New Cattle Handling Program Announced

From the Chronicle Herald

Government funding for the beef industry indicates that elected representatives are paying attention to farmers, the chairman of the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers said Saturday.

“We’ve been trying to get this for a long time,” Larry Weatherby said of the Safe Handling of Cattle Program announced at the Maritime Beef Testing Station in Nappan.

Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell and Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong announced a combined federal and provincial government contribution of $89,100, split 60-40. Farmers are contributing more than $130,000 to the program, said Weatherby, who farms at Harmony, near Truro.

The program will help beef farmers purchase equipment that will improve animal health and farm safety, as well as increase income for cattle producers.

The equipment will include head gates, cattle squeezes and crowding tubs, which help move and transport cattle and or hold them in place for various procedures.

Using the proper equipment is less stressful on the animals and human handlers, which makes it safer for both, Weatherby said. Workers who are unaccustomed to handling large animals translate their fear to the cattle, he said. Early and stress-free contact with humans makes the animals easier to handle as they mature.

The new fund will also help farmers afford equipment to prepare animals for the available market, which will add $30 to $40 to each animal’s selling price, Weatherby said.

Producers may receive 40 per cent of the cost of such equipment, up to $1,000 per application.

“This is the program we’ve asked for,” Weatherby said. “They are starting to listen.”

He hopes the program continues so farmers can gradually increase their production.

“It’s a start.”