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2010 CALGARY STAMPEDE: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
Athletes and agriculture The canadian beef advantage: promoting canadian beef to the world Organic agricultural entrepreneurs
The official publication of the International Agriculture Committee SHOWCASING THE
AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY TO THE WORLD
M E S S AG E F R O M C A N A DA ' S M I N I S T E R O F AG R I C U LT U R E A N D AG R I - F O O D S A N D MINISTER FOR THE C A N A D I A N W H E AT B O A R D Gerry Ritz M i n i s te r o f A g r i c u l t u re and Agri-Foods
M E S S AG E F R O M M I N I S T E R O F A L B E R TA AG R I C U LT U R E A N D R U R A L D E V E LO P M E N T
J a c k H ay d e n Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
A warm welcome to all guests at the 2010 Calgary Stampede! The Calgary Stampede is a great showcase for Canadian agriculture both for Canada's international guests and for all consumers. As Canada's Agriculture Minister, I am very proud of the reputation of Canadian agriculture on the international stage. By putting Farmers First, this Government is helping to make sure that the future of Canadian agriculture is bright. We are building on deep traditions and working with our partners to generate economic growth, jobs and prosperity going forward. Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, we are delivering real results for agriculture and investing in world class research and innovation to move us forward. We are proud of our international reputation for producing safe highquality food. Our Government continues to open international markets and expand opportunities to sell our world-class beef, cattle, livestock genetics and many other products. We are working hand-in-hand with industry and other levels of government to continue to earn trust, respect and market access that Canadian farmers and processors deserve. Congratulations to the Calgary Stampede for being such a great ambassador for Canadian agriculture. Best wishes to all for an enjoyable time at the stampede!
Agriculture is not only the largest renewable industry in our province but the foundation which Alberta was built on. Through hard work, dedication and innovation, our forefathers overcame many challenges to create a province filled with opportunities. That spirit is celebrated every year at the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede lives up to its reputation as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth" by combining the past and the present together seamlessly in the heart of one of Canada's busiest metropolitan cities. As one of the finest agricultural sporting events in the world, the Stampede provides networking opportunities for agricultural businesses and highlights the different ways the agricultural industry impacts all of our daily activities. As Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, I encourage you to come and experience this memorable event this summer. The International Room, located in the Agricultural Building, provides international visitors with the unique opportunity to learn about Alberta's agriculture industry in a hands-on setting. Producers, breeders and top Canadian cattlemen and women are available on site to answer questions about Alberta's agriculture industry. In addition to visiting the Stampede, I encourage all visitors to take some time to enjoy our mountain parks and many outlying communities as part of your stay. Our famous western hospitality and breathtaking natural scenery will make you glad you did.
Dr. David Chalack, President and Chairman of the Board, Calgary Stampede I would like to personally invite you to come and experience one of the most unique agriculture showcases in the world. For more than 120 years, Stampede Park has been an important gathering place for agriculture in Alberta. We connect urban, rural and international communities and promote and preserve western heritage and values. The 2010 edition of the Calgary Stampede promises to be the best ever; please accept my invitation and join us at The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
And we thank
The Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee extends heartfelt thanks to the talented volunteer writers who enthusiastically captured the stories shared here. They took time from their work to demonstrate their curiosity, keen interviewing skills and strong writing abilities. Our writers include members of the International Agriculture Committee, other Calgary Stampede volunteers and industry colleagues.
COVER CREDIT: Peter Thompson. Read about the artist and his work on page 7.
G R E E T I N G S F RO M T H E AG R I C U LT U R A L M A N AG E R S O F T H E C A LG A R Y S TA M PE D E M a x Fr i t z Senior Manager Agriculture, Calgary Stampede
M E S S AG E F R O M THE CHAIR Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee Te d H a n e y C h a i r, I n te r n a t i o n a l A g r i c u l t u re C o m m i t te e
Welcome to the 2010 issue of International Profile, the official publication of the Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee. The 10 days of Stampede celebrate a rich Western heritage. Founded in the days when settlers came west for fertile farmland and vast grassland prairies--it is a heritage of hospitality, co-operation and free enterprise. These values live on today, as you'll discover in the pages of our publication and our stories of men and women of agriculture; their dedication, their innovations and their achievements. Rober t Wise Agriculture Manager, Calgary Stampede
A l l i s o n Wr i g h t Agriculture Manager, Calgary Stampede
The Agriculture Department of the Calgary Stampede invites all international visitors with an involvement in the agriculture industry and agriculture leaders right here at home to join us during the 2010 Calgary Stampede. As we fulfill our Agriculture vision to create meaningful year-round experiences for urban and rural audiences on Stampede Park by producing and hosting signature programs that feature animals, showcases and western events, we invite you to experience this year's events. 2010 will see enhancements made to our existing program like the Beef Cattle Showcase, the Agrium Agtivity in the City--Discovery Centre, and Heavy Horse Programs; it will also include the introduction of a brand-new event, the Cowboy Up Challenge. The Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge, the first of its kind in Canada, is a multi-faceted sporting event that showcases both horse and rider as they manoeuvre through a series of obstacles demonstrating both their amazing horsemanship skills and incredible speed. We will also of course continue to host our signature programs like the UFA Steer Classic, World Championship Blacksmiths' Competition, International Livestock Auctioneer Competition and the ever-popular BMO Farm Family Awards to name a few. As international agriculture guests we promise that you will be treated to genuine western hospitality as you connect with Alberta's agriculture experts. All of our efforts would not be possible without the amazing support we receive throughout the year. We would like to recognize the great contributions that are made by our volunteers, contributors and industry partners. It is because of these efforts we continue to be a year-round, world-class gathering place for Calgarians and visitors while preserving and promoting western heritage and values. We look forward to seeing you at the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth" this July.
The spirit of free enterprise has taken our agriculture and agri-food industries into the forefront of innovation--and onto the world stage. Each year, the International Agriculture Committee welcomes thousands of agriculture visitors from across Canada and around the world to the Stampede. The International Agriculture Committee works to bring these members of the world agricultural community together to share ideas, facilitate business opportunities and foster cultural understanding. This year, the Committee is increasing its focus on business--on how we can directly meet the needs of Canadian companies which are active in world trade. The culmination of this focus will be an enhanced environment, where agriculture business can take place-- particularly during the 10-day festival--and which will bring agriculture companies closer to the great brand that is the Calgary Stampede. To undertake this task, we have re-structured the International Agriculture Committee to increase the involvement of all committee members. The new structure features two vice chairs (Keith Jones, Vice Chair of Sponsorship and Strategic Planning; and John Lee, Vice Chair of Communications and Events) who work closely with our five working group leads. Operationally sound, the new structure utilizes the many diverse talents and strengths of our volunteer members to ensure that the Committee and its services are aligned with the needs of Canadian and international agriculture companies. We are excited about the prospect of further expanding our program and the resources that it will bring to agriculture and agri-food stakeholders. In embracing the frontier spirit of free enterprise, we are also continuing the tradition of great Western hospitality to Canadian and international agriculture guests.
athletes and agriculture the canadian beef advantage: promoting canadian beef to the world
THE INTERNATIONAL ROOM Promoting Alberta & Canadian Agriculture Welcome to all Agriculture Exhibitors and International visitors. The International Room on Stampede Park presents agricultural product and service exhibits, shares information on industry sectors and invites visitors to socialize with producers, industry specialists, exporters and government representatives. Members of all Stampede committees, representing Canada's diverse agricultural sectors--are encouraged to bring their international guests and visitors too. Located on the second floor of the Agriculture Building on Stampede Park, the International Room is open each day of Stampede from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (1100 to 1900). Our International Agriculture Committee members are on hand to welcome you, provide information and help ensure you have a memorable Stampede experience. If you represent an agricultural group planning to visit this year's Stampede, contact us now and we'll pre-register your group members for their visit to the International Room; we'll have your nametags ready. Follow the Agriculture links on www.calgarystampede.com to the International Agriculture/International Room page.
2 4 organic agricultural entrepreneurs
I N T E R N AT I O N A L A G R I C U LT U R E C O M M I T T E E Cam Clark (Director Liaison)
Ted Haney (Chair)
Keith Jones (Vice Chair Strategic Planning & Sponsorship)
John Lee (Vice Chair Communications & Events)
John Arnold Barry Bennett Kerrie Bennett Doug Blair Allan Browarny David Collins Anne Dunford Norma Dunn Aaron Grant (Sponsorship Lead)
Larry Koper Myra Lever Syd Loeppky (Strategic Planning & Innovation Lead)
Julie Stitt Deb Verbonac Deb Ward (on leave)
Jan Warren (Communications Lead)
Candace Lyle (Events Lead)
Tina Zakowsky (Profile Lead)
Evelyn Main Herb McLane (Past Chair)
Special thanks to:
Jennifer Norrie Dave Phillips Gary Pike Doug Sauter Rick Smith
Tracey Foster (Agriculture Programming Coordinator Calgary Stampede)
Shannon Haney Bill Klasky Kate Kolstad Larry Konschuk
THE PROFILE TEAM Publisher: Editor:
Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee Norma Dunn Kate Kolstad Evelyn Main Herb McLane
Special thanks to:
Doris Rempel, Canadian Beef Breeds Council
Lotte Elsgaard, Canada Beef Export Federation
The Profile is the official publication of the Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee. Published yearly, the Profile celebrates and showcases Alberta and Canadian agriculture to the world. This is the 18th edition of the Profile. The Profile is distributed throughout Alberta and across Canada to agricultural producers, breed associations and industry representatives. The Profile is shared with worldwide friends of the Calgary Stampede and distributed at major American and International stock shows, through international agricultural associations, and through selected embassies and consulates. To be added to the Profile distribution list, email the International Agriculture Committee at: email@example.com Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content within the Profile. Opinions expressed by individuals profiled within articles are their own. We apologize for any inaccuracies and accept no liability.
The Calgary Stampede July 9 � 18, 2010 July 8 � 17, 2011 July 6 � 15, 2012 July 5 � 14, 2013 www.calgarystampede.com
Graphic Design: Eldon B. Rice Design Printer: Apache Superior Printing Ltd.
