TORONTO—Three representatives from Manitoulin joined more than 500 other farmers from across Ontario last week at the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) annual general meeting (AGM) in Toronto.
Tehkummah beef farmer John McNaughton attended the AGM along with fellow Islanders and voting delegates Brent Best and advisory council member Jordan Miller.
“A lot of the AGM is bringing everyone up to date on the activities of the BFO,” explained Mr. McNaughton.
It was a jam-packed agenda squeezed into two days with presentations from some of the industry’s top professionals.
“Anne Wasko (of Gateway Livestock and a market analyst) did an interesting presentation on the cattle market and what she saw moving forward,” Mr. McNaughton said. “She said the market will be staying in the range it currently is—currently the market is down over the previous year’s highs due to the growing production of pork and poultry.”
Mr. McNaughton said he also found Dalhousie University’s Dr. Sylvain Charlebois’ presentation on ‘fake food’ very interesting.
“He said that a study he did suggests that 42 percent of Canadians have bought fake food, at some point, but that number is probably a lot higher,” said Mr. McNaughton. Fake food refers to food that is labeled inaccurately such as the 2013 horse meat scandal in Europe when some foods advertised as containing beef were found to contain undeclared horse meat.
Despite some interesting guest speakers, he said that like at most AGMs, the conversations one has with fellow producers are very valuable.
“A lot of farmers were talking about predator control,” explained Mr. McNaughton. “Some are saying that they (coyotes) are getting smarter and that they are posing more of a problem because of all the bureaucratic red tape like the growing number of townships where you can’t hunt wolves. The word is also coming out that predator fencing isn’t working as well as it used to as the coyotes/wolves are getting bigger.”
Another conversation he had with fellow BFO members was about consumer perceptions.
“People don’t want to listen to the farmers who are producing the beef because they think they just want to make money, so they are turning to the Internet for information which isn’t always accurate,” said Mr. McNaughton. “This is a real problem.”
Mr. McNaughton said that overall he and his fellow Island delegates from the conference were pleased to return home with new insights on the industry.