Word at the coffee shop is that Jeff Kucharski is gone as CEO of the Alberta Livestock and
Meat Agency (ALMA). I haven’t seen that announced officially yet, but I figured
it was a good rumor to spread if nothing else.
Kucharski who has been with Alberta Agriculture for
more than 20 years and worked mainly in the international trade area, has only
been at the helm of ALMA for the past few months. I don’t know if his departure
means there was trouble in paradise, or there could be any number of other
reasons from better job opportunities to personal reasons.
I don’t have my hand on the pulse of the beef
industry, but I know there were a few letters and phone conversations with
producers in my office, who, shall we say did not have Kucharski on their
Christmas card list.
ALMA is an agency created last year to help relaunch
or renew Alberta’s livestock industry
– not just beef, but pork, poultry, sheep, bison, elk and other meat
sectors. While the agency mandate was geared to improve production standards
and ultimately marketing of Alberta meat products, the agency had a broader
impact because essentially if you were from another province but had livestock
fed or processed in Alberta, you needed to meet ALMA standards.
Kucharski’s departure likely doesn’t affect ALMA’s
operation. In fact the government agency was converted to a private company
just a couple weeks ago. It is now Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd. The
board of directors reports directly to the minister of agriculture.
Joe Makowecki, president of the Edmonton-area Heritage
Frozen Foods (Cheemo Brand products) is chairman of the board.
For more information on ALMA and to read the February
newsletter visit the agency website at: http://alma.alberta.ca