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
J a n Wa r r e n
Jan Warren has a passion for food and agriculture. She spends her days working for Alberta Agriculture, helping producers add value to their farm produce. She brought that passion to the Calgary Stampede's International Agriculture Committee with impressive results. BY JENN NORRIE
add value to their farm produce by offering reputable references along with undaunted support where needed. Within the AARD core there are many different specialists and resources ranging from food scientists to packaging technology. Jan's efforts may also include business-plan development, advice on financial resources and challenging the existing markets. Jan's unique role and her volunteer efforts with the Calgary Stampede have provided many Alberta producers with opportunities to showcase their products to the world in more ways than they could have imagined. In 2003 Gary Spurrell was managing AARD's display in the barns at the Calgary Stampede. He played an integral role in bringing Jan together with the Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee. Jan Warren is a true enthusiast for agriculture, food and Alberta. Growing up between a grain elevator and a sugar beet field in the southern Alberta community of Iron Springs, surrounded by agriculture, it was almost inevitable that she followed this path in life. A Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from the University of Alberta led her to an exciting career with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD). Jan developed a passion for healthy, locally grown food and has gone the extra mile to convince the people of Alberta to do the same by encouraging them to be more conscious of the food they eat and where it comes from. Jan strongly believes that we all need to support our producers by consuming local foods. Alberta receives more sunshine than any other province in Canada. The sunshine, along with irrigation, allows the province to grow some unexpected foods as well as providing endless possibilities for developing new food products. Jan's current role as a new venture business development specialist with AARD allows her to work with her passion for food and soil. She assists producers who want to diversify or The late Don Stewart, former Calgary Stampede senior agriculture manager; Ilona Braun, former chair of the International Agriculture Committee; and Keith Jones, former president of AVAC, wanted to bring innovation and diversity to guests visiting the International Agriculture Room. They sponsored Jan to bring in local producers from all the major agriculture sectors in Alberta to promote their differentiated branded products. Each day in the International Agriculture Room, a different local producer would prepare a sample of their local Alberta product for the guests to taste. This "Tastings" program was extremely successful. By 2006, the program's success made it difficult for producers to prepare enough food to satisfy the demand. Derrick Dale, executive chef of the Stampede Commissary, and his staff joined the program. They prepared the food according to the local producers' instructions. Featured producers were free to answer questions about their products and promote their various business developments. The producers gained experience and knowledge working with the chefs and food service team, and Derrick continued to expand his list of THE PROFILE
"Jan is very personable and very knowledgeable about the agriculture industry. She goes through a lot of effort to support the agriculture industry in Alberta. She knows what it takes to get that carrot or cow to the market. I've had numerous opportunities to see her in action, everything from trout farming in Leduc to Chinook Honey. Jan is always enthusiastic. She loves what she does and it is very evident in the way that she presents herself." MAXWELL LAWRENCE, CHEF INSTRUCTOR, SOUTHERN ALBERTA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
"Jan's passion for innovative Alberta food products (and the people and companies who make them) has made a tremendous contribution to the agriculture industry in Alberta. She has introduced a generation of Alberta chefs and food lovers to the bounty of Alberta products... and her enthusiasm for food innovation and Alberta's food entrepreneurs is infectious! This enthusiasm has infused the Southern Alberta culinary community, and the Calgary Stampede, with excitement about what Alberta has to offer." KEITH JONES, VICE CHAIR, CALGARY STAMPEDE INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE For more than 10 years, the commissary at the Calgary Stampede has been very supportive of local food and producers. In 2008, an official program was launched to bring local food to all Calgary Stampede menus. The "Grown Right. Here" program is designed to support Alberta growers and the agriculture industry. Their efforts expose the millions of visiting consumers throughout the year to the products that can be found on local farms near Stampede Park. Jan has played an integral part throughout as the Tastings program has evolved, helping the Calgary Stampede, the International Agriculture Committee, food service chefs, and many local food producers. When Jan isn't travelling around southern Alberta working with producers and developing new ideas, you can find her hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. She's a mother to four and a grandmother to two. Jan hopes to travel to Australia and the Mediterranean in the future, hike mountain trails, and to reconnect with friends she has made from all over the world through the International Room during the 10 days of Stampede. You can reach Jan at firstname.lastname@example.org Jenn Norrie is an Agriculture Enthusiast and member of the International Agriculture Committee. She enjoys travelling the world to meet people and learn about their agriculture practices. Jenn can be reached at email@example.com
local food sources and suppliers for events held throughout the year at Stampede Park. The network evolved, and after a couple of spring bus tours to the farms themselves, all realized that the interest in local, healthy food was much larger than the small projects had thus far attained. By 2007, it was no longer feasible to limit the Tastings program to the International Room. The program expanded with a trial project serving featured Alberta food products from local producers daily in "Mel's Place," an eatery in the Stampede agricultural barns.
"I worked with Jan in my previous position with AVAC where we featured new and emerging food companies. Essentially we came up with ideas and contacts and she did everything else to make it happen, almost all on her own time. I continue to work with her today on new food products featuring barley such as barley pancakes, muffins and pita breads. Jan is extremely personable and dedicated." MIKE LESLIE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ALBERTA BARLEY COMMISSION 4
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
International Agriculture Committee:
Linking Alberta Agriculture with the World
WHO COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED 26 YEARS AGO THAT A SMALL VOLUNTEER GROUP WITHIN THE CALGARY STAMPEDE, POURING DRINKS FOR INTERNATIONAL GUESTS IN A QUIET BACK ROOM WITH PEANUT SHELLS SCATTERED ALL OVER THE FLOOR, WOULD EVOLVE TO WHAT WE SEE IT AS TODAY. BY K E R R I E B E N N E T T In its early days, the International Agriculture Committee (IAC) was associated with the export of Alberta beef genetics centered around the Roundup show held in October. What began as a small hosting committee based around beef genetics in the original Calgary Stampede Agriculture office has slowly transformed into much more. The original group found the need to add additional volunteers who not only had a love for agriculture, but who also had experience in business and marketing to add another layer to the committee. Year after year, our committee volunteers travel to the Houston and Denver stock shows, the Royal shows in Sydney and Canberra, Australia, as well as the Royal shows in England and Scotland in search of new ideas for the committee. Twenty-six years ago, the committee was fully funded by the Calgary Stampede and Alberta government. Some time after, with the IAC evolving and growing every year, it was decided that the committee should develop their own budgets and seek sponsors for the hosting room. The International Room today is the committee's fifth hosting location. We see more visitors every year, and as we get bigger, we focus more on business aspects in all areas of agriculture, no longer just beef. After 10 years, the committee has sought volunteers from all sectors of the agriculture industry to impact every sector of primary production.
The best way to describe the International Agriculture Committee as we see it and understand it today is through our mission statement: "Bringing members of the world's agricultural community together to share ideas, facilitate business opportunities and to foster friendships and cultural understanding." More recently, the IAC initiated a local food products and further processing project through the Tastings program brought to guests of the room by committee member Jan Warren. Because of the program's overwhelming success, the Calgary Stampede has taken the program to a new level and encompasses the idea across Stampede Park throughout the food services division.
The IAC has been honoured to host almost every major international livestock congress that has come to Stampede Park, most recently the 2006 World Simmental Congress and the 2009 All Canada Sheep Classic. Why not share in the best kept secret of the Calgary Stampede and bring your guests to the International Room the next time you have the opportunity to experience the Calgary Stampede? We have one of the few air conditioned areas on Stampede Park with a live feed of the daily rodeo action. We also feature daily musical entertainment and receive visits from the Calgary Stampede queen and princesses. In addition to these important hospitality functions, our committee volunteers can help you find answers
to your questions about Alberta agribusiness. The International Agriculture Committee has a business plan, mission statement, entertainment, internet website, published magazine, multiple locations including International Alley in the barns and a booth in the Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City Discovery Centre, and a hosting room providing international guests with the ability to network with local businesses and producers. We look forward to visiting with you on your next visit. Kerrie Bennett, P.Ag. is a member of the International Agriculture Committee. She is extremely passionate about the agriculture industry and embraces it in both her professional and personal life. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
About Peter Thompson Peter was born in 1939 in England. His early art depicted the trappings of war that surrounded his early years during the Second World War. At 16, Peter entered a seminary to train as a foreign missionary, however the ordained ministry was not his calling. He continued his art education while serving two years of National service in the RAF, gaining an advanced level GCE in art. He then sought to earn a living using his love of art and began his career at Selfridges in London as a display artist. In 1967, Peter and his family emigrated to Canada where he worked in visual merchandising and design. In the late 80s at the urging of a family friend, Peter enrolled at the Alberta College of Art & Design to study watercolour, and was encouraged to show his work professionally. Since then, Peter has become known for his graphic images of the prairie, especially the grain elevators that once dotted the landscape. Peter has now realized two lifelong desires, working both as a Catholic lay evangelist and as an artist. His artwork supports his ministry which has taken him to many regions of the world.
"In studying geography as a young boy in England I learned that the Canadian prairies were known as the bread basket to the world. When I came to this country and travelled the prairies the images of the grain elevators symbolized in a real way this truth. Now the landscape is changing to embrace modern efficiencies, however, the grain elevator will be the symbol of this landscape for generations to come." P E T E R T H OM P S O N
Athletes and Agriculture Retired professional bull rider Cody Snyder, professional Sears share a common bond in the important role that Successful and respected athletes are not often known for their commitment to agriculture. But these three Alberta athletes apply the values and skills learned growing up in agriculture to their careers on and off the playing field.
Cody Snyder first gained fame in 1983 when the 20year-old became the first Canadian to win the World Bull Riding Championship in Oklahoma. When a wrist injury forced him to retire early, he switched his focus from riding bulls to producing bull riding events. Now, his new focus is exporting Canadian beef around the world. Growing up in a farming and ranching environment north of Medicine Hat, Alberta, where he helped care for all types of livestock was beneficial for young Cody. At age five he rode a calf in his first competition. Although he was quickly bucked off, he did not give up. From his first bull ride at age 12, Cody would eventually go on to be the first Canadian to win a World Bull Riding Championship. Cody describes this feat in Oklahoma as the pinnacle of his bull riding career. His career includes many other highlights: the Canadian Bull Riding Championship in 1986; a record for the highest score in the 1983 Canadian finals with a 95-point ride; and the thrill of riding in a special command performance for President Ronald Reagan in Landover, Maryland. Cody has nine Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifications in bull riding and was a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier. Not ready to give up rodeo when a wrist injury forced Cody to retire, he saw an opportunity to stay involved in the sport he loved. By 1993, Cody became aware that no one in Canada was producing Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events. "So I thought about it for about two minutes, and three months later my wife Rhonda and I put on the first-ever Canadian PBR event in Calgary," he says. "It was non-stop planning for three months," he admits. "But I believed I knew what to do. I've been around rodeo and bull riding my whole life." Still, it was just Cody putting the show together and his wife and business partner, Rhonda Schlenker-Snyder, creating the ads and marketing the event.
