Ponoka rancher Tony Saretsky was elected as the vice-president of Canadian Cattlemen’s Association at their annual general meeting in Ottawa in March.
Saretsky owns Cantriex Feedyards (5,000 head capacity and 900 acres) just west of Ponoka, which buys and sells cattle, primarily for export. Saretsky has been a director with the CCA for four years.
“My initial reaction was that I was somewhat humbled by it because it was not something I had aspired to be,” said Saretsky. “I agreed to take the job on when people from all across Canada came to tell me that they would endorse my nomination. So I had support from all across the country and I decided if that was the case I would seriously consider it.”
Saretsky was very humbled by it because he is a first generation cattleman and started out from small beginnings as a hired man who went on to obtain an education
“The rest is history and I’m quite delighted to accept the job,” he said.
As the VP he hopes to open up the lines of communications between the organization and the farmers of the issues that are being dealt with.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize the representation that they do get and there are people who are tending to issues in our industry daily and I think that many of the outcomes are not relayed back to producers.”
He thinks that a lot of information is only relayed through quarterly meetings and the producers feel they are being left out.
The two other major items that he wants to address are the country of origin labeling with the United States and the business risk management issues with the government of Canada.
At the meeting the board passed several resolutions including directing the government of Canada to ensure that any further market openings be in conformity with the World Organization for Animal Health. They also adopted a motion to instrument grading within the Canadian Grading System as soon as possible.
The CCA was established in 1932 and according to their website is the only national association representing the interests of Canada’s 90,000 beef producers. The board of directors is made up of 27 producers from eight provinces. They are involved in issues including trade, animal health and grading/inspection.