A brand new national event built for everyone involved in beef
Learning, fun and moving the beef industry forward. These are three key elements of the inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Conference, slated for Aug 9 – 11 in Calgary at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino.
The conference is a brand new, first-of-its-kind event for Canada designed to create a national meeting place for everyone involved in beef production, from the grass roots level through all parts of the supply chain. It will help support the new National Beef Strategy. It will also support a new level of grass roots interaction and relationship building to drive progress based on shared interests.
Among a diverse range of topics and speakers, the conference features very practical, educational sessions for producers. A leading example is a session called “Bov-innovation,” which covers topics such as making informed decisions on pre-weaning management, how to improve forage production, how to strengthen internal parasite control programs and how to take advantage of genomic selection tools.
“When I first heard about the idea for this conference and had the opportunity to get involved, I couldn’t have been more excited,” says Virgil Lowe, an Associate with Dentons Canada LLP and co-chair of the event. “This is something our industry has needed. It’s something we’ve been working toward for a long time. It’s about bringing together the many faces of our industry, from all sectors, and from across the country, to interact with each other and share ideas around our common interests. It will help us implement the National Beef Strategy and provide a platform to drive fresh energy and progress for our industry for many years to come.”
Teamwork and sharing
The concept for the conference emerged around the discussions for the National Beef Strategy, says Rob Smith, Canadian Angus Association Chief Executive Officer and the other co-chair of the conference.
“We realized that one of the things we need on an annual basis is a holistic conference that brings together all the links in our value chain. This is needed to communicate and promote the strategy but also in a much broader sense it is important to support the interaction across different sectors and parts of the country.”
The plan for a summer event in Calgary allows for inclusion around summer vacation and travel plans, says Smith. “It should be a fun and valuable time that people will find energizing and enjoyable.”
It’s not meant to be a typical industry business meeting, says Lowe. “It’s more of a coming together with something for everyone, as much about the social and interaction aspects as it is about the sessions. Everyone involved in every shape and form of beef production is encouraged to attend, from the ranchers to the retailers. It’s a real celebration of the diversity of our industry and how we can use our common interests as a strength to drive the opportunities ahead.”
Teamwork drives success
The conference is a joint collaboration of four organizations partnering in the event, the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).
The main conference agenda features top speakers on important issues and hot topics for the industry. Opening day keynote speaker is entrepreneur, consultant and former Dragon’s Den star Arlene Dickinson. The agenda will also include keynote speakers on each of the National Beef Strategy’s four pillars: connectivity, productivity, beef demand and competitiveness, along with educational presentations and interactive workshops on new developments, market and brand opportunities and production innovations.
Related events include meetings of the partners, their provincial affiliates, and various other beef industry groups, and the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders 2016 graduation and 2017 selections.
“The sessions, speakers and topics are all excellent – there is something for everyone depending on their interests,” says Smith. “There is a lot of opportunity for visiting, networking and enjoying different social events around the main sessions.”
Early bird registration rates are available until June 15 and hotel accommodations at a special conference rate are available until sold out. Full registration includes all public sessions, the opening night (Tuesday) reception and the Wednesday night banquet and entertainment, featuring the band Ain’t No Rodeo.
Extra tickets are available for purchase for both of these evening events. Additional options available by separate ticket purchase include a pre-conference Monday tour hosted by Alberta Beef Producers, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Foundation Classic Golf Tournament on Tuesday, and a Thursday evening Heritage Park supper.
“There is so much to do and choose from,” says Smith. “It’s something you can bring the family for and enjoy a great week in Calgary.”
Speaking with a united voice
The potential benefits of the conference are huge for the industry, says Lowe. “They are really immeasurable. There is nothing that one part of the industry does that doesn’t affect the other parts and on 99 percent of the issues the interests are the same. Bringing everyone together allows us to build our common messages and common direction around those interests. The more people that are involved, the stronger our voice and the more our messages will be heard.”
“This is important for us so we’re not just preaching to the choir but also developing shared approaches to talk about what we’re doing to the people outside our industry, to communicate our experiences and value so we build the understanding and goodwill needed to keep doing what we love. This has never been more important to do than it is today. The conference provides an outstanding platform to help us develop ways to do that around a strong united vision for the future.”
Industry pride. Industry progress. The heart of Canadian beef. All will be on display with the concept of bringing everyone together, says Smith.
“The Canadian beef industry is among the most dynamic and diverse of its kind in the world. This poses challenges. But it’s also a major strength. Everyone from industry leaders to individual producers has an important role to play, to strengthen our industry and drive it forward. That’s what this conference is all about. We are looking forward to an outstanding event”
Sponsors and volunteers stepping up
In the cooperative spirit of the industry a number of major sponsors have stepped up to the plate to help make it happen, says Lowe. “We are extremely grateful to each of our sponsors, as well as to the large group of volunteers involved. They make this type of event possible and are critical to our ability to deliver this scope and caliber of conference to the participants.”
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