Cody acknowledges that most kids that end up in rodeo have a ranching background, but not many go from rodeo into the beef export industry. In August 2008, friend Don Beaton approached Cody with a business idea. "Don had an opportunity to start exporting Canadian beef to Russia and he figured I was the only person he knew personally who would know anything about it," Cody says. Cody contacted his friend in the industry, Gary Smith of Alta Exports International. Previously Cody worked with Alta Exports when the company sent him to China to investigate a bull-riding event. Gary put him in contact with Jim Sutton of Canada Agra Trading Ltd. "One and a half years later, I'm still working on it. It's an exciting, interesting process. I learn something new every day, but then I learned something new every day when I was riding bulls," Cody says. "Growing up on a farm is different than growing up in the city," Cody continues. "Kids nowadays are taught that it's okay to lose as long as you are having fun. I don't agree with that. Winning is what it's about. And that helps drive you in the rest of your life. You have to strive to be the best. It's not as fun to lose." Cody has applied this philosophy to his business practices as much as to his athletics. Canada Agra Trading Ltd. has successfully exported to Saudi Arabia and Vietnam and is working on Russia, but they are not satisfied. "We are trying to help Canadian beef producers export cattle all over the world," says Cody. "We're trying to expand the export market." In addition to his work with Canada Agra Trading, Cody still produces a number of Cody Snyder's BullBustin' events each year, including an annual charity event with the Calgary Ranchman's nightclub each July. He has also found time to provide colour commentary on bull riding and
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
hockey player Curtis Glencross, and barrel racer Lindsay agriculture plays in their lives. BY T I N A Z A KOW S K Y
PHOTO: courtesy of Cody Snyder
PHOTO: Calgary Stampede Archives
rodeo performances in the United States and Canada. He has been the voice of Calgary Stampede television since 1997. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. Cody credits his mom for his work ethic and his hard headedness. "My mom is 70 and she is the hardest working woman I know. She works 14 hours a day." He also knows he couldn't do all the things he does without support from his family. "My wife Rhonda is involved in all sides of the business. She's a big part of everything I do." Their two young daughters Jordyn and Reese also pitch in at events.
"I've never had problems with motivation," says Cody. "I don't back down at all. The way I was brought up is to get it done." And get it done he does. Although Cody is busy with his numerous business projects and his family, he admits he has "other irons in the fire." With this much drive and ambition, there is no doubt that we will continue to witness new innovations from Cody Snyder in Alberta's agricultural industry in the near future. For more information, please visit www.bullbustin.com (Cody Snyder's BullBustin') or www.catl.ca (Canada Agra Trading Ltd.).
PHOTO: Calgary Flames and Gerry Thomas
Curtis Glencross has gained fame playing in the National Hockey League. While he spends the hockey season playing left wing for the Calgary Flames, he spends part of the off-season on the rodeo circuit helping chuckwagon driver Rae Croteau Junior. Curtis was born in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, and grew up in Provost, Alberta. His dad, Mel, is a livestock auction market manager and an order buyer. Growing up, Curtis' career goal was to get into the cattle business and maybe become an order buyer like his father. "And then," Curtis says, "hockey came out of nowhere." A hockey scout from the Alberta Junior Hockey League saw Curtis play and offered him a chance to play for the Brooks Bandits. Two seasons later, Curtis was offered a full scholarship to play hockey and go to school in Anchorage, Alaska. The NHL's Anaheim Ducks offered Curtis a contract in 2003. A dispute between the NHL players and management resulted in the 2004�2005 hockey season being cancelled, and Curtis had to wait until 2006 for his NHL debut. Around the same time that Curtis began to make his mark in the NHL, he was introduced to Rae Croteau Junior at the Calgary Stampede. They became fast friends and Curtis began helping the Croteau chuckwagon team almost immediately. Rae says that right from the start, Curtis got his hands dirty, helping to break horses and get ready for the season. "After I
met Curtis we won the next two races, and he figured he was a lucky piece of the puzzle," Rae recalls. "For the last three years," he continues, "within a week of being done playing hockey, he's at my place helping out." Rae describes Curtis as "a regular farm boy" and adds, "He's a good person to have around because of his experiences in competition. Plus the companies that sponsor Curtis or me get added value. We endorse people's products and services and between the both of us we cover a lot of ground throughout the hockey and chuckwagon worlds." Curtis is happy to volunteer his time helping his friend. "It's just something I enjoy doing. I've helped with spring training, breaking horses--he even got me driving." He adds, "I've been around horses my whole life but I'd never had the opportunity to break them or drive a wagon." NHL players are required to be in top physical condition even in the off season. Working the chuckwagon circuit helps Curtis stay in shape. "I like to bug him that (working with me) is part of his conditioning," says Rae. "He's got a lot of upper body and arm strength that help him have a harder slap shot or wrist shot. He's fast on the ice and you've got to be fast on foot to get in the wagon. And he's never let me down yet," he adds. The hard work appears to be paying off. At the 2010 Calgary Flames annual SuperSkills competition in which players engage in a friendly skills contest, Curtis was a surprise second-place
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
managers understand," says Curtis, "they're farmers too." Rae does admit that they have to consider Curtis' NHL career when it comes to handling the chuckwagon horses. "If we get into a situation where a horse is in trouble, where someone might get hurt, we have to evaluate the situation. We don't want him to get hurt. And, the coaches wouldn't be happy if he broke his hand or something." For Curtis, chuckwagon racing is a fun, recreational pursuit; however "I'm focused on my career right now," says Curtis. "Hopefully I can play hockey for another 10 years."
Lindsay Sears The 2008 World Barrel Racing Champion Lindsay Sears describes herself as "a regular farm kid". She grew up on the ranch west of Nanton, Alberta, that her great-grandfather settled when he emigrated from Kansas in the early 1900s. As far back as Lindsay can remember her family had a farming operation with cows and calves. She grew up riding horses and tractors and moving cattle around. "That's how we spent our free time," she says, "we were always on the farm doing something." Around the time Lindsay was born, her father and grandfather started a cattle feedlot operation. In the early days, they fed the cattle by hand with 5-gallon pails. "They started very small, from scratch. My dad built the business from the ground up. Back then they fed a very small number of cattle compared to now," says Lindsay. PHOTO: Courtesy of Allison Croteau
finisher in the hardest shot competition, clocking a speed of 161 kilometres per hour. Curtis knows that the way he grew up has a lot to do with his interest in the chuckwagons and rodeo. "Not a lot of city guys know what it's like to run alleys and clean corrals," says Curtis. "City kids don't have a clue what it's like to grow up on a farm." He enjoys going back to visit his family and has not ruled out the possibility of getting involved in agriculture again someday. That interest in agriculture may be part of what draws Curtis to the atmosphere in the chuckwagon barns that is so much different from the Saddledome, where the Calgary Flames play hockey. "I can go out in the barns and rodeos and be myself. No one judges me. I enjoy being around it," says Curtis. At the same time, he loves playing in the NHL. "There's nothing like playing in the playoffs. It's almost like a whole different league. And the fans in Calgary take it to a new level. I get goose bumps from the fans." The Calgary Flames management and staff aren't too concerned about Curtis' interest in rodeo and chuckwagon racing. "The
Lindsay developed a love for horses, but didn't plan on becoming a rodeo athlete. Given her exposure to rodeo and her agricultural upbringing, she admits that barrel racing was "a natural thing" to get involved in. Growing up, Lindsay was friends with retired barrel racer and Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame member Ruth McDougall's sons. Her father, Rick, and Uncle Jeff were involved in rodeo. "The Nanton Nite Rodeo is a huge deal in our town," says Lindsay. "Rodeo is just something that we all did." Lindsay earned a degree in economics from Texas Tech University and has a special interest in trade and commodities. "I went to university thinking I'd be involved in the (family) feedlot," she explains. Then she bought the amazing horse Martha in January of 2006 and everything changed. "Martha was not a rodeo horse but she was a young, green horse," explains Lindsay. "Barrel racing had always been a hobby for my mom and me. I bought Martha thinking that she was a nice young horse to piddle around with, and then I made the National Finals Rodeo. I knew I had something unique and very special." THE PROFILE
PHOTOS: Mike Copeman Photography
At the time, Lindsay was working at home in Nanton with her family. She had to sit down with her father and assess the opportunity that was available to her. With the full support of her family, she decided to pursue a career in rodeo. Lindsay tries to stay involved in her family's feedlot business, but she admits it is very difficult. "Right now, I'm gone nearly 300 days a year so it's impossible for me to be involved in the business on a daily basis," says Lindsay. "It's too hard to do it at the level I want to be involved at and right now rodeo is my job. But," she continues, "The thought is always there that I will go home when this is all over." Until then, Lindsay is fully committed to her rodeo career. She made headlines during the 2009 Calgary Stampede when she competed with a broken leg. She crushed the top of her fibula and although there was nerve damage and pain, it was possible for her to ride. "I made a business choice to compete," says Lindsay. "It happened at a time during the year that I couldn't miss. Rodeo is not like other professional sports like hockey where you get paid even if you don't work. If I wanted to pay my bills I had to compete."
