It seems almost every year a cattle breed holds a world show in Alberta or elsewhere in Canada. These are usually promotional events much enjoyed by the breed faithful. The World Angus Forum is another matter. It doesn’t come to Canada often but when it does it is indeed “the” world-class event.
The last time the World Angus Forum was held in Canada was in 1985 in Edmonton, and it featured a guest appearance by the late Queen Mother, who had her own herd of purebred Aberdeen-Angus cattle.
To top that event, Canadian Angus Association organizers booked the Spruce Meadows equestrian facilities south of Calgary. That venue is among the finest such facilities in the world and a fitting home for the 2009 World Angus Forum. There was probably no better way to showcase the success, leadership and prominence of the Angus in Canada.
Breeders from across Canada showcased their livestock with over 160,000 sq. ft. of displays spread out over half-dozen sites. Well over 1,000 Red and Black Angus were on display, in the shows or in the sale. There were rumours of private cattle deals in the tens of thousands of dollars. The most successful breeder was the Soo Line Cattle Company of Midale, Saskatchewan, which won prizes in most entries, including Grand Champion female, a cow who has yet to lose a championship show.
This type of world event attracts delegates from abroad with breeders coming mainly from the U. S. but also from the UK, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Denmark and others.
International embryo program
Although there were willing buyers from many of those countries many are restricted from bringing in live animals due the lingering trade effects of BSE.
Never before has there been such an opportunity to view world-class Angus genetics from so many countries in one place.
However, most don’t restrict semen and embryo imports, that part of the genetics industry has been critical to maintaing export sales for the Canadian purebred cattle industry.
Unique to this year’s forum was the International Embryo Program. Nine countries provided embryos from their leading herds to the Canadian Angus Association. Remington Cattle Company of Del Bonita, Alberta provided donor dams for the embryos, and 26 calves were born in 2008. The calves have all been raised in a similar manner and were on display at the World Angus Forum. Never before has there been such an opportunity to view world-class Angus genetics from so many countries in one place.
In addition to the over 700 registered delegates additional hundreds of guests, cattle producers and media were in attendance. There was also a large trade show attached to the event. The Canadian Angus Foundation completed a major fundraiser in support of Junior activities. Forty-two embryo packages were donated from across Canada and tickets were sold on chances to win the embryo packages.
Although it was an outstanding Angus event, CEO Doug Fee did express one regret, noting the fame of the Spruce Meadows equestrian facility.
“I wish I had a dollar for every person who said they’re surprised we haven’t had cows jumping.”