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Nothing Wrong With A Little Humour

You may have noticed a recent advertising campaign in the farm media by SeedMaster with two guys standing at urinals and a line in the ad copy about “the big companies are watching us, but really why should we care?”

Not everyone loves the ad, but I think it is smart. With a bit of humour and some cheekiness, it makes an effective point that the Saskatchewan seeding system manufacturer may not be the biggest company, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best. I think it is much better than just another photo of a 500-foot wide air drill.

And I see DuPont is going with a construction worker theme to make the point its herbicides are like a “wrecking crew” on weed control. Bayer Crop Science has some interesting TV commercials with some animated “alien farmers” getting excellent weed control because Infinity herbicide is “out of this world.” It is different, and well done, but one I have to pay attention to. I am not quick at reading the subtitles, which appear in the commercials and I really didn’t get the point until the very end where it says the product is “out of this world.” Okay, now I see.

BrettYoung snagged Olympic luger Jon Montgomery of Russell, Manitoba to be its poster boy for seed sales… go with a winner type theme. It isn’t funny, but they were smart to get a very recognizable and likeable front man representing their products.

Great prizes are also a good marketing tool. I had a landslide of entries when I offered to give away $1 million for the best fencing tip (okay I had two people send me some ideas). I don’t think most people took me seriously. Thanks to John Swaagstra of Alberta and Norman Lee of Saskatchewan for their submissions. Head office said the armoured truck was on its way with the cash, but that was several weeks ago. In the meantime, I sent these guys collector caps and toques, which are just about as good as cash.

Syngenta Canada is giving away a motorcycle as part of its promotion for Traxos herbicide, and Dow AgroScience (DAS) has really raised the bar giving away a new $130,000 grain truck as a promotion for its Tandem herbicide. You can enter the contest, but you can also send in a picture of your favourite grain truck, running or not, to be posted on the website. There has been lots of interest in the photo gallery, with a couple of hundred farmers from across Western Canada sending in pictures of their favourite trucks. Its sort of the agricultural equivalent ofPlayboy.There are some really steamy units there. Visit the website at: www.dowagro.com/ca

Lee Hart

BEEF SALES

And under the heading “I didn’t know they bought Canadian products,” Canada and Costa Rica have agreed to resume full unrestricted access for Canadian beef.

It is an announcement that won’t make or break the Canadian beef industry since sales only totaled about $235,000 in 2002, the last full year of exporting prior to BSE market closures, but it all helps.

CCA President Travis Toews noted the agreement with Costa Rica brings the number of countries that do not place any age restrictions on Canadian beef to 43 (including the 27 member countries of the European Union).

“I want to thank Ministers Ritz (agriculture) and Van Loan (trade) for continuing their efforts to reopen markets for Canadian beef,” Toews said. “It is only with their continued commitment that we will eventually get all our markets fully restored.”

MORE GOOD NEWS FOR BEEF

And the CCA also welcomes an announcement earlier this month by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama to increase efforts to streamline cross-border business including the creation of a United States-Canada Regulatory Co-operation Council.

CCA President Travis Toews called the development “an immensely important initiative for the Canada-U. S. cattle and beef industry.

“We need improved co-ordination by government regulators and more timely approval processes on both sides of the border so that we can eliminate a differential in regulatory operating environments as a factor influencing where cattle are raised and processed, said Toews.

“With respect to finished beef products, the practice of opening boxes at a border point and having trucks wait for test results should be a thing of the past. We are hopeful that a protocol will be implemented where food safety could be assured under controlled conditions at the processing facility.

Toews said there are other matters, including different labeling conditions in the two countries that could be addressed in the announced initiative. “We applaud Prime Minister Harper and President Obama for setting us on this path. The Canadian cattle and beef industry will work hard to achieve positive results,” said Toews.

SASKATCHEWAN MARKETS

An experienced member of the Livestock Marketers of Saskatchewan (LMS) Board, Rhett Parks, has assumed the role of president.

Until a recent board meeting, Parks, who operates Whitewood Livestock Sales, served three years as LMS Board first vice-president.

“LMS has proven its value to Saskatchewan’s livestock auction markets, and we plan to continue seeking ways to strengthen the province’s cattle industry,” Parks said, following his election. “Many thanks to retiring president Jeff Jameson of JGL Livestock for his leadership, as LMS transformed its management structure and expanded training opportunities.”