Lindsay admits that her decision to compete in 2009 had a lot to do with how she was raised. "When you get kicked by a steer or a calf on the ranch, yes it hurts, but you have to carry on with your day. It definitely wasn't fun, but it was worth it." She adds, "I grew up riding a horse, moving 500 head of cattle. The way I was raised made me stronger. That's the reality of life. You've got to do some things that may not be enjoyable and may be painful. When I was little and I fell off a horse, my mom and dad didn't pick me up. They told me to get back on." "The way I was raised definitely made me physically tougher," says Lindsay. She has a reputation as a tough cowgirl who is not afraid of a challenge. Calgary Stampede rodeo fans will be treated to another display of her grit and determination at the 2010 Stampede rodeo. Tina Zakowsky (n�e Schwartzenberger) is a member of the International Agriculture Committee, editor of the Profile and Member Communications Specialist for the Canadian Angus Association. Tina describes the Calgary Stampede as her "10 days of Christmas in July". Tina may be reached at email@example.com
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The Canadian Beef Advantage: promoting Canadian beef to the world The high quality of Canadian beef starts with Canada's cattle producers. BY D E B V E R B O N AC A N D J U L I E S T I T T
Canada's cattle and beef industry produces high-quality products that provide customers with added valued and competitive advantages. Canada is a world leader in animal production, animal health and food safety. It's a strong message that is being delivered around the world. Internationally, the Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) has been taking the message of the Canadian Beef Advantage (CAB) to market since 1989. Established to develop export markets for Canadian beef outside of Canada and the U.S., the Federation's international market develop programs differentiate Canadian beef from the competition and grow demand. For over a decade, CBEF has been putting the elements of the Canadian Beef Advantage forward to international traders and consumers through the delivery of close to 400 individual market development projects each year. These are the elements of a pristine Canadian environment, world-renowned cattle genetics, leading animal health and food safety systems and superior attributes of high-quality grain-fed Canadian beef. The message is being heard. In 2009, Canadian beef exports to key markets in Asia and Mexico totalled 84,400 tonnes for a value of $322 million to Canadian exporters. In 2007, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, in partnership with various industry groups, formalized the Canadian Beef Advantage to provide a consistent, unified voice within Canada and the United States, as well as other international markets, on the attributes of the Canadian Beef Advantage. As well, CBA aims to expand and secure access to a diverse portfolio of markets for beef and cattle genetics while also clearly differentiating Canadian beef from its competitors. The Canadian Beef Advantage Canadian beef has advantages in terms of our commitment to animal health and world-renowned food safety standards, leadership in beef cattle genetics, animal identification program, age verification, quality and consistency. The CBA program has the advantages of industry control, being market driven, developing at the speed of technology, as well as producer control of the mandatory regulations. Canada's unique grading system accounts for quality criteria for both domestic and international consumers.
The CBA brand standards include: � high-quality beef � high-yielding beef carcasses � beef genetics that are among the best in the world � a clean and environmentally friendly production system � a world-renowned cattle identification system that enables traceability and source/age verification � world-leading food safety systems at the packer level and voluntary on-farm food safety systems � the integrity of the Canadian people � Canada's commitment to leadership and innovation The Canadian Beef Advantage defines and communicates the qualities of Canadian beef and the supply chain that supports the value proposition. It also leverages the systems-based approaches utilized in Canada to ensure high quality, food safety and animal health that contribute to high levels of customer satisfaction and profitability. The Beef Information Centre (BIC), an organization dedicated to promoting Canadian beef to consumers, encourages Canadian retailers and food service operators to take advantage of the CBA logo and the tagline "Canadian beef. Goodness in every bite" in their marketing initiatives. The Canadian Beef Advantage includes quality attributes and points of differentiation versus other proteins to position Canadian beef as strongly as possible. These points of differentiation include quality attributes such as superior genetics, excellent animal health management, individual animal identification, a world-renowned food safety system,
superior grading, excellent supply capability, and improved profitability. On the consumer side, this involves building an awareness of the Canadian beef brand by encouraging consumers to enjoy Canadian beef more often. As of mid-January 2010, BIC has worked with over 110 industry partners and has signed 65 brand license agreements with retail, food service and processing operations, including well-known companies such as XL Fine Foods; Costco Canada; Canada Safeway; McDonald's; Boston Pizza; Quiznos; Panago Pizza; and Sobeys in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
The Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC), an organization that represents all purebred breed associations and producers in Canada, is building on the success of the national infrastructure and has developed and implemented the purebred and genetic component of the BIXS system. "CBBC-BIXS is the next generation in Canadian purebred beef information systems," says Herb McLane, CBBC executive vice president. "We are excited about adding extra value to our sector." The Canadian Angus Association was the first breed association to commit to the BIXS initiative by developing a separate community linked to CBBC. "We view this program as one more way to add value for our members, and a mechanism to get carcass information back to the producer," explains Cheryl Hazenberg of the Canadian Angus Association. "Our members support this because they will have access and flexibility to view at any time all current and relevant information regarding their animals such as: carcass data, age verification, feedlot data and so on. We wanted to get involved to help our industry work together and stand behind our Canadian beef producers." The Canadian Beef Advantage and the Beef Information Exchange System are programs managed by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association in partnership with various industry groups. For more information regarding either program, log on to www.cattle.ca or www.bixs.cattle.ca Deb Verbonac is an account manager for one of the largest agricultural-based marketing and communications agencies in North America. Deb resides on a ranch a short distance from Calgary nestled in the foreground of the Rocky Mountains. She is passionate about agriculture and the sustainability of this grassroots industry in Canada. Deb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Julie Stitt is a member of the International Agriculture Committee and has over 25 years of experience working with all sectors of the cattle industry in Canada, United States and other countries. As Executive Director of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency for 10 years she led the development and implementation of the National Identification and Traceability System for Animal Health and Food Safety in Canada. Julie continues to provide consulting services to the cattle industry and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beef Information Exchange System (BIXS) The success of a program as robust as the Canadian Beef Advantage ensures benefits to all within the value chain are recognized, including beef producers, feedlots, the packing industry, retailers and the consumer. The Beef Information Exchange System (BIXS) is a program within the Canadian Beef Advantage. BIXS is a voluntary national cattle and carcass information exchange system designed to improve communications and information sharing across the beef chain. BIXS includes a stand-alone secure web-based database and information analysis program based on individual animal radio-frequency identification (RFID) ear tag identifiers within the overall CBA program. Through BIXS, calves will be age and source verified at birth, linked to the RFID tag numbers, and tracked through the value chain for performance, animal health and carcass data, including yield and grade information. The value of the BIXS system, through this sharing of information, will encourage new business relationships and potential for long-term alliances, as well as improved operational efficiencies. 14 INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
A look at veterinary thermography Infrared thermography is a technique that has been used by veterinarians for over 25 years. Now a Calgary company is trying to take IRT to the next level. BY DAV E P H I L L I P S IRT shows how effective the treatment is. Additionally, veterinary infrared thermography helps monitor the animal athlete's body to see how well it is adapting to any training it is undergoing. The discovery of infrared radiation is credited to astronomer William Herschell. Herschell published his results in 1800 before the Royal Society of London. He used a prism to refract light from the sun and detected the infrared, beyond the red part of the spectrum, through an increase in the temperature recorded on a thermometer. He called the surprising result calorific rays. The term `infrared' was not used until late in the 19th century. Infrared or thermal energy is not visible because its wavelength is too long for the sensors in our eyes to detect. It is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we perceive as heat. Unlike visible light, in the infrared spectrum everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits infrared electromagnetic energy. Even cold objects such as ice cubes emit infrared radiation. The higher the temperature of the object, the greater the infrared radiation emitted. The infrared camera allows us to see what our eyes cannot. For over 25 years, infrared thermography has proven to be an excellent equine and medical diagnostic tool. IRT is a non-invasive yet very effective method of detection, identification and documentation of numerous injuries and diseases. The value of thermography has in recent years been increasingly recognized as a tool for early identification of injuries in equine athletes. Veterinarians have used IRT in veterinary medicine almost as long as it has been used in human medicine, and have slowly developed confidence in its results, as well as an understanding of its value in diagnostics. The newer variety of reasonably lightweight and easily portable cameras have helped tremendously, as have more sensitive detectors and coloured video output. In medicine in general, the recognition of distinctive infrared patterns is as important as the actual temperatures that may be associated with those patterns. By recognizing developing patterns, disease processes can be accurately diagnosed before they become greatly advanced, and other diagnostic tools can be used in a more effective way to confirm and expand our knowledge of those disease processes.Unlike most other methods, thermography is a highly sensitive, reliable and non-invasive means of graphically illustrating soft tissue injury, strains, sprains, trigger points, muscle inflammation, joint injury, stress fractures, bone chips, poor circulation, inflamed muscles and tendons and similar problems. THE PROFILE
PHOTOS: courtesy of RUrban Lens
Infrared thermography (IRT) is a technique that uses an infrared imaging and measurement camera to `see' and `measure' the invisible infrared energy that an object emits. Tobi McLeod and her mother Annette McLeod of RUrban Lens are working to educate local professionals in the art of IRT. For Tobi, a certified equine thermographer trained in the United Kingdom, the interest in equine health and wellness comes naturally. She started riding at the age of four and has been working for 10 years as an assistant trainer with race horses, helping to exercise them. She has worked with horses of all disciplines, including reigning, cutting and dressage. Tobi was certified in IRT in the UK and has worked with John Scott in the motion picture industry. She has also worked at the Calgary Stampede with chuckwagon driver Hughie Sinclair. Long before RUrban Lens came along, the Ancient Greeks were the first to measure surface body temperature. They covered the human body with mud and observed the patterns that formed as the mud dried. Over centuries, these methodologies evolved into modern veterinary medical thermography. When you go to the doctor or take your pet to the veterinarian, one of the first procedures the patient undergoes is to have the body's internal or core temperature measured with a thermometer. Temperature changes are the leading indicators of a simultaneous structural change; generally speaking, nature attempts to keep core temperatures stable. If the temperature is changing, something is definitely happening. When a temperature change affects the animal you care for, you understand the need to find the source of the problem quickly and start the appropriate treatment as soon as possible. Temperature change is where veterinary infrared thermography plays an important role. Measuring surface body temperature with a veterinary IRT camera is a much more sophisticated version of the mud patterns used by the ancient Greeks. IRT gives veterinarians a starting point to find an underlying problem. Once treatment has started,
In veterinary medicine, IRT can be used to assist in the diagnosis and/or prognosis of many problems: lameness, back pain/disk problems, muscle tears/strains; tendonitis, fractures; neuritis, periostitis, blood vessel and nerve entrapment, ligament tears, joint injuries, arthritis, sore feet, myositis, laminitis, compromised circulation and wound management among them. The more IRT is used, the more beneficial applications and treatments are discovered. Tobi explains that IRT scanning of a horse should be done indoors and by a certified thermographer because of the many variables and the necessary technical knowledge. RUrban Lens FLIR infrared camera and customized software program helps to determine these variables and makes the correct adjustments to give the best possible and most accurate image for interpretation. RUrban Lens is involved in a collaborative research project featuring the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Christoph K.W. Muelling will be responsible for the scientific and academic parameters of the study together with Dr. Chris Berezowski of Moore & Company Veterinary Services Ltd. Bar None Ranches Ltd., an exceptional equine facility featuring such tools as an equine hyperbaric chamber and aqua treadmills are also involved. "We are committed to improving and helping the equine industry in Alberta and Western Canada," says farm manager Mike Vanin. FLIR Canada will provide the technology for the project.
