I just came back today from the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in Calgary and I’m charged with renewed energy to promote the beef industry that I so love! This was the inaugural year for the conference. I was a late registrant (I signed up 2 weeks before the conference) so my expectations for the event were hopeful, and boy were they more than exceeded. There was so many good speakers and topics, I just couldn’t hit them all (that coupled with the fact I brought our 3 almost 4 month old baby with solo to the conference). So from the sessions I attended, I wanted to share with you my top 3 take away tips for the industry.
#3 The Productivity Session
This session provided me with tips and information that the larger scale beef producers are doing that we could implement on our farm on a small scale basis. The one producer shared a comment with us that really resonated with me. He said, it’s only a mistake if you make it twice and we need to let the youth be more involved.
I work side-by-side with my 10 year old son. Many times I lose my temper at him because he makes a simple mistake when we are working cows, that causes us to take more time. I need to remember he is not doing this on purpose, and that he is only 10! I should be happy that he wants to be involved in the family operation and work with us. I need to encourage that. Easy to say, tough to do!
Another take away message was that pain medication is the new Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, “I use that $h!t on everything!” And yes, this is true. Since the introduction of pain medication for cattle, on our farm, our antibiotic use has gone down, and weight loss by sick cattle has decreased also. There are a few more options now that are very cost effective and they are wonderful for our industry!
#2 The session on Antimicrobial use and resistance
This session confirmed that what we are doing on our farm is good. We only use antibiotics when an animal medically needs them. Just like you and I wouldn’t take antibiotics for “just in case” situations. We also consult with our vet on most issues that we are faced with on our farm just to make sure we are using the right antibiotic for the job. We want to make sure we are matching the right dose and type of antibiotic for the job. We, along with many other beef producers, are doing our part to manage antibiotics use on the farm.
The second, and actually most interesting fact I learned at this session was that we are surrounded by antimicrobial resistance bacteria! They live everywhere, even permafrost!
#1 The session on Competitiveness
This session I wasn’t so excited about, I have to say. The description of the session was “…competitiveness in the global marketplace…” Well, I have to say the speaker from JBS blew my socks off!! First off, for those not familiar with JBS, they are a major beef feedlot and packing plant in Brooks, Alberta. One of the speakers messages was “Every day you do not engage, a marketer, or activist defines you to a skeptical public.” WOW! That really fuelled my fire to re-kickstart my blog. If I could just reach 1 person a post. Tell that 1 person that what I’m doing on my farm. That 1 person might tell another person about what they learned about beef farming from a beef farmer. And that person might tell another, and so on! I could start a wave! A wave of information that would clear up misconceptions about how our food is produce!
And that would make this farmer a very happy farmer!