
- Tuesday May 16 – Paddy’s Pub, Kentville
- Wednesday May 17 – NSFA Boardroom, Bible Hill
If you are unable to attend either of these sessions but would like to provide input, please fill out the form linked here.
On April 10, 2017 the NSCP received a fax petition with the signatures of 34 producers to request a special meeting. The heading of the petition reads as follows:
“On behalf of the Members of the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers signed below. Due to the incomplete and unprofessional manner in which the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers Annual Meeting was held. We are requesting under section 1(b) a special meeting be held.”
As requested by the petition, there will be a NSCP Special Meeting held on Wednesday May 10, 2017 at the Onslow-Belmont Fire Hall in Lower Onslow (near Green Diamond) starting at 7:00 pm.
Registration starts at 6:30 pm and closes at 7:15 pm
Over the past 12 months, the New Brunswick Cattle Producers (NBCP), Nova Scotia Cattle Producers (NSCP) and Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers (PEICP) have worked closely with regional partners at the Maritime Beef Council (MBC) to develop a beef sector growth and development strategy that will see an additional 20,000-head of beef cattle in the Maritimes by 2027.
MBC Chairman Nathan Phinney says the strategy was constructed to take advantage of new regional opportunities.
“We know that Atlantic Beef Products is predicating strong growth over the next several years, and will require an additional 10,000-head per year,” Phinney says. “Similarly, the Ontario Corn Fed Beef Program continues to expand, creating market demand for Maritime cattle. The strategy was designed to give the Maritimes the best possible chance of filling this market demand.”
The Maritimes enjoys a strategic competitive advantage over many other regions of Canada for cow-calf producers, says Cedric MacLeod, Strategic Opportunities Coordinator at NBCP.
“When you combine relatively inexpensive cropland and significant unused land in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia capable of producing large quantities of high quality grass with the abundant rainfall we enjoy in the region, the result is an advantage we want to maximize,” MacLeod says.
The strategy addresses a number of key issues the beef industry will face over the next 10 years, including price insurance, cost of production control, value added market access and business continuance planning between farm generations.
“The Canadian beef industry faced significant market volatility over the past 10+ years, and the evolving marketplace requires our producers to invest in new production models to control costs and new brand assurance programs to maintain market share,” MacLeod states.
The Maritime beef growth strategy was designed to address current and emerging issues, while keeping the bottom line top of mind. Maritime Beef Council General Manager Ellen Crane says profitability underpins the entire strategy.
“We know that when cattle operations are profitable, producers are investing in farm growth opportunities and environmental sustainability,” Crane states. “Achieving a healthy triple bottom line is the ultimate goal. Healthy rural communities, environmentally sustainable production and profitable farms will support the next generation of beef farm operators in the Maritimes and set them up for success to move farming assets to future generations of farmers.”
The MBC recognizes the opportunity the region has to make the most of strong support within the federal government, and backing from the Atlantic region in the last federal election is not lost on Ottawa, says Phinney. A delegation from the MBC presented the Maritime Beef Growth Strategy to MPs in Ottawa in early March, to great acclaim.
“We worked hard to ensure that the strategy supported the goals outlined in the Atlantic Growth Strategy developed by the Atlantic Liberal Caucus,” Larry Weatherby, Chair of the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers says. “Our MPs recognized this effort and expressed excitement in the growth opportunity for the region.”
Discussions with provincial and federal leaders and departments of agriculture will continue throughout the spring and fall of 2017 in preparation for the launch of the Next Policy Framework in April 2018.
“This is an exciting time for the Maritime Beef Sector,” Brian Morrison, Chair of the Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers says. “We look forward to supporting all members of the regional beef value chain to seek growth and development opportunities.”
The Maritime Beef Council is an industry partnership of the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers as well as provincial, regional and national stakeholders who collaborate on industry challenges and opportunities related to programming, regulations and research.
Brad McCallum, N.S. Cattle Producers: 902-893-7455
Maritime Beef Council
Ellen Crane, Manager, MBC: 902-969-1632
CRS Fact Sheet sponsored by Merck Animal Health
As cow-calf margins tighten, producers are looking for ways to cut costs to support margins. It is time to scrutinize every cost. The first place typically looked at is around winter feed, which accounts for over 50 per cent of the total cost of keeping a cow. All cost cutting measures needs to be examined to light of the impact on herd health, productivity and ultimately per unit cost of production. Any action that reduces reproductive efficiency can end up costing more than it saves.