"We felt there was a real need for scientific local Canadian data incorporating IRT in the equine research industry," says Tobi. "There are other studies done in Europe and the U.S. but nothing from Canada that we are aware of." In a recent American study by Dr. Tracy Turner using 50 horses and covering two racing seasons, they conducted 686 thermographic examinations. He concluded that by using thermographic imaging, "problem areas were identified two to three weeks prior to trainer concern" with a 95% agreement from the veterinarians' corresponding examination. In Dr. Turner's assessment, this 95% veterinarian agreement is the "gold standard of proof" in validating the use of thermography. "Our goal is to help educate and contribute to the beneficial use of infrared thermography with equine health teams," concludes Tobi. "We are honoured and delighted to be a part of this research project and to work with such credible, innovative and experienced partners." RUrban Lens also does work in the area of special events photography and videography. For more information, visit www.rurbanlens.com David Phillips is an independent insurance advisor and financial advisor. Dave has been a volunteer with the International Agriculture Committee for five years. His interest in agriculture comes from many visits to the Gibson family farm near Yorkton, Saskatchewan. It was a typical mixed farm of the era. He continues to follow agriculture, as his sister and bother-in-law operate Crown Organic Farms near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Canadian Beef School removes mystery from beef production Olds College offers a three-day course that covers all steps in the beef production process, providing participants with direct experience in areas to which they wouldn't normally be exposed. BY H A L E Y R U T H E R F O R D From rearing a calf to eating a AAA grade steak, raising beef involves a more extensive and complex production process than any other meat grown in Canada. It takes numerous producers on several different tiers of the production chain to add value to the live animal that will ultimately become meat. And, although each producer participates in the development of the same end product, each producer often has a different economic focus than other participants. To facilitate a greater mutual understanding among those involved along the spectrum of the beef production chain, 16 INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD) and Olds College worked together to develop a course that brings players from all sectors of the industry into the same classroom to share their knowledge and learn from others. Jim Hansen, beef livestock business development officer with AARD, explains, "Some of us within Alberta Agriculture, in consultation with industry, identified a need for this type of workshop to assist those in the value chain in gaining a better understanding and knowledge of livestock and their end use." He says, "In reality a cow-calf producer produces food,
but they tell you, `I raise feeder cattle,' and at the same time those who are meat buyers don't understand that livestock have a production cycle and that there are more cuts of meat than the ones they purchase." To encourage more dialogue between industry sectors, Hansen and AARD teamed up with Olds College's meat processing instructor, Brad McLeod, to develop what is now Canada's most sought-after beef industry seminar. Modelled after those offered by extension services in the United States, the bi-annual beef school has hosted almost 200 students since its inception in 2005. Over the three days of the workshop, everyone from traditional beef producers to restaurateurs, food editors and food service representatives gain hands-on experience in beef grading, inspection and fabrication. When students are not in the meat lab, industry leaders give presentations on a variety of current issues, such as industry economics, animal welfare, animal feeding strategies, meat physiology, quality assurance and food safety. The hands-on portion of the course, however, is what really makes this the Canadian Beef School and not just another seminar. School participants are given the opportunity to experience first-hand the live evaluation of an animal and then follow the carcass through the process that converts the live muscle of the beef animal into a consumable beef product. Initially three animals are evaluated live, with predictions made on their weight, yield and grade. Once processed, the carcasses of the three steers are chilled and graded by the class. The following day, with the help of students enrolled in the college's meat processing course,
beef school participants break down carcasses--first into the primal meat cuts, and then into common retail cuts. All parts of the hanging sides, including trim and bone, are weighed back, and a yield is determined for the dressed carcass. Using the measured amount of yield of each carcass, the class then attempts to determine the value of the retail cuts in relation to the value of the dressed carcass and the live animal. This stepwise process allows people involved in only one segment of the industry to see how other segments are affected by various management practices or production techniques. Carcass valuation also sheds light on the cost of production versus revenue generated. Cindy Delaloye, general manager of the Canadian Beef Grading Agency, says "The school brought everything into perspective. You get tunnel vision when you are working in a specific area of the industry, and everyone is so segregated--we have to all be heading in the same direction regardless of our individual goals." As the world's third-largest exporter of cattle and beef, it is critical that Canada's beef industry be able to advance and adapt to meet changes in the world's demand for meat. Thanks to the dedication of the Canadian Beef School organizers who help ensure that participants understand each other's roles in the beef production process, Canada can continue to showcase Canadian beef as a safe, wholesome product that industry participants can be proud of. Haley Rutherford was an attendee at the Fall 2009 Canadian Beef School. She currently works for Gateway Livestock Marketing in Taber, Alberta and can be reached at: email@example.com
Agricultural legacy lives
at the Calgary Stampede For 10 days each July, the Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City Discovery Centre brings agriculture to everyone. BY A N N E M A R I E P E D E R S O N
Ag-Tivity in the City committee members
The Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City Discovery Centre graces an area south of the Victoria Pavilion/Agriculture Building parallel to the Big Top. Inside the large tent, visitors find a gateway to a complete agricultural experience at the Calgary Stampede and a wealth of information about the agriculture industry in Alberta. Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City has deep roots at the 10-day festival and continues to grow and improve every year. Come west young man The history of the Agricultural Exhibition goes back to the early days in Calgary when the Canadian Pacific Railway was trying to entice Easterners to settle in the West. In 1884, they designed a travelling agricultural fair and exhibition that showed people in the east the bounty that could be harvested on the Alberta prairies. That legacy continues at the Calgary Stampede today. The Calgary and District Agricultural Society began holding their fall fairs in 1886, and in 1899, the annual event moved to the summer. The tradition continues on the same spot on the shores of the Bow River. 18
Agriculture in the city Over 70 years later, in 1978, Partners in Agriculture became the first phase of what has grown into Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City, beginning as a place for people to see a little more than traditional breed shows. In 1990, Centennial Fair was born, and the agricultural exhibition included the heritage cabin and kitchen, The Alpha Milk Centennial Stage (where the Youth Talent Show began) and livestock displays. A tent was added and more industry displays joined the showcase every year. Debbie Lee, who has been a volunteer with the Calgary Stampede for 25 years,
joined the Centennial Fair committee in the early 1990s and has seen the evolution of the committee and its programs. "When I joined the committee I was already volunteering with Aggie Days, (a show run in the spring to teach school kids about agriculture) which had become very successful. We saw that some of the exhibits and programs from Aggie Days would be a great fit for the Calgary Stampede." In 1995, there was another name change, this time to reflect the idea of country in the city. "We saw these programs as a way to bring farm and ranch life into downtown Calgary, and the name Stampede Country represented
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
that idea," says Max Fritz, Calgary Stampede senior manager of agriculture. Shows such as the lumberjack competition, Richards Races (pig races) and a feature heavy-horse hitch were added. Country Critters evolved and the program continued to grow. "There wasn't really one thing that moved these changes forward. We saw the program gradually evolve over time and increased our focus on what guests wanted and were asking for," says Max. A survey in 2005 showed that 94 per cent of guests believed that people living in the city needed to learn more about agriculture. Aggie Days had shown the Calgary Stampede how important it was to capture the audience's attention. "Our goal was to educate, entertain, and engage the visitors and Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City grew out of that idea; interactive displays and shows that would achieve that goal," says Max.
Does chocolate milk really come from brown cows? The majority of people in Canada--and around the world--are at least two or more generations removed from the farm. Their understanding of where their food comes from lessens while their concern over food safety rises. Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City is the perfect place to talk to urbanites about these issues, as an Ipsos Reid survey in 2008 showed that 63 per cent of visitors to the agriculture exhibits were city-dwellers. "Ag-Tivity in the City has changed its focus over the past eight to 10 years to a more educational and interactive approach--so our urban friends will have a better appreciation of agriculture and how it impacts their daily lives," says Bonnie Carruthers, retired agriculture programming coordinator. Bonnie, who grew up on a dairy farm in Saskatchewan, joined the Calgary
Chautauqua In the late 1920s almost everyone had a radio but little other entertainment. In the winter of 1927, a travelling entertainment group called Chautauqua--named after a lake and college in New York state --started coming to local communities. The Chautauqua group would gather sponsors to raise enough money to pay for a week's entertainment which would take place in the local community hall. During the summer months, they carried a giant tent. Inside the tent or hall, the group provided music and other entertainment and gave presentations on the problems of the day along with possible solutions. Chautauqua was considered pretty high-class entertainment.
From the horse's mouth When a person with no connection to the farm asks a question about food safety, getting an answer directly from the producer is an incredible opportunity. The volunteers at the Calgary Stampede bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. The fact that they can explain exactly how they feed their cows or grow their canola and exactly how they know it is safe lends a great deal of credibility to their message and to Stampede agriculture. Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City committee chair Maureen Marston grew up on a dairy and beef farm in Alberta and still lives there today. Her grandfather was one of the first exhibitors at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede and the Calgary Bull Sale. She was a 4-H member with beef and dairy cattle and her sons are now members of the 4-H beef club and help out during Stampede every year. Debbie Lee also has a long history with the Stampede. Her father joined the Dairy Committee in 1954 and spent 33 years volunteering and showing his cattle at the Stampede. Debbie's daughter Danielle works with the dairy industry and is also a volunteer heavily involved in Aggie Days and the Stampede. The breadth and depth of knowledge available to visitors of the agriculture exhibits at the Calgary Stampede is one of a kind--the volunteers and staff share their passion for agriculture education. "I go to a lot of fairs during the year and there is nowhere else in the area that people can see agriculture up close and in person like they can at the Stampede," says Debbie.
Stampede staff 12 years ago and was heavily involved in the evolution of agriculture programming before retiring in December 2009. "We have worked diligently with Ag-Tivity to help visitors understand this history of agriculture and how instrumental it was in the development of this country and the important role it still plays in our economy today," says Bonnie. "We also want to celebrate the tremendous strides the industry has made and how it embraces technology and advancements. I don't think that is the general perception so we want to ensure people leave with a clearer picture of agriculture today." A large part of the work done in the Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City Discovery Centre is thanks to Agrium Inc. with some major industry partners including Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, the Canadian Canola Council, Crop Life Canada, Dow AgroSciences, Olds College as well as Alberta producer associations for beef, canola, chicken, eggs, milk, pork and turkey. The exhibits offered by these partners advance and improve as they learn what the public is looking for and respond to current issues in the industry. With access to 1.2 million visitors over the 10-day show, Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City offers the industry an unparalleled opportunity to speak directly with their customers. "The commodity groups have done a tremendous job of educating the public on current issues. Alberta Pork and the swine committee addressed the H1N1 issue in 2009 at their display and the public went away better informed and with a clearer understanding of the facts," says Bonnie. Animal welfare, food safety and a clear understanding of what goes into producing the food that sits on grocery store shelves are all concerns for the urban public. Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City provides a place where they can learn all about their food and talk to the experts.
