With harvest nearing an end and frost in the air, it is that time of year again for the province’s beef industry.
Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) are starting up their series of regional meetings with the Zone 6 local meeting set for Nov. 1 at the Ponoka Royal Canadian Legion. As usual, the free supper goes at 6 p.m. with the meeting kicking off at 7.
While there will be the regular information presented, including the 2016 annual report and video, ABP Zone 6 director Tim Sekura explained this year’s focus will be a bit different.
“As an organization, we want to get more of the membership involved and engaged in the process,” Sekura stated in a phone interview last week.
“We’ll ask people to sit and have supper, but while doing that, take the opportunity to talk amongst those at the table and come up with some questions or concerns they’d like addressed. There will be paper and pens there for people to write them down for us to collect.”
Sekura said the meeting portion will begin with the video presentation, complete with the annual report, and hopefully that will answer at least some of the questions.
In addition, Sekura said there will be updates provided on a few outstanding issues.
“So far, it’s been a lot of talk and consultation with government, but nothing is really going anywhere yet. The government is still moving through the slow process for implementing the checkoff increase, so we are pushing it forward,” he explained.
He also figures there will be some discussion about the most recent feedlot shutdown announcement in the province and more about traceability.
“I don’t expect (the shutdown at Western Feedlots) to really affect the market, though what will hurt is having 80,000 head out there and far less buying power available. With so many out there right now bleeding, it certainly would give an opportunity to come in at lower prices, but the issue with that then becomes financing, which is drying up in this market,” he said.
“And we’ve all heard about how consumers want to know where their food is coming from, but from the little informal research I’ve done people don’t really care where it comes from, they are only concerned about whether it’s a good price and it’s safe. Most don’t even know what traceability is.”
What Sekura is really hoping the meeting will accomplish is garnering information from producers on what they want, and their concerns.
“I want to get the information from our members so that, as their representative, I can speak on behalf of their concerns, their issues to our executive and then be able to bring that up to the government and industry,” he said.