With Parks’s election as president, Bob Blacklock of Saskatoon Livestock Sales became first vice -president, with Jeff Jameson as immediate past president.

Other LMS board members include:

Michael Fleury of Saskatoon Livestock Sales as representative of the Livestock Markets Association of Canada;

Brian Jacobson of Spiritwood Stockyards;

Robert Ross of Parkland Livestock Market in Kelliher;

Roy Rutledge of Assiniboia Livestock Auction; and

Stewart Stone of Heartland Livestock Sales.

As operators of auction marketers, LMS members are responsible for moving in excess of 90 per cent of the cattle marketed in the province. Saskatchewan has the second largest beef herd in Canada.

LMS promotes competitive bidding in the marketing of livestock by: establishing collaborative relations with industry partners; developing educational activities for members; and adhering to sound business practices and responsible animal welfare at members’ auction markets.

GRAZING MENTORS

Alberta beef producers needing some on-farm, one-to-one advice on how to better manage their grazing, may consider signing up for the Sustainable Grazing Mentorship Program for 2011.

Under the program, which is coordinated through the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA), producers can sign up for eight or 16 hours of one-to-one on farm consultation on grazing management.

There are also group sessions if four to six producers would like to work together.

A grazing mentor — often another producer with extensive grazing experience — will work directly with an individual to develop a grazing plan tailored to their situation.

The mentor suggests grazing management options to help improve farm profits, forage productivity, and management of land and water resources.

Program options include:

1. Group Sessions: Gather four to six producers together for a six-hour group session with a grazing mentor. You pay $30 per person and your mentor will guide your group through a variety of grazing topics and facilitate an open discussion to help your group move towards a more sustainable grazing operation. Topics include grazing management, cell design, water systems, swath/bale grazing, fencing, pasture calculations, weed control and pasture rejuvenation.

2. On-Farm Mentorship: Pay $100 and you get approximately 16 hours of on-farm mentorship time one-on-one specifically for you and your operation.

3. On-Farm Mentorship: Pay $50 for eight hours of one-on-one, on- KEEPER &CULLS

$50 for eight hours of one-on-one, on-farm mentorship.

For more details or to apply contact the ARECA office 780-416- 6046 or visit the website at: areca.ab.ca

www.areca.ab.ca

SSGA MEETINGS

Sask Stockgrowers March Meetings

The Saskatchewan Stockgrowers Association has two more zone annual meetings planned for early and mid-March.

March 4, 2011, the Zone 5 annual meeting will be held at the Prince William Hotel in Melville, Sask. The meeting runs from 2 to 5 p.m. with Andrew Scheer, member of parliament for Regina- Qu’Appelle as a guest. Guest speakers include Kathy Larson, of the Western Beef Development Centre talking about cost of production, and Grant Zalinko, with a cattle market outlook.

For more information on the Zone 5 event contact Bill Huber at 306-336-2684 or Chad MacPherson at 306-757-8523.

And the Zone 1 annual meeting will be held in Carlyle, Sask. March 12, 2011. For details on this event contact Lloyd at 306-482-3743.

GREAT BEEF SCHOOL

Producers or anyone interested in a thorough look at how the beef industry works from the farm through to retail, should make plans to attend the Canadian Beef School at Olds College this year.

Some seats are still available for the first three-day school March 22 to 24.

This is the 11th school or workshop that has been offered at the college. It is a real hands-on experience. It includes classroom sessions with various players from the industry who explain production, processing, grading and retailing. You get to evaluate live animals and later have opportunity to grade their carcasses and then manhandle quarters of beef into retail cuts.

The schedule of events as well as the registration information can be found on line at: http://www.oldscollege.ca/programs/ContinuingEducation/animal-science/canadian-beef-school.htm or just Google “Canadian Beef School.”

DESIGNING GRAZING CELLS

If you need some advice on designing grazing cells or pasture layout, Steve Kenyon of Greener Pastures Ranching is offering a one day Cell Design Workshop at Westlock, Alta. March 5, 2011. This is a one-day session to show you different types of cell design and help producers implement a workable fencing plan.

Cost of the workshop is $30 per person, which includes lunch.

Later in March, Kenyon is offering a three-day school on Year Round Grazing Systems, March 18 to 20 in Westlock and there is a one-day Pasture Walk planned near Busby, July 2. For more details on all of these events go to the website at www.greenerpasturesranching.com or phone (780) 307- 2275.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

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

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