Connection plays an integral role in our industry, and here at ABP we are no different. This past year our focus has been on communication and connection. Connecting and communicating with producers for re-engagement with our organization. Connecting with industry organizations and communicating with government tirelessly, on the dire drought situation facing producers.
The support programs that were put in place were a result of the collaborative efforts of working together with Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, Western Stock Growers’ Association, and the Alberta Grazing Leaseholders Association. This joint effort to help develop programs to alleviate some of the pressure on producers severely impacted by drought, was successful in bringing funding relief, but it does not mean we have taken our eye off the ball. We are not out of the woods yet. Although the Alberta and Federal government support alleviated some of the pressure for producers this fall, it did not solve the problem completely. It did, however, give producers time to make critical decisions.
At the time of writing this column, it is still drastically dry throughout the western provinces, and we are already looking at what we need to do in the new year, depending on where the drought is going. Proactive conversations are already taking place about this issue. At ABP, we will be working towards better support programs that trigger much more quickly for producers. We are working towards and strongly encouraging the government to put together programs that trigger more efficiently and pay out faster.
The significant efforts of our team weren’t solely focused on drought this year though. In fact, our talented team was in the relentless pursuit of bringing new communication tools designed to connect and provide insights to producers, like the new ABP App, ABP Magazine and ABP Daily. These efforts are bringing relevant insights, engaging producers, and realizing a stronger connection to our organization.
It is our hope that producers will also connect and engage more than ever before with us moving forward as well. We encourage producers to participate in the critical conversation around the fiscal discussion at ABP. Every voice matters. Without producer engagement we are jeopardizing the industry and our ability to respond to issues that have an extreme negative impact – whether at the provincial or national level.
We know that connecting in person over the past year has been difficult due to the pandemic and we recognize that virtual versus face-to-face does matter. So, we are eager and excited to be back out and in-person with producers on a more regular basis as restrictions allow. We are looking forward to that day just as much as I know you are – whether it be at auction markets, purebred and commercial events or industry meetings. Whatever our fiscal situation allows, we are going to engage with you.
What we did learn from this past year though, was the value of virtual meeting options for producers. In some cases, we had participation from a greater outreach of producers who otherwise would not be able to attend in person. With that in mind, we will ensure that virtual options will remain.
As 2021 comes to a close and I look ahead for our industry, I suspect that we may see a continued decrease in the mother cow herd, as producers face difficult decisions to disperse percentages of their herd to get through with less or limited feed during the winter months. Fortunately, we don’t see that percentage as high as it was formerly projected.
I feel very strongly that better days are ahead for the cow-calf industry and the cow-calf sector. With tightening supplies, we should see that leverage back to the cow-calf and the feeding sector because the demand for beef continues to be exceptionally strong.
Until then, I encourage you to connect with us at ABP. Together, through communication and connection, we will continue to build an even more resilient and world-class beef industry.