In honour of Canada’s Agriculture Day, Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) Chair Kelly Smith-Fraser had the opportunity to share a glimpse into her family’s cattle operation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau. Meeting virtually, the three discussed Alberta’s role in the Canadian food supply chain and issues that impact producers on their farms and ranches.
The conversation began with an overview of Kelly’s cattle operation, NuHaven Cattle Co., where she shared her passion for the industry she was raised in, and now represents as ABP Chair. She spoke about raising cattle on Alberta’s native grasslands and their ability to sequester carbon while providing wildlife habit, expressing that producers don’t feel recognized as part of the solution when it comes to conservation and the environment.
The economic strain on the industry this year was discussed and how it impacted the beef supply chain – from producers to processing facilities. The government’s decision to declare agriculture an essential service played a critical role in managing the pandemic. Kelly affirmed that as we continue to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, the health and safety of processing plant workers must stay top of mind as governments develop the next phase of vaccinations.
During the virtual farm tour, Kelly was able to highlight a few key locations on her ranch with the help of her daughter Aubrey, who had a chance to show off her 4-H cattle. The tour went through the feed alley for a closer look into the pens with her replacement heifers, bulls and a few cows on feed. Kelly talked about the hay feed they grow to supplement the cattle through the winter, and how they rotationally graze pastures in the summer that have been in her family for generations.
“I am so proud to be part of agriculture and to celebrate it. To me, agriculture means the deep heritage and roots that we have in our industry, and it means celebrating the people in our industry. We are hardworking, honest, reliable people that care deeply for what we do and what we look after, whether it is livestock or crops. We produce an incredible product that is not only nutritionally great, but environmentally beneficial as well. We are proud to share Alberta beef our friends and neighbours, across the country and globally,” said Smith-Fraser.
You can view a clip from the tour here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CQ43T3ypsE