While the demographics of farmers and ranchers generally follow an aging trend, there are still many young people getting, and staying, involved in the livestock industry. A prime example is a new group I have the privilege of helping to develop between the US and Canada.
The Canada/US Young Farmers and Ranchers Livestock Forum is being developed by a group of people with a vested interest in the policy and trade aspect of the livestock business.
Working with Canadian Consulate of Agriculture (Denver), producer groups, breed associations and more, we are trying to get young (under 35-ish) farmers and ranchers from both sides of the border together for a roundtable discussion on policy issues that currently affect livestock trade in both countries. The intent is to demonstrate the economic importance of developing, fostering and maintaining strong trading partnerships, specifically the relationship between Canada and the U.S. The plan is to continue this roundtable on an annual basis rotating between locations in Canada and the U.S. For this year, the Forum will consist of topics such as: addressing challenges of country of origin labeling; strengthening our food safety systems / animal health and implications to disease outbreak; environmental regulations / cap and trade climate initiatives; and joint efforts to gain access to the European Union.
As this is the first year, the participant numbers are expected to be small, with approximately 20 participants total, depending on sponsorship. Taking place July 8 – 11 at the Calgary Stampede, in conjunction with the International Livestock Congress (ILC), we expect this event to be a huge success, even in its inception year. Participants will attend the ILC program on July 9th and the Forum itself will be held on the 10th. July 11th will be a day for agricultural tours of the Calgary area. As we move forward in planning this initiative, we are always looking for interest and support. If you have questions, comments or would like to get involved in this exciting new industry initiative, please feel free to contact me.