Aug 26, 2010 by Lee Hart

Supply managed beef industry?

I know many Canadian beef producers have been reluctant to
consider the concept of supply managed beef production, but there may come a
day when egos have to bite the bullet and seriously look at that option.

I understand the last rancher who used the words “supply
management” at a producer meeting mysteriously ended up at the bottom of Lake
Diefenbaker while on a quiet Sunday afternoon fishing trip. The really weird
thing, he somehow got tangled up in a rope with three mineral blocks attached
to it before he went overboard.

I make the comment about “supply management” after visiting
an Alberta dairy farm recently. Yes, it is a big investment to establish a
dairy, but then I don’t think a properly outfitted ranch comes cheaply, either.
But this dairy farm was a place of growth and optimism. And that was a good
thing to see.

A successful dairy requires investment, hard work, and
plenty of attention to management details. The key to financial success is the dairy
producer can sell product into an assured market and make a decent return on
investment.

Boy, wouldn’t that be a nice change for the beef industry,
rather than hoping that a cull cow is worth more than 25 cents, and reliving
fond memories of the time 10 years ago when calves actually sold for $1.30
pound.

I am not going to lead the charge on this one, but I have to
wonder if whatever downside of supply managed beef is any worse than the grief,
anxiety, and frustration beef and perhaps even hog producers have gone through
in recent years.

Supplying a quality product, into a steady market, and being
paid a fair price – it seems to me that’s what everyone is hoping for.

(Oh, yes, if I am not seen for three days, please tell my
family I love them.)

-30-

Lee Hart

Lee Hart


Lee Hart is a long-time farm writer, and honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, with many observations on the agriculture industry, who never hesitates to admit he is wrong (should that ever happen.)


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