Peace Country Regional Meeting a Success

Nov 03, 2017

Peace Country Regional Meeting a great  success !

The BPA hosted the 2017 Peace Country Regional Meeting in Grande Prairie on Saturday, October 21st, planning on about 45 people - and 63 people crowded into the meeting room.  Another sign of the continued interest in the bison industry.  Kudos to the Pomeroy Inn for the additonal tables, and food for lunch.  

Roger Van Haren (Chair of the BPA) opened with an Update on the happenings of the association in 2017,  and also spoke on the upcoming Canadian Bison Association Convention, Show & Sale in Regina.

Next up was Paul Kolesar, who brought a welcome from the National Bison Association in the U.S. and an update on their activities - including their upcoming Gold Trophy Convention / Show & Sale held in January.  Paul commented on the International Bison Conference which was held in July in Big Sky, Montana.  A highlight for him from this event was seeing several thousand bison across the rolling hills at Ted Turner's Flying D Ranch - a highlight for all the IBC attendees.  The goal of Bison One Million was launched at this event (a goal both the CBA and NBA will be working towards), and was discussed briefly.

Gerard Woynarksi with the Benchmarking Project recapped what the project has been doing over the past seven years, and focused on a few of the many results obtained from the data provided by Bison producers in both Saskatchewan and Alberta.  Of great interest was the Benchmark Application Tool that is being developed, a tool that will provide producers with a template to download their own farm operation numbers.

Then it was time for Lunch with Bison Stir-Fry on the menu - and was it ever delicious!  Thank you Canadian Rangeland Bison for donating the bison meat for the stir-fry, and sponsoring the Lunch for this Regional Meeting.

First up after lunch was a Marketing Panel to discuss some new developments in the commerce end of our bison world. 
Steven Lunty, just barely returned from the Anuga Trade Show in Germany and a trip into Switzerland, told us how popular bison meat is in Europe and of the demand for it there.  He spoke on how Europe is looking forward to the lowering of the trade tariff through CETA, and which will hopefully increase the amount of bison that they can import. 
Neil McAllister provided his views on the current pricing of bison, suggesting producers look carefully at those prices when deciding whether or not to keep their own replacement heifers. 
Paul Kolesar outlined how the fluctuation in the U.S. dollar affects the enconomics of bison prices, and how it needs to be closely monitored.  Special guests - Bud and John Flocchini of the renowned Durham Ranch in Wyoming - joined Paul in his discussion on the U.S. side of things.  The three spoke on the changes they had seen over the last couple decades, and all agreed the steady pricing seen over the last years should remain steady as today's market is based on 'meat' and not 'production'.  

Next, Dr. Jayson Galbraith reviewed the 'Bison Code of Practice' - a project just completed after several years of work by a large committee (including Dr. Jayson and Dr. Roy Lewis).  All attendees had the printed booklet of this revised Code, and followed Jayson as he discussed the numerous points that will help guide producers in taking care of their bison. This Code of Practice booklet is an excellent example of bison industry stakeholders working together for the benefit of our industry.

Our last speaker of the day was Bruce Downey, a BPA  Director from Castor.  He was asked to present on Pasture Management Ideas, coming from an area that has been frequently hit with drought.  Of special interest to the attendees was the 'cocktail' cover crop that Bruce uses, providing an assortment of plants that always seem to have something above ground even with a lack of rainfall (including turnip greens on top, with the bison enjoying them and the actual turnips too).   

And it was Ross Adam of the Adam Ranch, Grande Prairie that won our draw for the Special Prize - "A Free Registration to the 2018 Wildrose Bison Convention" !  We look forward to seeing you in Ponoka, Ross.

A "Thank You" to the Sponsors of our Peace Country Regional Meeting :
-  Daco Buffalo Ranch (Morning Coffee)
-  Canadian Rangeland Bison (Lunch)
-  One Time Fencing (Afternoon Coffee)

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