Each year, a producer is faced with the decision of whether or not to preg-check; this decision can have a significant impact on the producer’s bottom line. There are many factors that must be considered in the decision to preg-check including economics and herd fertility.
The Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey (WCCCS) reported the conception rate for all females was 92.8 per cent in 2013 down from 95.6 per cent in the 1997/98 Alberta survey. There are more open cows now than 15 years ago. In general, cull cows make up between 15-30 per cent of cow/calf producer income. The management of cull cows is not an insignificant portion of the operation. Please view the full article by visiting the CanFax Website.
In preparation for negotiations with the federal government concerning the Next Agricultural Policy Framework the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture is extending an invitation to members of the agriculture and agri – food industries to provide feedback and input on ‘Next Agricultural Policy Framework’. We are committed to ensuring that stakeholders from all parts of the agriculture and agri-food value chain are provided an opportunity to share their perspectives on the policies and programming that enable our sector’s success, as well as the emerging challenges that the sector may face.
There are two opportunities to provide input and feedback:
• Complete the NSDA Online Survey
• Register for one of the Engagement Sessions
The sessions will take place at the following locations on the following dates:
• Cape Breton Region: Tuesday April 4th, 2017, Inverary Inn, Baddeck
• Valley Region: Tuesday April 11th, 2017, Old Orchard Inn, Wolfville
• Western Region: Wednesday April 12th, 2017, Annapolis Conference Centre, Cornwallis
• Central Region: Wednesday April 19th, 2017, Best Western Glengarry, Truro
If you are interested in attending one of the sessions, please reserve your spot as soon as possible as space is limited and they are on a first come, first served basis. Please RSVP via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at 1-866-844-4276.
At the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers on March 18, 2017 Brian Trueman was elected to the Board as a Director-at-Large, he will be joined by Leon Smith who was elected from Zone 3 and Wayne MacKay will remain the rep from Zone 6.
The Executive has one change Larry Weatherby (Chair) and Curtis Moxsom (Vice Chair) will return and will be joined by new CCA Rep Victor Oulton. A complete list of the 2017-18 Board is as follows:
Zone 1 (2018) – Danford Murphy
Zone 2 (2019) – Alicia King
Zone 3 (2020) – Leon Smith
Zone 4 and Chair (2018) – Larry Weatherby
Zone 5 (2019) – Dean Manning
Zone 6 (2020) – Wayne MacKay
At Large and Vice Chair (2018) – Curtis Moxsom
At Large and CCA Rep (2019) – Victor Oulton
At Large (2020) – Brian Trueman
Past Chair – Terry Prescott
DFNS Rep – David Bekkers
NPMC Rep – Ian Blenkharn
Rocky Knoll Farm Limited is a multi-generation farm, owned and operated by the Withrow Family, in Center Rawdon, Hants County.
In the mid-to-late 60’s the farm switched from a vegetable, dairy and swine operation to a beef and vegetable farm, raising mostly purebred Herefords and Black Angus, as well as vegetables for their farm market business. As industry demands changed, so did the operation. A few exotic breeds were introduced to the herd, predominately Charolais and Simmental. Their crossbred calves were mostly born in the winter months and marketed through the Maritime Cattle Market in the fall. As the herd grew in size, there was a need to expand the barn capacity and introduce a second calving period. At that time an additional barn was built to house about 70 of the cows that would calve in the fall.
And then 2003 struck and the industry was faced with the BSE crisis. Rocky Knoll Farm Limited, along with the rest of the industry, struggled to determine their future but decided to pursue their next logical step. They had been running a farm market business as well as farming; they had a location, a customer base, and beef to sell so it made sense to expand that part of the business. In June of 2005, a meat shop was opened, enabling the Withrows to sell their beef directly to the consumer.
Soon after, they realized that they needed a constant supply of finished beef, and introduced a third calving period. Today they calve out approximately 1/3 of their herd in the spring, 1/3 in the fall and 1/3 in the winter. The largest percentage of the calves born on the farm are finished onsite and marketed through the meat shop, some are sold through Atlantic Stockyards, in Truro. To enable a more marketable product, they have re-introduced Black Angus into their breeding program, along with Limousin. Most of their herd sires are purchased through the Nappan Bull Sale and other local producers. To compliment the business activity at the meat shop, and meet another industry need, they also offer custom butchering to local farmers as well.
Through diversification and new initiatives Rocky Knoll Farm Limited has been able to continue farming. This has allowed their four operating partners to work full time for our business, provide local employment, as well as contribute to other agricultural initiatives.