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Systmas Win Environmental Award

Eastern Ontario beef producers Charlie and Kim Sytsma of Eighth Line Farm are the winners of this year’s Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Environmental Stewardship Award (TESAward), sponsored by RBC Royal Bank. The Sytsmas run 220 Red Angus cow-calf pairs on their home farm and leased properties near Athens, Ontario, in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, and were nominated for the award by Martin Streit of the Leeds County Stewardship Council, with support from the Charleston Lake Association and the Township of Athens.

The Sytsmas have been able to lease an extensive area of remote pasture lands and improve their productivity through the use of rotational grazing systems. Over 1.5 kilometres of riparian shoreline habitat has been restored and 480 cattle have been removed from the stream as a result of their actions.

“Charlie and Kim have worked long and hard with the Leeds County Stewardship Council to restore the portions of Elbe creek, which runs through their farms,” reports Streit. “They have influenced the improvement of the environmental practices of many farmers through their own actions, hosting tours, giving presentations and word of mouth. Moreover, they have influenced many other farmers to participate in similar projects, resulting in a vast improvement in the condition of Elbe creek.”

Cattle are watered using five solar watering systems, which has allowed marginal agricultural lands to be kept in production. The Sytsmas have also constructed over three kilometres of cattle-exclusion fencing to protect a primary source of water for Charleston Lake. The lake boasts the most southerly self-reproducing Lake Trout population in Ontario.

NEW ALBERTA PORK EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Darcy Fitzgerald, who has been around the Alberta livestock industry for many years, has been named the new executive director of Alberta Pork.

Fitzgerald, who has spent his career in the agricultural industry, most recently served as director of industry investments with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd. Prior to that he served as the general manager of the Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund. He has also served as an agrologist and manager with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as holding positions in industry.

Fitzgerald replaces Paul Hodgman, who announced last fall that he intended to retire from his position in 2010, so that the organization had adequate time to find a replacement. Hodgman, who has spent his career in agriculture, has been executive director of Alberta Pork for the past three years.

CATTLE HANDLING DEMO

Curt Pate returns to Saskatchewan in late March to teach his low-stress handling skills at the annual Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan (FACS) Stockmanship Series commences on March 26 at the Prairieland Park Ag Centre in Saskatoon.

Curt, from horseback, will demonstrate his low-stress handing techniques with a small herd of cattle. On Saturday March 27 this American Quarter Horse Association Clinician will focus on handling skills for colts. Curt’s teaching approach is based on the strong belief that “low-stress training causes high-performance horsemanship.”

FACS is collaborating with USHU Farrier Supply to facilitate a Farrier Clinic on Saturday March 27 that will address proper trimming and shoeing. The instructor is world-famous Lee Green, who manufactures farrier-supply items.

For more information or to register, check out the website at

This annual event is made possible with support from sponsors: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture; Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health, Merial Canada Inc. and The Western Producer.

ILLEGAL SLAUGHTER

An Ontario man has pleaded guilty and was fined for illegal slaughter as a result of an investigation by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Agriculture Investigations Unit.

Stanislaw Piekos pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Caledon to carrying on a licensed activity without a licence, contrary to the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001. The court heard that food animals were slaughtered and processed at his farm between March 22, 2008 and May 9, 2009.

Justice of the Peace Albert Changaloy sentenced Piekos to a fine of $6,000 plus the victim fine surcharge of $1,505.

RUSTLER CONVICTED

A $2,000 reward has been paid by the B. C. Cattlemen’s Association for information that lead to the arrest and conviction of a cattle rustler in the Oliver area.

Peter Ginter was formally charged by the RCMP with theft under $5,000 and received two years probation plus a $200 victim’s service charge.

The RCMP received a tip from a concerned citizen and later executed a search warrant at Peter Ginter’s home where the animal carcass was found hanging in the shed.

This conviction was only possible with the keen observation skills of a member of the public who took quick action to preserve evidence and contact the RCMP.

Last year over 100 head of cattle were reported missing and rustling is suspected. Many more go unreported and are assumed to have been lost to wild predators. Convictions such as this one are rare.

The B. C. Cattlemen’s Association is pleased to reward this individual for their swift actions that resulted in a conviction. Any member of the public can report suspected cattle rustling to the local RCMP or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

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

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