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May 6, 2022 Checking in with ABP

Coming together as an industry

If ever there was a time when we needed to come together as an industry, it’s now. We are stronger together, and we will need to be now to overcome the significant challenges we continue to face. 

Coming together is just what we did for the ABP Annual General Meeting (AGM) in early March. The turnout was good, and the new delegates enjoyed spending time together and getting to know each other. It was great to have people step in to fill the delegate openings in the Southern zones. Unfortunately, we still have openings in the Northwest and Central Alberta. Consolidation over the past 30 years means producers are increasingly more spread out, and there are fewer of us raising more cattle. Engaging with producers in remote locations like the Northwest and central Alberta is logistically difficult, but I continue to hope a few more producers will step forward to fill the remaining vacancies to support this goal. If you would like to get involved, please be sure to contact us.

Connecting when we are far apart is difficult, but we can be grateful for the ways our producer organization helps make it happen. New technologies allowed us to continue connecting digitally during the pandemic. New ABP communications tools are keeping producers more informed and as in-person meetings become more frequent, producer engagement will increase as more face-to-face connections are made. I know we are all looking forward to that.

Continues below audio.


In a Special Edition of The Bovine, ABP Chair Dr. Melanie Wowk and General Manager Brad Dubeau join host Debra Murphy to re-cap the AGM. Listen to hear about some of the debated resolutions, funding changes, the communications tools, and next steps for ABP. Find this episode on Buzzsprout or download it now.

The issues we’re grappling with now in our industry are difficult to face, but you don’t face them alone. We are fortunate to have a strong producer organization like ABP, acting as a conduit to connect, represent or defend our industry.

The Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway labour dispute has created incredible concern for our industry and all of us who work within it. At press time, both parties have agreed to binding arbitration, however there are still issues that need to be resolved. The push is to have our federal government enforce a back to work order, possibly by classifying rail workers as an essential service. We have yet to see how this challenge will be overcome. It is my hope that as you read this, we have already found much needed resolve.

CP Rail and TCRC enter into binding arbitration

The rail dispute is a federal issue, but it highlights the need for ABP to act as a conduit, to bring awareness and change. Everyone in the beef industry can play a role now, sharing information with governments about the serious consequences this strike has for our industry. 

As a veterinarian and producer, I know how challenging it can be for any producer or feedlot operator unable to get feed whether through drought or shipping delays and supply chain issues. It’s important to communicate to consumers and governments that this is much worse for us than simply losing money. This is an issue that impacts the welfare of our cattle. We’re out here caring for and looking these animals in the eye every single day, and it’s extremely difficult to contemplate having no feed for them. Even if we find an alternative, given their differing stages of production, they will still face significant stress and health impacts from a forced feed change.

I strongly encourage you to write letters to your MP and MLA, letting them know the difficult position we’re in, raising your voice to ensure our industry has and continues to be heard. We’re also throwing our full support behind the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association in their efforts to persuade Ottawa to take immediate action. We’re all in this together.

ABP continues its relentless pursuit to work hard to continue to create a vibrant and sustainable industry. Connection is what our beef industry has always thrived on. Now more than ever, our industry needs to reconnect, and stand together.

In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” 


This article was first published in Volume 2 Issue 2 of ABP Magazine (April 2022). Watch for more digital content from the magazine on ABP Daily.

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About the Author

Melanie Wowk
Melanie Wowk and her husband operate Wowk Ranch, a multigenerational cow-calf operation near Beauvallon. Melanie has also been primarily a cow-calf veterinarian since 1993, operating her own practice, and she now works in the pharmaceutical industry. Melanie has served on the ABP board as Finance Chair, Vice Chair, and Chair.

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