The road ahead Maureen Marston, a school teacher and beef producer, joined the committee in 2001. Now the Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City committee chair, she has been part of the changes and is excited about the future. "I take my students to Aggie Days every year and see the value of bringing agriculture to city kids. Many really don't have an idea where their food comes from, so we play a critical role in educating them." The committee's mandate is to engage Stampede guests by creating an entertaining and interpretive experience that educates and promotes awareness and appreciation of the agriculture industry; past, present and future. "If the visitor walks away with nothing more than an appreciation of how really important agriculture is to our lives, we have succeeded," says Maureen. Maureen wants to continue to enrich and grow the exhibits every year to engage the changing urban audience, including ideas such as a community garden. She believes the definition of agriculture includes much more than they have explored so far. Debbie envisions an almost Noah's Ark type of display that exhibits two or three animals to showcase the breed varieties of beef and dairy cattle, sheep and horses. Max would love to see an area that creates a journey through agriculture and ties into one story that is easily accessible to the guest. Time will tell what the next chapter of the Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City program will hold; you will have to come back and check it out for yourself! Annemarie Pedersen is a public relations professional and works for an agricultural communications agency, AdFarm. She serves on the board of the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation and has volunteered with the Calgary Stampede for six years, currently as the chair of the Agriculture Media committee.
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Sponsor Profile: University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is committed to the health and welfare of animals and people BY T I N A Z A KOW S K Y A N D N O R M A D U N N
The University of Calgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) is the first veterinary college to be located in Alberta. The province announced that the school would be created in 2004 and the first students began attending classes in September 2008. According to Dr. Bonnie Buntain, Assistant Dean of Government and International Relations at UCVM, this is a very quick turnaround in creating a school of veterinary medicine. "It took Alberta only five years when 10 years is usually the norm," says Dr. Buntain. UCVM was established with the goals of graduating an increased number of veterinarians with the skills to meet and adapt to the changing demands of rural Alberta, the food animal industries, environmental and wildlife health (ecosystem health), comparative health and biomedical research, and public health. The mission statement reads, in part, "Our education, research and service activities will contribute to the promotion and protection of animal and human health and welfare/wellness in Alberta, Canada and internationally." There is at least one unique element to UCVM: it shares the Health Sciences Centre with the Faculty of Medicine, which ensures and fosters interaction and collaboration
between animal and human health professionals. Dr. Buntain explains, "The province of Alberta wanted a veterinary college here to create a new vision." She explains that UCVM is committed to strengthening the connections between human and animal medicine, a concept known as one health. Collaborating with the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine, UCVM contributes to the health and welfare of animals and humans. UCVM faculty and graduate students work hand in hand with human medical and other sciences to be the best in North America. Working collaboratively across health and other sciences in this "one health" approach results in greater capacity and value for Alberta to solve environmental, animal and human health concerns. Dr. Buntain cites this as one of the reasons she joined UCVM. She met Dean Alastair Cribb in Washington, D.C. after he joined UCVM. Dr. Buntain says that she liked Alberta's community connection and "can do" attitude. UCVM, she says, "had a new vision and the foundational work was already done with the province. Now we needed to make it happen."
The classrooms, laboratories, the library and other student support services for UCVM are located in the Health Sciences Centre and the Teaching, Wellness and Research Centre on the Foothills Campus. Students also spend time at the Spy Hill Campus, 20 kilometres away, where they start their first year in veterinary school engaging in practical, hands-on learning opportunities with animals, including clinical skills, professional skills, anatomy and diagnostic support (pathology). The UCVM Spy Hill campus includes the Clinical Skills Building, Veterinary Sciences Research Station and the Wildlife Research Station on 80 acres of land. The fourth year of the UCVM program is delivered in collaboration with the veterinary community in Alberta and beyond, through a Distributed Veterinary Learning Community (DVLC) that has students engaged in practicum work off-campus year round. UCVM is the only veterinary college in Canada and the second one in North America to create a distributed teaching model. Alberta believes that UCVM should be founded on community partnerships and engage the veterinarians in Alberta as teachers and mentors especially during the final year practical experiences. This is very exciting to unite academia and practicing veterinarians into one teaching system. Dr. Buntain says another exciting aspect of UCVM is the establishment of her Assistant Dean position in Government and International Relations. As far as she knows this is the only such position in Canada, and it demonstrates how important these areas of relationship-building are to UCVM. That is why her office and the Communication Office share the sponsorship of the Calgary Stampede's International Agriculture Committee. As a sponsor, she will relay information from the committee to UCVM faculty on what is important to Alberta and where our education and research programs may go to help meet these needs. The International Agriculture Committee will be an incredibly valuable partner in this endeavour. Tina Zakowsky (n�e Schwartzenberger) is a member of the International Agriculture Committee and editor of the Profile. She is also Member Communications Specialist for the Canadian Angus Association and the Stampede is her "10 days of Christmas in July". Tina may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Norma Dunn is a member of the Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee and on the Profile Team. She has worked independently in communications and promotions for 30 years in all aspects of Alberta livestock. Now retired in Lethbridge she refers to herself as having spent "A Lifetime in Agriculture" yet still playing an active volunteer role.
Pioneer families have links to University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Pioneer families in the Calgary area that have played major roles in the development of Alberta's agriculture are linked to the University of Calgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Forerunners of southern Alberta have made a history of coming together to make unfeasible problems become a reality only because they were willing to explore unchartered challenges.
Dr. Robert Church Dr. Robert (Bob) Church is a third-generation Albertan who was raised on his family's farm and ranch operation at Balzac, Alberta. Dr. Church was a founding member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary and Associate Dean of Research from 1981 to 1988. He was the first head of the department of Medical Biochemistry, a position he held for 14 years. He also served as a director of the Calgary Stampede for 20 years including a term as president. Dr. Church is a pioneer of molecular genetics and embryo transfer technology in cattle. He has been active in the livestock industry through involvement on various committees in the development of breed organizations, sire and dam evaluation, genetic defect testing and breed development. He was instrumental in developing the worldwide cattle genetics industry and was one of the earliest scientists to analyze animal genomes. Although he left the family agriculture business to focus on animal science, Dr. Church continues to help his brother Gordon during the busy seeding and harvest seasons.
Dr. Jay Cross Alfred Ernest (A.E.) Cross, a graduate of Ontario Agricultural College and Montreal Veterinary College, came to Calgary in 1884. He worked as a veterinarian and assistant
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manager of the British-American Horse Ranch Co. which later became the Cochrane Ranch. In 1885 he started the a7 Ranche which is still owned by the Cross family and remains one of the largest ranches in the West. A.E. Cross was one of the original founders of the Calgary Stampede. Dr. Jay Cross is Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Education at the University of Calgary and is a great-grandson of A.E. Cross. Dr. Cross was the founding Director of the Institute of Maternal & Child Health. He also founded the Training Program in Genetics, Child Development & Health, and the Clara Christie Centre for Mouse Genomics and Modeling of Human Disease. He also continues in his role as professor in the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Medical Genetics, and Obstetrics & Gynecology in the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Cross and his wife Lucy also carry on the ranching tradition as owners of Bar Pipe Hereford Ranch, an operation started by Jay's grandfather and father in 1953, and remain committed to the importance and future of the livestock industry in Alberta.
Prion research -- now and the future BY S H A N N O N H A N E Y
In recent years, prion research has gained national momentum and international attention. In 2005, the federal government committed $35 million over seven years to a new Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE). This organization, called PrioNet Canada, brings together Canadian researchers to help solve the food, health safety, and socioeconomic problems associated with prion diseases. In addition, the Alberta Prion Research Institute located in Edmonton is another agency working with PrioNet in Canada's burgeoning prion research area. The result is an extensive network of individuals working to diagnose and ultimately prevent the proliferation of prion identified diseases. Prion diseases are infectious and fatal neurodegenerative diseases such as Creutzfeldt�Jakob disease in humans and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, chronic wasting disease and scrapie in animals. Normal prion proteins are found on the surface of the cells of both humans and animals, but prion diseases occur when the normal prion protein becomes "misfolded" into the infectious disease-causing form. Prions represent a new class of infectious agents that cause disease because unlike other viruses or bacteria, prions do not contain any DNA or RNA--the conversion into the disease-causing prion is more akin to crystallization. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Food Canada (AAFC) are working together to study prion science. Dr. Tim McAllister, a principal research scientist with AAFC, leads a team of collaborators studying environmental degradation and methods of disposing of specified risk materials (SRMs). Specified risk materials are those tissues that have been removed from the animal and not allowed to enter the human food, animal feed or pet food chains. This is only part of the strategy that CFIA has implemented in an effort to eliminate BSE from Canada. Although a challenge to accurately measure, a significant component of this research is the development of a methodology capable of effectively disposing of SRMs while inactivating prions. Currently most SRMs are rendered and the residue is disposed of in landfills; it is an active 3-step process in the disposition of these materials which incurs a significant cost and time commitment. Most recently, Dr. McAllister's team has identified composting as a process that has the capacity to degrade SRMs. Members of the team are gearing up to conduct studies under laboratory containment to determine if BSE prions can be effectively rendered non-infective as a result of composting. Where does this leave Canada's agriculture industry? In recent years, the feed ban restrictions put in place by the CFIA have eliminated specified risk material in consumable products, removing them from human and animal food chains. Researchers in Canada are collaborating with provincial and federal agencies along with stakeholders and partners to mitigate the negative impacts of prion diseases on society, and to help ensure safe food and health systems for humans and animals in Canada. For more information and reference material, please consult the following websites: www.prionetcanada.ca www.prioninstitute.ca www.inspection.gc.ca Shannon Haney has been volunteering for over 10 years with the Calgary Stampede, joining the International Agriculture Committee in 2008. She currently works for Challenger Geomatics Ltd. as a business development representative and may be reached at email@example.com
John Simpson John Simpson is a strong supporter of UCVM. John chaired UCVM's Stakeholder Advisory Committee, leading the Faculty through its creation and early development. He was instrumental in key areas, including government relations as well as providing advice in curriculum development and faculty recruitment. He is also a partner in UCVM's Distributed Veterinary Learning Community. The first research chair for UCVM, the Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness, was named in honour of John. John is a key part of Simpson Ranching Ltd., a family-owned agricultural corporation established in the Alberta foothills in 1956. Simpson Ranch has expanded in the last 54 years to run up to 1,000 Hereford cows.
