The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association wrapped up their 103rd Annual General Meeting in Regina on Tuesday. Newly-elected SSGA President Shane Jahnke said “our members are heading out of the meeting informed, energized, and united.” Jahnke, who ranches near Gouldtown, is the third generation of his family to serve as SSGA President.
A highlight of the AGM was the participation of world-famous animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin. Before the meeting, Dr. Grandin gave a public presentation combining her two areas of expertise – animal welfare and autism. The presentation was a partnership with the Autism Resource Centre. Dr. Grandin also spoke at the AGM on Monday about ways to reduce stress on livestock during handling.
Other AGM sessions dealt with humane transport of cattle, premises identification, risk management, the labour market in the agriculture sector, and other topics.
The prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award went to Miles and Sheri Anderson of Fir Mountain for their Greater Sage Grouse conservation efforts and rangeland stewardship.
“Animal welfare and environmental stewardship are not new to beef producers,” Jahnke said. “These are ever-evolving issues that have always been top priorities for us, because we depend on healthy land and healthy animals to sustain our operations.”
The SSGA’s membership passed a series of resolutions. Through these, the association calls upon the Saskatchewan government to offer fire insurance for grass; to permit a licensed hunt of cougars in response to habituated animals threatening livestock; to review policies on taxing land made unproductive by large-scale flooding; revisions to The Provincial Lands Act; and to retain the existing fuel tax exemption.
Other resolutions called on industry agencies to improve the carcass grading and pricing system; and to research and promote the effectiveness of grasslands as carbon sequestration.