Alberta Beef Producers
As we head into the new year, Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) is looking forward to implementing new initiatives that have been in development through the latter half of 2020. We are finalizing details for the launch of a new ABP magazine, with the first issue out in February, and an online platform/smartphone app. The new platform will have real time market information, industry related stories and the ability for a producer to pick preferences based on their interests. Through the app, notifications can be sent to producers, making them aware of situations that could affect the beef industry in Alberta.
ABP General Manager Brad Dubeau visits Bear Trap Feeders to discuss the state of the industry/impacts of COVID-19 on the industry with CCA President Bob Lowe.
The ABP magazine will be published four times a year and provide updates on the happenings at ABP in each department, such as Research, Policy, Government Relations, Marketing and Education. It will also include information on the national organizations representing Alberta beef producers and other provincial cattle organizations, along with industry-related, human interest stories. As this plan comes to fruition, we will scale back our Cattle Country radio program and wind down the current format of Grass Routes. These new tools aim to connect with producers in a way that will let them guide the type of content they want to receive from our organization.
The 2020 ABP Producer Meetings took place online at the end of the year with a Producer Town Hall and two Resolution Meetings, where we saw strong attendance and participation from Alberta producers. The town hall provided an overview of the work done this year by ABP and our national organizations, and 23 resolutions were passed at the resolution meetings for ABP to consider and move through our resolution process. Delegate elections in two of the five zones were held electronically or by mail-in ballot and the results were announced at the beginning of January. The Board of Directors elections will take place at our Annual General Meeting in March 2021 with all 12 directors elected at large by the new delegate body, under the stipulation that there must be at least one director from each zone.
Significant changes to agriculture research funding were made by the Government of Alberta with the unveiling of Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR).
ABP has been an active member of the RDAR Advisory Committee, whose mandate is “to support results driven agriculture research priorities and programs that will increase competitiveness and profitability of Alberta’s agriculture industry.”
We had the opportunity to provide input and feedback on the scope, governance and research focus and priorities. The ABP Research Committee also invited RDAR interim staff to observe a committee meeting to promote collaboration and opportunities for co-funding between ABP and RDAR. The Government of Alberta has committed $37 million per year for 10 years to RDAR for agriculture research and knowledge transfer, although at least initially, not all of this funding will be available for research projects.
In October, JBS announced a new partnership with a food service company based in Japan to supply a branded Alberta beef product, utilizing already established premium beef brands.
ABP saw this long-term commitment as recognition of the value and prestige held by the Alberta Beef brand within international markets, and a strong reflection of the hard work and dedication of beef producers in Alberta and across western Canada.
ABP was recognized for our marketing efforts by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association at the Best of CAMA Awards. Through work done with the marketing agency WS, we were awarded top prize in Series Execution (Print or Digital), Best Overall Industry Relations Program and Website, and Certificates of Merit for Billboard and Single Execution (Print or Digital). These awards were for our Flavour of Alberta billboard campaign, tv commercials and new consumer website, as well as an All for the Beef influencer engagement program.
ABP joined other provincial agriculture commodity groups in submitting a letter to the Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry encouraging government support of the proposed changes to the AgriStability program, which included removal of the Reference Margin Limit and an increase to the compensation rate. We hope to see the provincial government support these changes in the short-term while work continues on the modernization of the business risk management suite.
ABP and other industry partners worked with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) to update the grazing lease disposition document. AEP aimed to modernize the document and add-in clauses to aid in compliance and communication. During the review, industry focused on maintaining the legal status of a lease and through our efforts, the original legal language was successfully maintained, while the remainder of the document was modernized. The changes made were deemed minor, however may allude to greater frequency of overlapping dispositions and resultant activity.
ABP continues to monitor the Alberta Fed Cattle Set-Aside program as it works towards eliminating the backlog of cattle from the first wave of COVID-19. We didn’t see significant market disruptions in Alberta through the fall and continue to watch COVID-19 numbers and outbreaks across the province for any potential impacts to our industry. On a final note, ABP would like to express sincere appreciation and gratitude to directors, delegates and staff for their willingness to adapt throughout the year as they continued to proudly represent producers across the province.