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Roger Van Haren, Chair of the Bison Producers of Alberta, was invited to give an interview on live TV - BNN Directions - on August 22nd. The interviewer, in Toronto, asked a variety of questions about our bison industryand the commodity of bison meat. The following is the link of the live interview. http://www.bnn.ca/video/bison-can-weigh-as-much-as-a-mini-cooper-and-they-re-good-eating~935657

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It was the third year for the Elk Island Bison Festival, and it was certainly the best – especially the weather. The Park estimates that over 4,000 people came through the park gates the day of the Festival. The theme was a “Celebration of Conservation, Culture, and Cuisine” – with the afternoon’s schedule highlighting each aspect. Presentations were given throughout the day in the Astotin Theatre, including updates on our bison indsutry. Terry Kremeniuk spoke on the Canadian Bison Industry with the trends in numbers and the work on-going with government agencies. Steven Lunty from Canadian Rangeland Bison outlined the background on their cow/calf operation, and their wholesale and retail meat markets. The Cultural displays and presentations kept visitors entertained with The ‘Iron Head Dancers’ performing their native aboriginal dances on the Stage - a Bison Hide Tanning demonstration, Voyageur Canoe Rides, and Bison (air brushed) Tattoos. The many tent areas on the grounds also exhibited aspects of the bison culture. The Canadian Bison Association was on site next to the Bison Producers of Alberta. Jakob Jud with Rangeland Meat Shop and Neil Hochstein with Alberta Bison Ranch were both on site selling Bison Jerky and frozen bison meat. Other bison craft vendors featured jewelry (loved the creative designs by Doreen Neilley of Maple Roo Bison), leather goods, and artwork both on canvas and in metal. Plans are already underway for the 2017 Elk Island National Park Bison Festival - be sure to join the fun next August.

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From BPA Director, Doreen Neilley, AgCoalition Designate for the Round Table Talks in Airdrie, June 15 & 16 The meetings went better than I was expecting. I think the group has a real chance to create some strong, USEFUL, recommendations for the Government on Education, Training and Certification. We did not reach a final consensus on any recommendation points, but we did arrive at a good basis for the next meeting (July 18-19, again in Airdrie). We heard a number of presentations by various groups such as safety associations for the construction industry here in Alberta, and farm safety associations in British Columbia and Manitoba. One of the things that we heard was that for those operations that have hired people and therefore pay WCB premiums, they can gain annual reductions on their premiums by gaining a COR (Certificate of Recognition, basically a program that helps the operation build a safety program and go through audits to demonstrate that the program is being followed). These reductions in premiums can be as much as 20% in the first year. One of the main points that the producers on the panel were very firm on is that education and training needs to be aimed at the entire industry, not just workers, as the majority of injuries and deaths on farms and ranches are incurred by family members. As members of the agricultural industry, we need to understand that there WILL be some level of education, training, and certification required of us, particularly those of us who employ people for wages. KEY COMMUNICATION POINTS from first meetings: - There is a wide diversity of perspectives represented within this technical working group, but all are in agreement that education can make an important contribution to health and safety in the agriculture industry. - We gathered information about a number of different models that are used for delivering occupational health and safety education in Canada. - -We identified some key questions we need to answer regarding how to structure an education system to ensure it is delivered to people in the agriculture industry in a way that is effective and that meets their needs. - We identified some immediate concerns and gaps in education that require attention as soon as possible. QUESTIONS Arising From the Meeting We identified a need for a method of delivery for education and training which meets the unique needs of the farm and ranch community in this province (very diverse, spread across the province in areas with poor or no Internet connection, limited access to local safety training firms, etc.). The panel wants input on what this would look like (not the type of training, but how it would be delivered). Our Chair and support people have drafted the following QUESTIONS for input. Would you please email me with your thoughts on the following, or any questions you have about them: 1. Should there be a single producer-led safety association to coordinate Agriculture Safety Education across the province, similar to what exists in other provinces and industries (eg. AgSafe BC or Alberta Construction Safety Association)? 2. If there is a producer-led safety association, how should the board of the association be structured (e.g. Who should be on the board)? 3. What relationship should the association have with government organizations (e.g. Alberta Agriculture & Foresty, WCB, OHS, etc.)? 4. Most safety associations are funded either through some combination of an extra levy on WCB premiums and/or fees charged for educational services (WCB collects the money and sends it to the safety association). If there was an agricultural safety association in Alberta (such as exists in the oil and gas and construction industries) how do you think it could/should be funded to ensure sustainable financial support? 5. What do you think the safety association should do? Examples of what other safety associations do include: a. Providing training (workshops, online learning, worksite training and consultation) b. Consulting/coordinating with relevant government bodies (e.g. WCB, OHS, etc.) c. Providing resources (website, workbooks, signage, etc.). d. Providing certificates of recognition (COR) to farm operations that meet the criteria and want one. e. Training and/or verifying individuals/companies who provide safety training (helping operations to avoid fly by night trainers) 6. What so you think the immediate And longer term goals of the organization should be? What issues are emerging in farm safety? 7. For those who are not in support of a single producer-led safety association, what would you like to see that is different? How would you like to see the education system organized and who would you like to see delivering education services? Please e-mail any input on the above to info(at)bisoncentre.com !

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When the fires raged in Fort McMurray, Syncrude's herd of 300 wood bison were left behind - but fortuantelyall the herd is safe and well and operations have returned to near normal. For more than twenty years, the herd at the Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch, which is located near the company's Mildred Lake project, have roamed 500 hectares of reclaimed land north of Fort McMurray. The ranch sits on top of a former open pit mine. Since 1993, Syncrude has used the ranch to demonstrate their reclamation efforts can support plants and animals native to the Wood Buffalo region. The project has been an enormous public relations victory for Syncrude. It was with relief that Brad Ramstad, the Manager for the Syncrude Herd, was able to report the fire missed the pasture areas containing these bison.

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CONGRATULATIONS to Brian and Amanda Newton in winning the Wildrose Raffle for a beautiful 2015 Heifer Calf, donated by Elk Valley Ranches. 'She will be a great addition to our herd", they said.

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