GFM Network News

To sell beef in Europe, cattle must be raised without growth promotants and the packer can’t use a carcass wash not approved in the EU. Pictured is a meat counter in Morlaix, France.

CCA sees potential for more beef sales to Europe

Reading Time: 2 minutes Canada could be selling more beef to Europe if it increased the number of veterinarians trained to approve cattle for shipment there or secured approval for using Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) to meet European requirements, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says. Since the free trade agreement with Europe came into effect nearly two years ago, […] Read more

Karmen McNabb.

Three cattle producers say keeping track pays off

For the record: These producers say keeping detailed production and herd records is well worth the effort

Reading Time: 7 minutes The Beef Cattle Research Council recently posted two in-depth articles on record-keeping and benchmarking. The articles look at the benefits, what records to keep, resources, and how good records can boost profitability. But they also note a recent survey found that while almost all producers keep some sort of records (such as birthdates, culling/death loss […] Read more

Harmony Beef announces opening date

Refurbished plant will feature state-of-the-art processing technology, not seen before in Canada

Reading Time: 3 minutes The opening date has been pushed back multiple times, but Harmony Beef is slated to open Feb. 22 and has cattle booked for the first couple of months. “When we start out, we’ll start very slowly,” said owner Rich Vesta. The American meat-packing industry veteran bought the shuttered Rancher’s Beef plant just north of Calgary […] Read more

Melissa Downing

New provincial VBP+ co-ordinator hired in Alberta

Reading Time: < 1 minute Melissa Downing is the new provincial co-ordinator for the Verified Beef Production Plus program. Downing is an agrologist, and she and her husband raise cattle near Metiskow in east-central Alberta. This is a pivotal time in the beef industry and VBP+ “has the potential to establish Canada as a leader in sustainable verification and result […] Read more

Men standing in field

Alberta producers aren’t sold on sustainability certification programs

Only 30 per cent of farmers believe sustainability certification 
will be part of doing business in the next five years

Reading Time: 4 minutes Alberta producers don’t know much about sustainability certification programs — but they don’t think it matters much anyway. Those were the key findings of a survey of 400 Alberta producers who were asked about sustainability practices on their farms. While producers are making headway on adopting sustainable production practices, they’re not yet sold on the […] Read more

Albertans a big part of beef researcher mentorship project

Albertans a big part of beef researcher mentorship project

Program connects up-and-coming applied researchers with beef sector

Reading Time: 2 minutes Several Albertans will be playing a key role in a Beef Cattle Research Council initiative that connects up-and-coming applied researchers with players in the beef sector. Four beef scientists were selected from applicants across the country for the 2015-16 edition of the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program, which had a successful pilot phase in 2014-15. Each is […] Read more

herding cattle by horseback

How the ‘verified sustainable beef’ process works

Reading Time: 2 minutes McDonald’s has started verifying producers, as part of its promise to start selling sustainable beef in 2016. Here’s what’s been happening on Alberta farms so far: Earlier this year, McDonald’s said it had a list of 40 “indicators” that will be used to rate a beef operation. The indicators — which cover areas such as […] Read more

Tim Oleksyn, chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council, acknowledges that organizations and research have to change to adapt to funding cuts.

Beef Cattle Research Council looking to stretch research dollars

Council chair says move to a ‘science cluster’ approach provides more bang for the research buck

Reading Time: 2 minutes Funding cuts and restructuring mean organizations such as the Beef Cattle Research Council need to change their research approach and be proactive, says the organization’s chair. Change and downsizing is affecting both government and university research, partly because of funding woes but also because research priorities are changing, said Tim Oleksyn, a mixed cattle and […] Read more

McDonalds restaurant sign

Canada picked for ‘sustainable beef pilot’

Five to Remember: The country’s largest beef buyer wants to establish its sustainability 
credentials, and that means big things for the cattle sector

Reading Time: 2 minutes It was anything but a conspiracy of silence. After all, McDonald’s announced to the world a year ago that it would start sourcing “verified sustainable beef” from some country on the planet beginning in 2016. But there was no big announcement when it decided Canada would be that country — although the fast-food giant told […] Read more

cover stories from Alberta Farmer newspaper

A memorable year in the books, and another one on the horizon

The past year reminded us — once again — to take nothing for granted, 
and that change is a constant

Reading Time: 2 minutes The year ended with the provincial political scene being turned on its head and a debate on how low the price a barrel of oil could fall. Who’d have thunk it — much less predicted it? The January 5 edition of Alberta Farmer takes a look back at some memorable stories from 2014 and some […] Read more