Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers
The Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers (PEICP) held their Annual Meeting on April 4, 2018. Board members include Brian Morrison, Jeremy Stead, Peter Dixon, Holland Cahill, Kenneth MacEachern and Derrick Annema. Ex-Officio Director, Ranald MacFarlane represents Dairy Farmers of PEI.
The PEICP continues to deliver the Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program in PEI by providing information and delivering workshops. While the number of producers attending VBP+ workshop has remained consistent, the number of audited operations remains low. We are carefully monitoring the Cargill pilot project to see if the pull for VBP+ will come from the marketplace. If it does, it is likely that Atlantic Beef Products (ABP) would request their producers become audited as well. We are prepared to assist producers in becoming audited if this occurs.
The PEICP continues to offer third party age verification. This is very important to the feedlot sector in PEI who generally feed animals to an older age. This practice results in a high number of animals determined to be over-thirty-months of age or OTM. A birth certificate can help to avoid a penalty of $.20/lb if an animal is deemed to be OTM at the Atlantic Beef plant. As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of producers age verifying their animals. An important benefit from providing this service is that more producers are getting their Premises ID and merging multiple Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) accounts into one. All of this will assist producers in preparing for traceability.
The Livestock Development for Beef program was delivered through the PEICP. Funding for this program is provided through Growing Forward II and offers qualifying producers money for programs such as premium sires, genetic heifer renewal, seedstock testing, RFID readers, scales and handling facilities. The program was funded to the tune of $97,000 this year, up slightly from the previous year.
The PEICP coordinates the Prince Edward Island Certified Beef (CIB) brand. Prince Edward Island beef is produced by those who are committed to quality, consistency and flavour, drawing on generations of experience. Beef farming and processing has long been a staple of our Island heritage and we take it very seriously. We have developed the CIB brand based on these attributes and values. Feeders from any of the Atlantic provinces are now eligible for the brand enabling producers from these provinces to participate. Much of the criteria for CIB is based on current practices and so it does not take a lot of adjustment for producers to join. Two key factors include; documenting treatments and tracing all animals produced under the brand.
Today’s consumers are knowledgeable and demand certain attributes for the food they eat. They want to know that the beef they consume has been raised responsibly, that the animals were treated humanely and that the beef is safe to eat. Each year new CIB members are required to attend a Humane Handling Workshop delivered by Jane Morrigan of Integrity Livestock Services. This practical overview is a great reminder of why we need to keep animal welfare top of mind. The CIB brand continues to grow steadily. To date, there are approximately 33 feedlots and 123 cow-calf producers on the brand.
The PEICP continues to administer the deadstock removal service to beef producers. This $850,000 service is cost shared with Dairy Farmers of PEI, and the province. The province contributes $350,000 to the service each year. There has been uptake of just over 50 per cent of all beef producers paying to use the service. Those who did not pay are not eligible and must arrange for proper disposal of their deadstock themselves.
The PEICP is a member of the Maritime Beef Council (MBC). The MBC hosted a Maritime Beef Conference in March 2018 in Moncton, NB. The conference featured Temple Grandin and was very well attended. The conference has gained a lot of attention from the beef industry over the years and has grown steadily each year.
The MBC continues to work on the development of a Maritime Beef Strategy. The main objective of the strategy is to grow and expand the Maritime herd over five years. There are many aspects to the strategy including professional development. To address this the Maritime Beef School was developed. Several feedlot sessions have already been offered with new modules planned for the coming year. Leadership development is another area of focus in the strategy. If producers take advantage of the Beef School and attend the various presentations at the MBC Conference, they will receive a wide array of valuable information they can use to implement changes on their farms.
ABP has been consistently processing 525 hd/week. This includes fats as well as culls cows. ABP continues to sell Island View Farms branded beef through Sobeys stores across PEI. In addition to this brand, ABP has been selling Certified Island Beef, Blue Dot and True Beef brands.
We are pleased to have national representation as follows: John MacDonald; CCA Board of Directors, David Francis; Canada Beef, and Ivan Johnson; CCIA Board of Directors. These representatives provide a valuable link between our provincial organization and our national organizations.
For more information, please visit the PEICP website at www.peicattleproducers.com
180, 6815 - 8 Street NE
Calgary, AB T2E 7H7
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