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September 1, 2022

A message from the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency

It is my privilege to have been elected Chair of the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency in August following our AGM. As a beef producer, I know how important it is to have strong representation on our national boards, and I am confident I can bring the voice of Canadian producers to the table.

I have some big boots to fill. Our past chair, Chad Ross, held the reins for three years through some challenging times in our industry and always kept our stakeholders needs at the top of his priority list. He kicked off a very focused new five year goals plan, which I intent to continue leading.

At the top of my priority list, is engaging a new demographic of producers. Not only is it important to keep young producers engaged and educated on check-off and the value of our investments, but also bringing them right into the fold at the board level. I’m excited to welcome our new youth member to the board for the very first time. Julie Mortenson was elected by a group of her young beef producer peers at the Young Cattlemen’s Council, and will have a seat at our table. We’re not all going to be around forever, and we have to be willing to pass down the knowledge from our organizations to fresh minds and fresh hands ready to dig in and get to work.

It is also extremely important that young producers in Canada are able to be well versed in the economics of our industry. This applies to their own operations, but also the sustainability of our national boards and organizations. We can deliver so much value to our industry, and I want to help our young producers gain more education and knowledge to keep our industry economically sustainable. We have some great strategies coming up that are going to inject some great tools into the pockets of young producers, and ultimately help them become more engaged with us at the Agency, as well as a deeper understanding of industry and operational economics.

Along with developing relationships with younger beef producers, we also want to strengthen our relationships with other organizations and find ways to work together. We have come a long way over the past five years, and it is our key priority to ensure the best use of the check-off dollars that the provincial associations allocate. We are focused on working with those associations and our national service providers to get as many dollars into making returns for producers. This could be anything from sharing detailed collection information with provinces to better understand where their cattle are moving, to leading the return on investment study with service providers into the value that check-off and import levies generate for our industry.

We have worked incredibly hard to change the way we administer the Agency over the last handful of years. We’re now below 4 per cent on actual administration costs, we’ve decreased the delinquent import levy accounts to nearly zero, we have brought on a new stream of revenue by administering the pork import levy, and our inspection program has been developed from the ground up. The Agency is doing things more efficiently than ever and continuing to drive more value for our industry.

The Members who sit at the Agency table bring voices from all parts of our industry. Producers, packers, importers, wholesalers, and everyone in between is represented from every part of the country. Many of our Members have said this is one of the best boards to sit on because the whole value chain sits around the table together and learns from each other to find solutions and paths forward.

I encourage everyone to connect with us or with their provincial Agency representative to learn more about check-off, and how their check-off investments are generating value for our industry. Visit our website www.cdnbeefcheckoff.ca to learn more.

I’m excited to get working with this great group of beef industry friends, and to find more ways to reach out to more producers across the country with the great work that the check-off is doing for us.

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About the Author

Jeff Smith
Jeff Smithwas elected Chair of the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency in August 2022. He is also the General Manager at Gateway Livestock Exchange based in Taber, Alberta, and has been in the livestock marketing industry since 2001. Jeff has participated in a number of boards within the industry, including the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association (ACFA), Alberta Livestock Dealers and Order Buyers, Forty Mile Feeders Association and Alberta Verified Beef Production. Along with his partners at Deer Creek Livestock, Jeff was an honoured recipient of the 2020 Alberta Beef Producers Environmental Stewardship Award. The Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency administers the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off; a mandatory levy collected on cattle sales throughout Canada to fund research and marketing activities on behalf of the entire industry. 

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