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Spots Open At Olds Beef School

Spots are still open for the November 2009 and May 2010 Canadian Beef School at Olds College, Olds, Alberta. It is a great learning experience for anyone involved in the Canadian beef industry — whether you are a producer, or feeder, or processor or involved in a related service industry, such as the animal health industry.

The school isn’t about how to produce beef, but is all about what happens after it leaves the farm gate. How it is fed, processed, graded, and then cut and wrapped for the retail counter.

I attended the two-and-a-half day school last year and even though I just write about the ag industry, it was a great eye-opener and learning experience. There were about 20 in my “class” last year that included cow-calf producers, backgrounders and animal health company reps.

The school covers a lot of topics, that include both classroom sessions as well as hands on experience at grading carcasses and later in cutting sides of beef for retail sale. The school is led by Jim Hansen, a beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Brad McLeod, an instructor with Olds College with years of practical experience in the meat cutting business. They bring in guest speakers to talk about specific topics, there’s a fair bit of myth busting that goes on, and lots of discussion with instructors, as well as a good exchange among the various attendees.

It is well worth the price of admission and it is two-and-a-half days well spent. You get a great binder of reference material to take home (and if you don’t act up in class you might even get a great souvenir sweat shirt, as well).

A few spaces are still open for the November school, Nov. 25 to 27 and a few more spaces for the May 2010 school, May 5 to 7. For more information contact Jim Hansen at 403-653-5132 or e-mail jim. [email protected]or Brad McLeod 403-556-4792 or e-mail [email protected]You can visit the college website as well


The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is pleased with Russia’s announcement in October to expand access for Canadian beef to include all beef from cattle under-thirty-months old (UTM) and boneless beef from cattle over-thirty-months (OTM) of age. Russia also agreed to continue a process aimed at achieving access for beef offal products by the end of 2009.

“I am very pleased that our federal ministers for agriculture and trade are responding to CCA’s urging that they place a high priority on expanding access for Canadian beef in international markets,” said president Brad Wildeman.

The Canada Beef Export Federation estimates that Canada could export $32 million per year of beef, and a further $10 million for beef offals to Russia. This is a significant jump from the roughly $4 million that Canada exported to Russia in 2002.


(Editor’s Note: I’m not a big hockey fan, but I thought these were funny. Depending on the year, you could probably use any team’s name in some of these jokes. Unfortunately, the Toronto Maple Leafs are carrying the brunt this time.)

What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common?

A: They both look good until they hit the ice.

What’s the difference between the Toronto Maple Leafs and a cigarette vending machine?

A: The vending machine has Players!

What do the Toronto Maple Leafs and whales have in common?

A: They both get totally confused when surrounded by ice.

Why are the Toronto Maple Leafs like Canada Post?

A: They both wear uniforms and don’t deliver!

Why doesn’t Hamilton have an NHL team?

A: Because then Toronto would want one…

What do the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays all have in common besides being based in Toronto ?

A. None of them can play hockey.

What do you call 30 millionaires around a TV watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

A. The Toronto Maple Leafs.

What do the Toronto Maple Leafs and Billy Graham have in common?

A. They both can make 20,000 people stand up and yell “Jesus Christ.”

How do you keep the Toronto Maple Leafs out of your yard?

A. Put up a goal net.

(There were more, but I decided to quit there).


Beef producers know that cost control is key to surviving the markets in 2009. The job of finding costs that can be cut can be daunting. How can a producer know whether his costs are higher or lower than the average producer, or know his comparisons to the top 10 per cent of producers? The Western Beef Development Centre, in partnership with AgMpower and Spring Creek Consulting, is pleased to offer a solution — Cost of Production workshops. At these workshops, participants will learn how to input and calculate their own ranch or farm costs, calculate returns, conduct scenario planning (what if I do …?), and create financial value to their operation using powerful specially created software. The Saskatchewan workshops are scheduled for:

November 12 –Weyburn

November 16 –Swift Current

November 17 –North Battleford

November 18 –Tisdale

Registration is free but there are a limited number of seats in each workshop. Call WBDC today at 306-682-3139 or toll-free at 1-800-567-7264 to register. More information or registration forms can be found on the Western Beef Development Centre website at


Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) has released a new of interest to anyone involved in emergency response services in their area. The 10 minute video, developed by the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association, is an overview of the highly successful Livestock Emergency Response Course.

This AFAC video, available to view online at,provides a general overview of what is required to ensure a safe and humane response to incidents involving livestock in transport.

The Livestock Emergency Response Course was developed by livestock handling specialist Jennifer Woods in collaboration with AFAC in 1998. To view the video or order a copy of the DVD from AFAC call 403-932-8050 or email [email protected]Training sessions are booked through Jennifer Woods at 403-684-3008, [email protected]


The Manitoba Cattle Producers Association (MCPA) says it applauds Russell MLA Len Derkach, who recently, during question period at the legislature, drew attention to the provincial government’s lack of strategy for dealing with the tuberculosis endemic in Riding Mountain National Park’s elk and white-tailed deer populations.

MCPA wants a healthy wildlife population in the Riding Mountain National Park and the Riding Mountain Eradication Area (RMEA), and continues to lobby both the Federal and Provincial Government to meet this goal. The Association believes Manitoba Conservation Minister Stan Struthers was misleading in his response to Derkach’s criticism, creating the perception that Manitoba is closer to this goal than it actually is.

“We have been lobbying and meeting with Manitoba Conservation and other stakeholders for years,” says Ray Armbruster, an MCPA Director and Head of the Association’s Animal Health Committee. “Despite our best efforts to reach a solution, we are still miles away from the development of a comprehensive, functional strategy for dealing with this issue.”


Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) will soon be reaching producers with an exciting new joint project.

Large flat screen monitors will be available for all auction marts across Alberta. These monitors will broadcast information from ABP and CCA, cattle prices from CanFax, drought information, and weather maps unique to each regional area, Alberta Agriculture information, local auction mart sales information, plus much more.

“As part of a pilot program, we have a monitor broadcasting live at Vold Jones and Vold Auction Co. in Ponoka and another one ready to be installed at Perlich Bros. Auction Mart in Lethbridge,” said Brent Carey, ABP Communications Committee chair. “We are looking forward to contacting the other 25 auction marts in the province (soon) to see if they are interested in coming on board as well.”


For the first time in 75 years the black-footed ferret is back in Saskatchewan. At a special ceremony in October, officials from the Calgary Zoo and representatives of all partners in the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team released the first black-footed ferrets into the wild.

Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan was chosen for the release site because it is habitat for black-tailed prairie dogs. The prairie dogs are the ferrets’ main prey species and essential for a successful reintroduction.

A century ago this cute, but fierce carnivore was plentiful in the prairie ecosystem throughout southern Canada and the U. S. As the only native ferret species to North America, it was thought to be extinct until a small colony was discovered in Wyoming in the 1980s; at that point an international captive breeding effort commenced. Partners in the project include Parks Canada, Calgary Zoo, Toronto Zoo, Environment Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, World Wildlife Fund Canada and World Wildlife Fund U. S., Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



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