Cattle ranchers learn about changes in industry

North Okanagan Livestock Association seminar educates cattle farmers

Cattle farmers have headed back to class.

The North Okanagan Livestock Association recently hosted its annual education seminar.

“It was a huge success due to the enthusiasm of their keynote speaker Kee Jim, managing director of Feedlot Health Management Services in Alberta,” said Cheryl Altwasser, with NOLA.

“Dr. Jim suggested that demand is higher than what can be supplied, thus prices at the auction are at a place where a rancher can feel they are getting what their product is worth.”

In North America, the supply of beef production has declined as has the supply of cattle.

“The U.S. cow herd is under 30 million, while Canada’s cow herd today is about 4.2 million,” said Altwasser.

“In B.C., two-thirds of our cattle come from farms of 50 head or less, which is why farming is called a sideline production as it isn’t the primary source of income.”

Some of the obstacles rancher face today include the economy, debt incurred to feed a cow herd, demographics and diseases such as the BSE outbreak 2003.  A huge obstacle is the younger generation find it difficult to remain on the family farm when economical opportunities off the ranch are more inviting.

To bolster the industry, Jim suggested what animals are being purchased, how you utilize production and marketing.

During the seminar, Kevin Boon, B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager, focused on the agriculture waste control regulation.

“This document was published by the Minister of Environment without consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and has created a great deal of concern by many who have read it,” said Altwasser.

 

“Due to the negative impact it has aroused,  MOE has agreed to rework the document with the input from the cattle industry and has extended the deadline past May 31.”