Entrepreneurs Savouring product integrity and flavour, customer response--and a commitment to their passion--organic agricultural producers embrace Alberta's entrepreneurial spirit. BY J I L L H I L D E R M A N
Misfortune breeds new tomatoes Paul Hotchkiss, owner of Hotchkiss Herbs & Produce in Calgary, Alberta, enthusiastically shares the story of his journey from bacon-lettuce-tomato-sandwich-lover to organic farmer. He's passionate when describing his current product line and he's also candid in his sharing of the challenges, intense hands-on workload, and slim profit margins in the organic greenhouse business. In the late 1980s, Paul says he struggled to find a truly tasty tomato. With no success, he set up a makeshift greenhouse in his backyard and began to explore horticulture. Paul considered conventional growing and hydroponics, but chose organic methods. Organic refers not to the food itself but how it is grown. Methods used are based on a farming process that maintains and replenishes the soil's fertility; at Hotchkiss soil is typically replaced once each year. The vegetables are grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Instead, insects that are not detrimental to the plants are introduced to eat certain bothersome bugs. Also, limited approved biological sprays and parasitic fungi are permitted in organic production. Proponents of this agricultural sector herald the `flavour advantage' of organic production. 24 INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
As Paul's skill and pleasure at growing produce increased, he transitioned from his career in the oil industry to full-time organic vegetable production. Together with his wife Tracy, the initial focus was on heirloom tomatoes. Over time this expanded to include spinach, arugula, pole beans, beets, onions, peppers, multi-coloured Swiss chard and potatoes. It's demanding work; the spinach is harvested by hand, one leaf at a time. This is indicative of the production and harvesting methods at Hotchkiss. With intensive growing methods and year-round production, overheads are high. Paul describes it as "premium product at prices to match." The one-acre greenhouse, located just south of Calgary, provides 39,000 square metres of growing area. Where possible, crops that grow well vertically are preferred so that space may be utilized as efficiently as possible; pole beans and tomatoes obviously suit well. The Hotchkiss farm is certified organic through the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA International) a non-profit, member-owned organic certification organization and a world leader in the certified organic industry.
While Paul says the business is a great pleasure, it has also been challenging. In 2002, a tomato-affecting virus was introduced into the greenhouses. Paul and his staff worked tirelessly and creatively over several years to eradicate it. All early efforts failed. They tried bleaching tools, spraying skim milk on plants, steam-cleaning greenhouses and equipment, removing soil from greenhouses crop after crop and changing clothes when staff moved between greenhouses. Nothing worked. They decided that rather than try and beat it, working in harmony with the virus seemed to make sense. The team grafted cuttings from heirloom plants and spliced them onto hybrid root stock. The hybrid root stock was supposed to pass along virus resistance to the heirloom cuttings; contrary to scientific advice Paul had received, this proved totally ineffective. Efforts continued with a time-consuming approach to stabilize hybrid tomatoes that demonstrated resistance to the virus. Through generation after generation of plants, eventually Paul developed some that were able to fend off the virus. The limiting factor was that success was found only in the red and pink varieties. The next step was to crossbreed the stabilized hybrids to heirloom tomatoes. A breakthrough in 2007 showed success in a few plants that would resemble Cherokee Purple and Green Zebra. Paul says "resemble" because these tomatoes are now considered new discoveries in the tomato frontier.
"Despite the challenges we face, I love the business; it really is fun," says Paul. "We are fully committed to our growing methods and our product quality; I have a great team including a long-term married couple from Mexico with agricultural education and experience in greenhouse growing. They are a tremendous asset to our operations." The Hotchkiss greenhouse supplies its produce to almost 50 of Calgary's leading restaurants and a dozen specialty food markets, delis and grocery stores. Bob Matthews, chef and co-owner of Calgary's renowned La Chaumi�re Restaurant, believes he was Paul's first customer back in the late 1990s. He's been buying ever since and is a devotee. "I use Paul's produce throughout my menu and frequently build my daily specials around the weekly deliveries," says Matthews. "I know and trust Paul, know he's certified, and I value his product. It's important for me to speak confidently to our customers about the food we serve. I rely on Paul to send me the best each week and it may vary among potatoes, micro greens, tomatoes of course... and any unique offering he has. He also lets me know when certain items are in short supply and I appreciate his support to my work." For more information: www.hotchkissproduce.com
Goats rule at Fairwinds Farm There are 350 milking goats year-round on the 140-acre ranch owned by Anita and Ben Oudshoorn near Fort Macleod, Alberta. It's an organic dairy farm that's been in operation for 10 years and produces milk, yogurt and cheese. Anita and Ben breed their own goats, predominately Alpine and Nubians, raising the young moms (does) and giving male offspring (bucklings) away to good homes. The farm also grows alfalfa and barley for the goats' feed. A decade ago Anita and Ben were hog farmers. Challenges in that industry resulted in a fluctuating income stream and led the couple to explore other farming options, resulting in the decision to raise goats. Today, with the help of two full-time and four part-time employees and some involvement from their seven children, the Oudshoorns have grown from goat milk sales to an extensive product line. Their first venture was yogurt. Today the product range includes natural, vanilla, black current, raspberry, strawberry, Saskatoon berry and apricot-mango flavours. Next they expanded into farmstead cheeses, including ch�vre (a soft, unripened cheese), feta, ricotta and aged Gouda. The farm's products are sold to Calgary-based Community Natural Foods and grocery stores and specialty food outlets in Alberta. Fairwinds utilizes the services of an agent to help
their product reach restaurants. Rudy Knitel operates Galimax Trading Inc. and supplies local, specialized, products to commercial kitchens throughout the province. "The chefs are seeking locally grown, high-quality organic or other specialty produce that meets their needs," says Josh Oosterhof, Rudy's assistant. "We experience increasing demand for organic products... the chefs tell us their customers are asking for this." The farm has always been organized and run as an organic venture, and for the past three years the land and dairy (and last year the processing plant too) are all certified organic through QMI�SAI Global Certification. This organization is one of a number of accredited organic certifying bodies that producers look to for formal verification of their production methods. "We've always had two core goals," says Anita: "To become certified organic and to supply the local market." Ongoing plans for the operation include exploring new product development and continuing to ensure quality and customer satisfaction. "It is a tremendous amount of work," says
Anita. "I think that's the greatest misconception about our business; it's not as easy as perhaps it might look." Ben and Anita have learned much during their 10 years operating the dairy. They participate in education programs when possible and a lot of their learning has been `on the job'. As members of the Alberta Food Processors Association they also draw on industry services and supports. "We are fortunate to have a great team working with us and everyone's job satisfaction is essential to our success," says Anita. The success is evident in the response from customers too. Teatro restaurant in Calgary uses Fairwinds' ch�vre cheese in the ravioli that they serve with orange zest and saut�ed broccolini. "The cheese is light, simple, has wonderful flavour and the quality is consistent," says John Michael MacNeil, Teatro's chef de cuisine. "It surpasses ch�vre cheeses I experienced in Europe, and so when I tasted it--I knew I wanted to use it in our restaurant." For more information, call Fairwinds Farm at 403.553.0127.
Seeds of success are growing across Alberta and Saskatchewan Grainworks, The Organic Grain Company, is a unique family farming operation with holdings in Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. The farmland base is made up of over 6,500 acres of brown sandy loam. On the semi-rolling and fertile farmland, owners Dwayne and Doreen Smith organically grow open-pollinated varieties of grains and legumes. The Smith family first homesteaded in 1912. In 1939, Donald Smith started the tradition the family still follows today: to always leave the land in better condition. In the 1980s the family decided to switch to organic farming. Information on organic farming on the prairies was scarce at that time and the early years were often discouraging. The family pressed on and in 1988 earned their first organic certification; since then they've been certified by at least one and regularly two certification agencies. Maintaining the health of their soil is the cornerstone of Grainworks' organic farming practices, and they do everything they can to teem it with micro-organic life and natural nutrients to create nutritious and tasty food. They also use crop rotation and by alternating different types of crops, they disrupt the life cycles of the weeds and pests that commonly plague conventional farmers. An important organic technique they employ is `plowdowns'. For example, when planting wheat, they plant sweet clover at the same time. The clover grows very little the first summer and the wheat is easily harvested above it. Since the clover is established, it protects the soil when it might be vulnerable to weeds or erosion. Remaining dormant over the winter, the clover bursts into growth with the spring rains. As it
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grows, the clover works its magic by smothering weeds and fixing nitrogen into the soil. Then the Grainworks' team plows the clover under where it acts as a natural fertilizer. More than any other practice, plowdowns ensure a balanced farm ecosystem and support the vitality of their soil and quality of their crops. Today, the company sells more than 100 products including wheat, corn, oats, rice, quinoa, rye, sesame seeds, beans and lentils as well as flakes, mixes and baking ingredients. Customers can find the product line at health food stores throughout Western Canada. Dwayne Ennest has been using Grainworks' products for many years; with colleagues he's involved in Calgary restaurants including Open Range, Big Fish, Diner Deluxe and too, the Urban Baker bakery. "We use the flours, beans, lentils, wild rice and barley," says Ennest. "We like to buy local organic and the quality of Grainworks' products is excellent. We use the flours at the bakery in our desserts and breads for all the restaurants, and use the lentils as natural starch in our soups." Grainworks also exports--sending rye to Asia for bread production, and rye, flax and wheat to large mills and commercial bakeries in the United States. "From a farmer's perspective we don't just grow commodities and sell at the grain elevator," says Dwayne. "Our success is in our vertical integration... and that we have established a strong brand that creates `pull' for our product through the stores." The Smith family's plans for the future of Grainworks may well include the next generation. Dwayne and Doreen have three sons and a daughter already intimately familiar with the business; the two oldest boys are involved in field work. The company is looking to increase its domestic market share and has exciting new initiatives in mind too. "We plan to expand into different `unconventional' cereal grains that are not typically grown in Western Canada," says Dwayne. For more information, visit www.grainworks.com Jill Hilderman is past co-editor of the International Profile magazine. An independent communications consultant, she serves clients in agriculture, oil and gas, academia, commercial construction, financial services and non-profit sectors. She may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organic resources Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada www.organicagcentre.ca The Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) conducts organic farming research and provides knowledge transfer and extension services for organic farmers. The OACC website includes virtual farm tours of organic farms, organic news articles, market information for organic products, local and organic food, organic standards, organic regulations, organic policy, organic events in Canada, organic issues and career opportunities in organic agriculture for students.
