Prince Edward Cattle Producers
The PEI Cattle Producers (PEICP) held their Annual Meeting on September 1, 2020. This meeting was originally planned in April 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed until it could be held in person. Board members include Jeremy Stead, Peter Dixon, Tim Dixon, Kevin Simmons, Kenneth MacEachern, Dennis Hogan and Greg Stavert. Ex-Officio Director, Gary Hughes represents Dairy Farmers of PEI.
Fall District Meetings were held November 23 and 25, 2020 in Charlottetown and Linkletter respectively. These meetings were very well attended despite being limited to 50 people and having to pre-register to attend. Dr. Shawn McKenna in Charlottetown and Dr. Chris Versteeg in Linkletter presented on antimicrobial resistance, benefits of vaccines, importance of having a good vet client patient relationship. There was much discussion and questions asked. We had great feedback from those producers in attendance. We are planning to hold similar sessions in the Spring 2021 due to feedback we have received as more producers would like to attend.
The PEICP continues to deliver the VBP+ program in Prince Edward Island 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 have seen a small increase in producers wanting to be VBP+ audited. We accredited this to the announcement from Atlantic Beef Products that offers a $.02 bonus for cattle that meet specific specs and come from a VBP+ registered operation. To date we have 13 registered operations on PEI.
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 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 Premise ID and merging multiple CCIA accounts into one. All of this will assist producers in preparing for traceability.
PEICP’s newest Board Director Dwain MacAulay’s cattle grazing in the Souris Area of Prince Edward Island
The Livestock Development for Beef program was delivered through the PEICP. Funding for this program is provided through Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) and offers qualifying producers money for programs such as premium sires, Purebred heifers, seedstock testing, RFID readers, Animal Health and handling facilities.
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 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 and Miriam Gordon 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.
The PEICP continues to administer the Deadstock Removal service to beef producers. This $850,000 service is cost shared with Dairy Farmers of PEI, PEICP and the province. The Province announced in June 2019 they would be taking over administration of the Deadstock service contract and increasing their share to fund the service. PEICP entered into a 3-year contract with the Province to pay $50,000 per year. There has been uptake of approximately 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 the annual Maritime Beef Conference in October virtually and was 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 along with Feedlot Club and Cow Calf clubs.
If producers take advantage of the Beef School, Feedlot Clubs and/or Cow Calf Clubs 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. This year many of the meetings were held virtually.
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.