The Western way of life is renowned for its warm and giving nature, and at their semi-annual meeting in Calgary, the Canadian Cattlemen s Association (CCA) approved the formation of an arm s length charitable foundation.
It s a means for people to put money towards the industry, said CCA director Bob Lowe, who ranches near Nanton.
When I talk to people in the States with a bunch of these foundations they said that one thing that never occurred to them when they built them was how many bequeathments that they were going to get. It provides a tool for people who want to put something back into the industry to be able to do it with a tax credit.
The CCA established objectives for the Canadian Cattlemen s Foundation, which have been submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency for approval, a crucial step in obtaining charitable status. The objectives are to support stewardship practices and conservation actions that conserve the environment, biodiversity and wildlife habitat on working agricultural landscapes; to support education, leadership development, and outreach programs to serve youth involved with beef cattle and grass-range management; and lastly, to support cattle care research and awareness.
Once approved, a committee of cattle producers along with community and corporate representatives will review funding requests. The foundation is prohibited from funding lobbying efforts or actual beef production, and must be geared towards the wider public good.
It s open to a lot of possibilities, said Lowe. It allows people to give back to the industry they grew up in if they want to, and it also gives the industry a form of funding to do research.
Encouraging and supporting youth is a strong part of the foundation s mandate, and a goal which resonates personally with Lowe.
My big thing is the youth component of it, he said. Scholarships and things like that that will benefit the industry in a time when mostly due to lack of cattle numbers, we re running out of money. Cattle organizations all over are running out of money because cattle numbers are dropping so far. And this could be a means of sourcing some more money to put into things like research and youth.
The foundation will support youth interested in pursuing a future in agriculture with scholarships, sponsorships and grants.
The business itself has had such negative connotations, at least since the border closed in 2003, and it s been pretty tough and it s pretty dang tough to get kids interested, said Lowe. And those that are should be promoted all they can.