Canadian General Standards Board--Organic Agriculture www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/cgsb/on_the_net/organic/index-e.html The Canadian Standards are a work in progress. The Canadian National Standard for Organic Agriculture is provided courtesy of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The Organic Production Systems standards are available from this website, specifically, the General Principles and Management Standards and the Permitted Substances List.
Organic Agriculture--Getting Started www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex10031 This Government of Alberta web page provides a series of fact sheets on starting an organic agriculture business in Alberta.
Alberta Organic Producers Association www.albertaorganicproducers.org This site includes information on `Why Certified Organic', `Organic Certification', `Alberta Organic Verification' and `Organic Members and Products'.
Organic Products Regulations, 2009 www.laws.justice.gc.ca/en/c-0.4/sor-2009-176 The full document of the Organic Product Regulations, 2009 may be downloaded from this site.
OCIA International www.ocia.org The leader in organic certification excellence; this site contains information about OCIA, the International Standards and By Laws, related forms, the USDA National Organic Program Standards and the Quebec Standards.
Organic Certifiers www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/bdv8046 This Government of Alberta web page provides a list of companies that certify organic production in Alberta.
Off the beaten track Travelling through Drumheller to the east takes you along the meandering Red Deer River. You'll pass the once thriving town of Dorothy whose essence is now captured in a small cabin furnished in early 1930s style. It sits beside two churches and close to one of the last of the wooden grain elevators in Alberta. Continuing up and out of the narrow valley you can see for miles. Native prairie grass pastures and cultivated wheat and canola fields form a checkerboard pattern that repeats endlessly to the horizon. Drive through the country and you begin to understand why the locals feel claustrophobic when they are in the forest and mountains. The vast landscape makes it easy to envision the historic herds of buffalo that once roamed free in this area. This land is part of the ancestral lands of the Siksika First Nations, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Arrow heads and buffalo skulls are a reminder of the history of the region. The Great Depression and the drought years of the 1930s decimated the population of this region. The Alberta government created a unique system of municipal governance to recover the region and `Special Areas' was born. Covering five million acres and home to about 5,000 people, Special Areas is a poignant example of how weather and ecosystem can create vast, sparsely populated landscapes. Exploring the Special Areas is best done in a big loop. The plains above Dorothy change to the Hand Hills, one of the largest tracts of fescue grasslands in the world as you travel east to Hanna. In June, stop in at the Hand Hills Rodeo, the longest running rodeo in Alberta. Soon you are in Hanna, the largest town in the region. Stop at the Hanna Pioneer Village or take the town's historic walking tour. Just south of Hanna is Fox Lake and the Prairie Oasis Park. Close by is an 18-hole golf course created by retiring Senator Jack Horner. He liked to play golf and used his Senate retirement package to create a gift for the community that had supported him and his family. Driving north from Hanna takes you past the TK Ranch. True grit and determination by the Briggs family has resulted in sustained production of a grass-fed beef product. The original ranch was started in 1956, but in 1995 the Briggs family deviated from the regional norm and began marketing a quality grass-fed product directly to consumers. When they started direct marketing it was a new and different approach to selling beef in Alberta. They learned lessons that included refrigerated transport trucks, how to teach meat cutters what their customers wanted, and the regulations around labelling. Leaving the native grass pastures of the TK Ranch and travelling east takes you along the spine of the Neutral Hills, the transition zone between the aspen parkland to the north and the mixed prairie grasses of the south. Swainson and redtail hawks circle looking for careless gophers. In the spring you'd see purple prairie crocuses on the hillsides. In the summer the wind carries the fragrance of wild prairie roses and blooming wolf willow. Signs for the towns of Coronation and Consort mean you are close to the Saskatchewan border and the eastern edge of the Special Areas. Maybe you want to stay a while at Prairie View Farm Bed and Breakfast or at Poverty Flats Creations. You could book a riding lesson at the Kelts or Zieffle's Riding Arena and try your hand at cattle penning. On the way south, use your GPS to find the Mud Buttes geocache site. This small naturally eroded badlands is on the edge of the rolling Neutral Hills before they smooth out into a more classic mixed grass native prairie. The little town of Empress is developing a vibrant, expanding artistic community sitting close to the coulees of the Red Deer River. You are in pronghorn antelope country, so keep your binoculars handy to get a good look at the fastest animal in North America. Travelling a little further south takes you through a sparsely populated and vast grassland where you can hear the silence broken by a hawk's cry or the meadowlark's song. Book a night or two at the Western Uplands Ranch near Bindloss. In the fall you can book a guide for hunting, or get on a horse and see the Prairie close up and leisurely. Take a few days and explore the wild side of the Canadian prairie and peek into a culture that is truly western. This special region welcomes discerning visitors looking for something off the beaten path. For more information and to plan a trip, visit www.travelspecialareas.com Peggy Strankman develops environmental policy for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. She credits her appreciation of nature to the subtle beauty and vast horizons of the Special Areas and her love of cows to her dad. She can be reached at email@example.com
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Chances are your Calgary Stampede experience will leave you wanting to see more of the traditions and culture of prairie Canada. Your desires dovetail with a recent trend where vacationers seek out unique and uncommon areas to visit. Just northeast of Calgary you will find such an area. B P S Y EGGY TRANKMAN
Castor Coronation Sulliva n L ake K ir kpat r i c k L ake G r a s s y I sl an d L ake D owlin g L ake
Hanna Drumheller Re d De
S o un din g Cr ee k
PHOTOS: top J.F. Tourrand, bottom left Paulo Waquil, bottom right Silvina Carrizo THE PROFILE
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Born to Buck:
creating rodeo superstars Watching a cowboy ride a bucking horse has been an exciting part of rodeo since the sport began at the turn of the last century. Back then, cowboys would try to stay on a horse until it stopped bucking. While this made for long thrilling minutes for the cowboy and the crowd watching, it also managed to deplete the supply of bucking horses because eventually the horses just gave up their natural desire to buck. In 1927, a 10-second rule was introduced, which later became the 8-second rule that is used at rodeos today. This time limit allows for an exhilarating ride while also ensuring the horse will maintain its instinct to buck. The top bucking horses that you see at the Calgary Stampede perform only three times over the 10-day Stampede. That's a total of 24 seconds. They are among the hundreds of horses that are bred specifically to be bucking broncs at the Calgary Stampede Ranch in east central Alberta. The Stampede's Born to Buck breeding program produces some of the best rodeo rough stock in the world. In fact, the program has received 252 awards and honours over the years, most recently, in 2009, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association named the Calgary Stampede "Stock Contractor of the Year" in professional rodeo. And the Stampede herd's great stallion Grated Coconut has been the world bareback champion horse an unprecedented six times. "We are extremely proud of our breeding program and in 2009 the Calgary Stampede was awarded the `Remuda Award' which recognizes excellence in breeding rodeo livestock by the Profession Rodeo Cowboys Association," says Stampede senior manager of Rodeo and Chuckwagons, Keith Marrington. It all started in 1961, when the Calgary Stampede founded its 21,773 acre ranch with 100 horses and a vision to breed outstanding bucking horses. The land is surrounded by 75 kilometres of fencing with 14 pastures of native and tame grasses and a creek. It was purchased for about $200,000, and is now worth several million dollars.
While there have been as many as 500 horses on the ranch from weanlings to retired stock, the current bucking herd consists of 391 horses: � 100 "A" Team horses; 95 of these were bred and raised at the ranch � 125 "B" Team horses; more than 95 per cent were bred and raised at the ranch � 166 young horses including 18 embryo transplant colts that are now of bucking age; 16 of them (90 per cent) have been identified as "A" inventory
The herd is managed carefully with ongoing performance and breeding assessments. The complete herd of both horses and bulls are inventoried every spring and fall. A custom-built database keeps vital information on breeding and performance. Using generations' worth of information on performance and genetics, the Born to Buck program pairs stallions and mares that are likely to create offspring that will buck. A number of different breeds are known to have an influence on a good bucking horse. Every spring the resulting batch of foals arrives and each one is given a name from the same letter of the alphabet. For example, 1996 was an "F" year therefore names like French Wake, Flavoured Cherry and Fearless Warrior were selected. In 2010, the foals will all receive names that begin with a "W". The foals stay with their brood mare until October, when they are weaned and introduced to people and halters, and are handled for the first time. Twice a year the young horses have their feet trimmed and are given medication to prevent disease. Otherwise they're left alone to enjoy growing up on the Stampede Ranch; complete with plenty of exercise, abundant prairie grass and fresh, clean water. At nearly four years of age, the horses are introduced to sheepskin flank straps and light saddles. A few months later they're saddled and ridden by novice riders in order to assess the young horse's bucking potential. The animals that show character, ability and the desire to buck are developed further including a strict diet and exercise regimen.
Raising a bucking horse from birth to age five is a significant investment. A proven bucking horse, one that could be selected for the Canadian and world finals is a very valuable asset. "Horses of this caliber could be valued at as much as a quarter of a million dollars," says Keith. All of the Born to Buck horses are branded on their left shoulder with a C lazy S, the Stampede's registered brand. About 165 Stampede horses perform annually at rodeos throughout Canada and the United States. Each of the horses will buck a maximum of 15 times over the course of a year (that works out to be 120 seconds). The bucking horse stock average 11.5 trips per year. The Stampede Ranch sends horses to 25 rodeos a year (12 U.S. rodeos and 13 in Canada) for a total of 118 performances. Stock is sent to one-day convention rodeos, college rodeos, Professional Bull Riders events and is well represented with stock at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton, Alberta, and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. The Stampede's Born to Buck program has produced more than its share of champions and superstars. It develops healthy, strong horses that are athletic, calm and comfortable around people. And most of all, they love to buck!
THE CALGARY STAMPEDE INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE EXISTS TO SHARE AN ALBERTA AGRICULTURAL HOSPITALIT Y E XPERI ENCE WITH OUR I NTERNATIONAL GUESTS AND STAMPEDE FAMI LY. The Calgary Stampede International Agriculture Committee thanks the following partners whose support is essential for our program
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE