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In search of the perfect steak

I recently learned a good steak doesn’t just jump onto your barbecue. I was down in Granum in southern Alberta recently for the weekend and was looking for a nice steak for an evening barbecue with friends.

There are two grocery stores in nearby Fort Macleod and I am sure their meat is excellent, but I was hoping to find something right off the farm, but there is no butcher shop in Macleod.

So I asked the very helpful clerk at The Source (former Radio Shack) store if she knew of any butchers. She thought for a moment and said she knew one of her customers was in the meat business. So she directed me to Clarence Den Boon of Valley Custom Meats. I called Clarence, he doesn’t do much retail business, but yes he did have some fresh New York steak. So we travelled to his farm, which is about 10 minutes south and west of Macleod on The Blue Trail. Clarence and his wife Jenny were working in the yard, but he took a break, washed up, took us into the plant, pulled a cryovac slab of beef from the cooler, and asked me how much we wanted. He sliced off four steaks, bagged them and we were on our way. Clarence gets this particular meat from a local organic beef producer, who has high standards. He said it was very good beef.

A few hours later the steaks were on the barbecue and Clarence wasn’t wrong. I am never really sure about the “organic” influence in meat quality, but it was excellent, and well worth the effort. I can’t afford to eat New York cut, organic beef every night, but it is a nice treat on occasion. The experience reminded me of my younger years — small towns may not have all the services of “the city” but in some respects they offer way more.

Great beef website

A great website for information on beef production and economics can be found at: www.foragebeef.ca. There is all kinds of useful research and other information there for cow-calf operators, backgrounders and feeders. They have recently posted a short video from the Western Beef Development Centre on “What Makes a Low Cost Producer.” Go to the foragebeef.ca page, you’ll see a heading for “Cow Calf Information” and just below that a heading for “Marketing and Economics” and just below that a subhead for “cow-calf.” Click on the “cow-calf” heading and you’ll find the video listed there. But the whole site has a wide range of information about getting the most out of your time, money and resources. Memorize it all and you’ll be the smartest rancher in your municipality. Next time you have a quiet evening or a rainy day, check out www.foragebeef.ca

Animal care awards

Three leading champions of farm animal care in Alberta were recognized earlier this year with Awards of Distinction at the annual Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) conference.

The Award of Distinction for Industry Leadership was awarded to Dr. Gerald Ollis, who has served the livestock industry and farm animal care progress for over 40 years. His career has spanned private veterinary practice to periods as Provincial Dairy Veterinarian and then Alberta’s Chief Provincial Veterinarian — an experience that included several years working on the development of the province’s innovative Animal Health Act.

The Award of Distinction for Innovation was presented to Calgary Stampede. Over the past few years the Calgary Stampede has implemented a number of new initiatives to enhance its animal welfare approaches. “The Stampede takes the care of these animals very seriously,” explains Paul Rosenberg, vice president, programming with Calgary Stampede.

The Award of Distinction for Communication was presented to agriculture reporter Dana Zielke of Golden West Radio in High River, Alta. Her agriculture reports are heard on AM1140, Sun Country 99.7FM, CKVN 98.1FM Lethbridge, CHOO 99.5FM Drumheller, and the Prairie Ag Wire in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. One of her most popular contributions is a regular “Ag Flashes” segment.

new V-P

Canadian Beef Breeds Council board of directors recently affirmed David Bolduc as Vice President for 2012-13.

“I’m excited to be given the opportunity to be on the executive for the CBBC,” said David. “Our family has been involved in the purebred livestock industry in Alberta since the late 1800’s. Going forward, the purebred industry is going to be a significant portion of the beef industry. We essentially establish the end product, so we are a significant element of the industry and hope to make the rest of the industry more aware of that.”

David, his wife Margaret and their son Matt operate Cudlobe Angus with his brother Dyce, his wife Adriana and their family. The families run 400 to 500 mother cows in southern Alberta and have an annual production sale. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Alberta where he also attended graduate school.

David is also the current President of the Canadian Angus Association. David and Dyce Bolduc are the only two brothers to both serve as President of the Canadian Angus Association Board of Directors. Dyce was President in 2005.

Youth Leadership

The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Development Program is pleased to announce its 2012 national mentorship recipients. The 16 recipients were selected following the final selection round at the CYL Spring Forum in Saskatoon, where a total of 24 finalists vied for a spot in the national youth initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

The 2012 CYL mentorship recipients are:

British Columbia: Cole Bailey and Erika Strand. 

Alberta: Amy Mayner, Brodie Haugan, Jakob Meyer, Joanne Solverson, Kerry Hyatt, Micheal Nadeau, Travis Ebens, and Tyson Lowe.

Saskatchewan: Ashley Shannon, Eric Buyer, Jeffery Yorga, and Ryan Hurlburt.

Ontario: Kimberly McCaw and Katie Wood.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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