Cattle producers move to set up charitable foundation

Members of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) have given the green light for the formation of an arm’s-length charitable foundation.

“It’s a means for people to put money towards the industry. It provides a tool for people who want to put something back into the industry to be able to do it with a tax credit,” said CCA director Bob Lowe, who ranches near Nanton, Alta.

The CCA, whose members voted approval at their semi-annual meeting last month in Calgary, has set up objectives for the foundation, which have been submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency for approval — a crucial step to obtain charitable status.

The foundation’s objectives are to support stewardship practices and conservation actions that conserve the environment, biodiversity and wildlife habitat on working agricultural landscapes; to support education, leadership development, and outreach programs to serve youth involved with beef cattle and grass-range management; and, lastly, to support cattle care research and awareness.

Once approved, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Foundation will form a committee of cattle producers, and representation from the outside community and from within corporate Canada to review requests and submissions for funding.

The foundation is prohibited from funding lobbying efforts or actual beef production, and must be geared toward the wider public good.

“It’s open to a lot of possibilities. It allows people to give back to the industry they grew up in if they want to, and it also gives the industry a form of funding to do research,” said Lowe.

Encouraging and supporting youth is a strong part of the foundation’s mandate, and a goal which resonates personally with Lowe.

“Scholarships and things like that, that will benefit the industry in a time when mostly due to lack of cattle numbers, we’re running out of money,” he said. “Cattle organizations all over are running out of money because cattle numbers are dropping.”

The foundation is expected to support youth interested in pursuing a future in agriculture with scholarships, sponsorships and grants.

— Sheri Monk is a reporter for Alberta Farmer Express. The original version of this article appeared in the Manitoba Co-operator, Sept. 8, 2011, page 13.

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