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So, long Larry. Let’s do lunch

Just a quick note to pay tribute to my long time writing colleague and friend Larry Thomas, who as we speak, has left a 20 year gig with Canadian Cattlemen Magazine (CCM), to pursue a new career with the Canadian Cattleman’s Association (CCA).

Just to clarify a couple points, there is no relationship between Canadian Cattlemen Magazine (CCM) and the CCA, CFIA, CLA, CSIS or the CIA. The names are sort of similar but that’s about it. On the other hand Canadian Cattlemen Magazine and Grainews are owned by the same company, with the same head office in Winnipeg, but we all hate each other’s guts, and fight tooth and nail every issue to maintain our economic independence and editorial supremacy over each other. (Okay, I made that last little bit up).

Larry and I have been co-workers and friends since we joined our respective publications in 1988. I started as associate editor with Country Guide Magazine in October ’88, and Larry had joined the company as an associate editor with Cattleman Magazine a few months earlier. He has seniority.

As a bit of trivia I had actually applied for the field editor position at Cattlemen Magazine maybe a year or so earlier but didn’t get it. I was obviously over qualified, because then in 1988 they hired Larry.

We have worked together for the entire time, except for a two-year stint when I worked as an undercover agent for Meristem Information Resources, which on the surface appears to be some sort of public relations firm owned by another Cattlemen Mag alumni, Terry Hockaday. But the truth is Hockaday and I have long been investigating the sordid underbelly of the Canadian agriculture industry and plan to soon publish a new tell-all book with optional working titles–“Bedding -and we’re not talking straw, shavings or sawdust” or “Here’s crap you can’t compost”.

Anyway, back to Larry. The only advice I could give this greenhorn kid 20 years ago was “follow your dreams, Sparky and never let facts get in the way of a good story”. I’m not sure what he did over at Cattlemen Mag. Anytime I called his voice mail said he had gone fishing. I amazed at home many ranchers prefer to talk business along Western Canadian shorelines. When he announced he was leaving, I heard it took management quite a while to find a replacement for him, but the local SPCA was all out of cut cats.

Okay, totally seriously, he has been a dear friend, an inspiring coworker, a skilled writer and wordsmith, and he has done a hell-of-a-job. He knows the industry, connects well with people, and tells a good story. Some might say he can B. S. with the best of them, but on the job that’s called insightful commentary. Cattleman Magazine will miss him. Readers will miss him. And I will miss him. All the best in your new endeavors Lar.

(But I understand he will be on CCA expenses, so I’m seeing lunches in my future). Lee Hart


New E. coli test

With food safety top of mind for consumers and the food industry, Vacci-Test Corporation (“Vacci-Test”) has announce that its first food safety test, FoodChek-E. coli, has successfully completed a field trial at a major meat packaging facility and has shown that it can accurately test for E. coli O157:H7 in less than six hours, including enrichment. (This strain of E. coli is the one recently in the news causing illness among dozens of people who ate at a fast food restaurant in North Bay, Ont. and also caused deaths in the Walkerton water crisis a few years ago).

FoodChek-E. coli is a new same-shift test the company says is rapid, accurate and cost effective. FoodChek-E. coli will be useful to meat-processors enabling them to deliver high quality and safe products to consumers. FoodChek -E. coli uses magnetic nanotechnology and a proprietary, inexpensive and easy-to-use magnetic reader that provides a very sensitive, specific and quantitative test result. The field trial was conducted at Vantage Foods Inc., a leading processor of retail ready fresh meats, at their facility in Chilliwack, B. C. For more information on the test call (403) 269-9424 or email [email protected]or visit their website at:

Coming Events

Manitoba School

Producers only have a few days to register for the 2008 Manitoba Grazing School being held November 25 and 26 at the Keystone Ag Centre in Brandon, Manitoba. This year’s program is built around the theme “Managing Risk in Dynamic Times.”

Along with several producers sharing their experience on cattle and pasture management other key speakers include Wendy Mesley, host of CBC’s Marketplace, who will offer an informed and humourous perspective on the “truth,” John Cross, business leader from Saskatoon will provide guidance on leadership, initiative, attitude and entrepreneurship and ranchers Don and Bev Campbell will describe the practice of Holistic Financial Management.

Registration at $150 includes all conference meals and a Manitoba Forage Council associate membership. Additional meal tickets are available at $25. Registration is nonrefundable. Pre-payment by cheque (mail) or MC/VISA/AMEX (on-line) or by phone 204-622-2006.

Western Grazing Conference

There is still time to register for the Western Canadian Grazing Conference being held at the Mayfield Inn in Edmonton Dec. 3 to 5. Livestock producers from across Western Canada give high marks to value of the conference, which is held every two years.

Several excellent speakers are lined up to address the conference, which opens with registration and a reception on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 3. Speaker sessions Thursday and Friday cover a wide range of topics that include the basics of grazing, strategic planning for ranching and risk management, animal behavior, and grazing yearlings. Rob Leslie, senior analysis with Canfax will open the conference, while consultant Gordon Colledge is the Thursday night banquet speaker. His topic is Positive Uncertainty: A Lifeline for Cattlemen and Farmers.

Full conference registration is $250 per person, or $425 for two people from the same farm or ranch. A singe day registration is $130. Anyone interested in attending is urged to register as soon as possible. For more information or to register contact Joy Vonk with the Agricultural Research & Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA) by phoning: 780-416-6046, by email at: [email protected] areca. ab.caor visit their website at:

Gelbvieh Wish List Weekend

Gelbvieh breeders in Alberta and B. C. remind producers to plan to attend the second annual Gelbvieh Wish List Weekend Dec. 5 and 6 in the Olds Cow Palace at Olds, Alta. The two-day Wish List extravaganza features Gelbvieh cattle and events that will appeal to commercial and seed stock producers. Friday morning’s socializing and sale launch of the People’s Choice Pen of 3 Commercial Heifer ballots will be followed at 2 p. m. with the annual general meeting of the Gelbvieh Association of Alberta & BC (GAA/BC) and seminars. Saturday is the Jackpot Pen of Three Commercial Heifer Show sharp at 9:30 a. m. Following lunch The People’s Choice winner will be announced with the best open and bred Gelbvieh females and Gelbvieh herdsire prospects begin entering the sale ring at 3 p. m. for the anticipated Wish List Gelbvieh Sale. “The Wish List sale will feature some of the finest Gelbvieh seed stock in Canada from over 15 consignors. We will also feature flush opportunities this year,” explained Rodney Hollman, president of the GAA/BC and event organizer. For more information contact Rodney Hollman at 403-588-8620, [email protected]



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