— The cattle industry lost a leader of leaders this week when former Canadian Cattlemen’s President Neil Jahnke passed away. Jahnke lead the industry through the first two years of the BSE crisis, one of the darkest times for the Canadian cattle industry. The rancher from Gouldtown, Saskatchewan served as president of the CCA from 2002 to 2004 and Vice President from 2000 – 2002. He was the voice of the industry when the first domestic case of BSE surfaced on an Alberta ranch, calling on consumers to continue to support the industry. Jahnke’s work with the cattle industry also included terms as chairman of the Canadian Beef Export Federation (1993-96), president of the Saskatchewan Livestock Association (1992) and chairman of the Beef Information Centre (1990-93). He was elected to the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2005. Jahnke was also induction into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2001 and an honorary life membership in the Agricultural Institute of Canada in 1994. Jahnke was 70 years old.
— There’s a new tool on the road to support the care of livestock in Alberta. Alberta Farm Animal Care unveiled a fleet of “ER trailers” along with a training program to support the people handling the trailer and equipment in Ponoka on Friday. The trailers will have the supplies to help corral and care for the animals in times of emergencies such as an accident in traffic or a barn collapse. The trailers will be housed at several locations across the province. These include the MD of Willowcreek – Claresholm;Cypress County – Medicine Hat; Westlock County – Westlock; Vermilion River County – Vermilion; and the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which will deploy an Alberta-wide roaming unit. The training course will be delivered by Lakeland College, as a new “Livestock Handling Equipment Trailer Training Course” at the college’s Emergency Training Centre at Vermilion, Alta. A sub-committee of Alberta Equestrian Federation, the Alberta Beef Producers, Livestock Identification Services, RCMP, AFAC, and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development created the project plan. Rural Roots Canada sat down with Greg Bowie a livestock consultant, who was directly involved in the project, from the Ponoka area to talk about it. Check back for an inside look at the trailers, the training and the project as a whole.
— Livestock producers from across the Wildrose province are in Calgary this week for the Alberta Beef Producers annual general meeting. Speakers at the three-day event, which kicks off on Monday, include Cargill, JBS, AdFarm, Canada Beef Inc. and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. Nominations open for Zone directors and Zone Cow/Calf Council on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m., with their elections happening at 11:15. Nominations for Cow Calf Council Members at Large and Cattle Feeder Council Delegates at Large happen 2:45 p.m. on Monday. Cattle Feeder Council Delegates at large will be elected at 4:15 p.m. that day. Election of Directors at Large will begin at 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday, with their nomination closing at 10:00 a.m. A final call for Nominations for Canadian Cattlemen’s Association will close at 1:00 p.m on Tuesday with their election happening at 2:30 p.m.
— The heat is on at the Perennia Innvoation Centre in Nova Scotia where they are piloting a new heating system, which involves burning grass pellets. It is hoped the project will show how the renewable energy source can used. If successful it could grow the local market for grass pellets. The province’s Agricultural Department is investing more than $787,000 into the pilot project. The province estimates it has 40,000 hectares of pasture, which could be utilized to produce 360,000 tonnes of grass pellets annually. Resulting in about $36 million every year for the ag industry.