Manitoba cow-calf producer to head CCA

A cow-calf producer and former head of the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association has been named as the new head of the national cattle producers’ organization.

Martin Unrau of MacGregor, Man. was acclaimed as president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association during the organization’s annual meeting last week in Ottawa.

Dave Solverson of Camrose, Alta., a vice-chairman with Alberta Beef Producers, was acclaimed to replace Unrau as CCA vice-president.

Unrau, who also backgrounds some calves and grows grain crops, replaces Travis Toews of Beaverlodge, Alta., who remains on the CCA board as past-president.

"The Canadian cattle industry is in a really good situation right now; however, I am concerned about infrastructure dropping off because herd numbers are down. It’s one of those underlying issues that are always there when numbers are down," Unrau said in a release Friday.

"I’m concerned that we might lose some slaughter and processing capacity, along with feeding capacity, in Canada and in the U.S. That’s a huge concern down the road, so we’ll have to look at that and deal with that."

Producers can expect a continued focus on market access and the rebuilding of the Canadian cow herd in order for Canada to become a solid player on a global scale, Unrau said.

Maintaining the cohesion that CCA past presidents have built up between the sectors of the industry, particularly feeders and processors, is another key piece, he said.

Unrau, who headed the MCPA from 2007 to 2009, has previously served as a chair of the CCA’s foreign trade committee, co-chair of the animal health committee, and member of the domestic agriculture and policy regulation committee.

The CCA on Friday also announced new directors named by its provincial affiliates, including Cathy Sharp and Pat Rutledge (Alberta); Brent Griffin and Kevin Woods (Saskatchewan); Heinz Reimer (Manitoba); Tom Wilson and Matt Bowman (Ontario); and George Smith (Nova Scotia), plus Byron Templeton representing the Canadian Beef Breeds Council.

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