Cowboy politics in Alberta is going to have an impact on cattle producers across the country. The $3 per head cattle check off in Alberta has long gone to an organization called Alberta Beef Producers. The $3 is deducted every time an animal changes hands. ABP and Alberta Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld haven’t been on good terms in recent times. Groeneveld, with considerable government money, has set up the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, forging a strategy without consultations with ABP. Now Groeneveld is planning to introduce legislation that will make the cattle check off refundable. Alberta is home to many massive feedlots. For them, the check off adds up to a lot of money. Most observers expect a significant percentage of the check off dollars will be lost. At its recent meeting in Edmonton, ABP delegates examined budgetary cuts and financial restructuring in preparation for the change. The expected loss in revenue goes beyond ABP. The money also goes to fund marketing organizations like the Beef Information Centre, which promotes beef domestically and the Canada Beef Export Federation, which works to get Canadian beef into foreign markets. Watch for these organizations to have their funding reduced as a result of the policy change in Alberta. I’m Kevin Hursh.
Kevin Hursh, PAg, CAC