REGINA – Agribition attracts more than 800 international guests from over 70 countries interested in Canadian agriculture products.
This year the international attention comes right after the largest beef recall in Canadian History.
For Hall’s Cattle Company owner, Barry Hall, the show this week is a much needed boost after the XL Foods E.coli outbreak lowered calf prices this fall.
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“I guess everybody was hoping to get $1000 a calf, but we were down $100 a calf maybe a bit more,” said Hall.
In his herd of 250 the loss added up, and if international interest falters he could take another hit.
The Government took steps today to remind foreign buyers Canadian Beef is safe. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Dan Anderson, announced $250, 000 towards enhancing livestock traceability.
“People want to know where their food is coming from, and we’re willing to do that,” said Anderson. “Canada is leading the way in that, and this commitment today is one more step towards high quality food coming from our country to other countries.”
The traceability program isn’t a new concept, but it’s becoming more popular. Farmers can tag their cattle with a chip that provides information about the cow.
Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister, Lyle Stewart, says anything we can do to make our beef more attractive to foreign buyers is worth it.
He announced $56, 000 to try and get those customers through the Agribition doors.
“I know that if we can get the buyers here, they’ll be impressed with cattle genetics, livestock genetics in Western Canada and in particular Saskatchewan,” said Stewart.
Hall says the traceability initiative is something he has had to work into his schedule.
“It’s taken some getting used to,” he said. “It’s a lot of extra work for us.”
But local producer, Glen Gabel, says it’s work he’s willing to do if it means bigger profits.
“Everytime you can do something to help promote and solidify your industry I think it’s all good investment,” said Gabel.
“I guess I’m a little old fashioned, but I think that’s going to be the future of the industry,” said Hall.