Looking back, 2020 was quite a year for the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA), just as it was for everyone. In early March of 2020, we began responding to the COVID situation; where we were influential in the approval of both the ‘Fed Cattle Feed Assistance’ program and the ‘Set Aside’ program.
Looking forward, as we head into Spring 2021, we continue to work to ensure this program will be available should we encounter further issues with our packing plants.
We continue to push for meaningful reforms to the suite of Business Risk Management programs at both the provincial and federal levels. This has been a major lobbying effort for ACFA and while we have increased government awareness on the need to eliminate the cap, which has not been changed in 17 years, this has not yet come to fruition. With a reform of the BRM programs under the fed-prov Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP) scheduled for 2023, we will continue to push for this amendment.
In addition to working on programming and policy, we worked to make sure our members were kept informed. We created a COVID specific website with up to the minute updates on policy, news, and government programs, and we maintained a feedlot specific Best Management Practices Guide to ensure our members had the most timely and relevant resources to keep employees safe on their farms.
Like many organizations, we shifted our events to online and hosted valuable webinars to ensure members had access to facts and experts to navigate the changes. The 2020 Alberta Beef Industry Conference was our last in-person event of 2020 which was greatly successful, raising $83,000 for Dreams Take Flight. This year’s conference was virtual and will be available for viewing at www.abiconference.ca.
ACFA usually hosts MLAs and government officials at educational networking dinners and events. In lieu of these events, we donated 8,000 pounds of Alberta beef to the provincial Food Banks and were recognized by Premier Kenney for doing so.
In the fall, the Board and staff developed a new five-year strategic plan. Coming out of this strategic planning session our focus did not significantly change but we will put a finer focus on three key result areas:
Going forward, and using these areas as our strategic focus, we will build on our strengths and resources to affect a positive change for the fed cattle industry in Alberta and federally through the National Cattle Feeders’ Association.
This article was first published in the May 2021 edition of ABP Magazine. Stay tuned to ABP Daily to see more content from the magazine.