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Happy New Year

We want to wish you all a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017.

We want to thank all the family and friends who helped us out in 2016. We couldn’t do it without you. Bad weather, mean mother cows, busted equipment or grumpy ranchers, everyone stepped up when we needed it. Thank you.

As always 2016 had it’s ups and downs for the ranch.

Kara lost her Dad in February. A number of other good friends and neighbours passed away in early 2016. Spring was hard on the heart for a lot of people.

The year started with bad drought conditions. It was enjoyable not calving in the snow and cold ūüôā but all the plants had a slow start to the growing season. The rains can in July which was a mixed blessing: the grass grew but the hail devastated the crops.

We had a couple hundred kindergarten kids come out from Cochrane in the spring to learn about Agriculture and the ranch. That was fun.

We doctored a lot of cattle in the pasture this summer. The wet weather caused a lot of foot-rot. It’s always fun to rope cows with Dad and the guys. Speed, planning, adrenaline, danger, fast horses and a 35 ft lariat combine to make an exciting mix.

Harvest went well (at least on the stuff that wasn’t hailed out).

Cattle prices were down by 40% from last year which was a major hit to us. You need to role with the punches in this industry so we’ll buckle down and see if we can get through to next fall.

Speaking of punches, the NDP isn’t doing agriculture any favors. Thanks to their policies we’ve had a major feedlot operator close, input costs are climbing with no end in sight and they STILL haven’t set the labour guidelines for Agriculture (Bill 6) even though they have been collecting the WCB payments for a full year.

The kids are healthy and are enjoying school. They are riding more and more. The new puppy loves to chase cows. The cows are fat and happy. The wildlife is around in abundance. Deer, elk, moose, coyotes, bears, wolves, cougars, etc, they are all here. We managed to do some team roping in Cochrane which is always fun. Kara and the kids spent the hot summer days in the creek with friends. We even managed to go camping….twice!!!!

With any luck 2017 will be even better than 2016. God Bless.

Eat Beef If You Care About the Environment – Toronto Sun

This article published in the Toronto Sun is¬†100% accurate. Our ranch is home to over 20 species of animals. Everything from mice to bears, rabbits to elk. And it’s all thanks to using our cows efficiently. The buffalo used to graze this land. Now we use cows.

Over-grazing wrecks the land. Everyone knows that. But what about under-grazing? Under-grazing can be just as bad, especially with native grasses (rough fescue). If grass isn’t grazed, eventually the ground cover becomes so thick that sun and rain can’t penetrate the the ground.

I once saw a field that hadn’t be grazed for 20 years. When I moved the old grass litter away the ground underneath was bare dirt. The land was almost barren. ¬†If there had been cows on that land the plant density and health would have been 100x better.

 

http://www.torontosun.com/2016/04/04/eat-beef-if-you-care-about-the-environment?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Eat+beef+if+you+care+about+the+environment

 

 

Provincial Agriculture Service Board Conference – Nuggets of Information

We were very fortunate to participate in the Provincial Agriculture Service Board Conference in Edmonton during the middle of January.  There were some wonderful speakers and a lot of information.  I thought I would share some interesting nuggets of information that I took away with me.  In no particular order:

 

One of the items that many speakers touched on was GM or GE products (genetically modified / genetically engineered). ¬†Many companies and people are taking advantage of the ‘fear sells’ mind set. ¬†These alarmist and fear-mongers spread misinformation or take advantage of the lack of information to sell their products or simply make a name for themselves online. ¬†Here are a few GM / GE items from the conference that stuck in my mind:

  • Pizza Pizza advertises GMO-free tomatoes…but they don’t tell you that cheese is genetically engineered. ¬†The clotting agent used to curdle milk is genetically engineered! ¬†ALL cheese is GE.
  • Golden rice is rice with corn genes. ¬†The rice produces beta-carotene which prevents vitamin A deficiency in kids ¬†(a huge problem in areas that consume a lot of rice). ¬† This rice can save lives…but Green Peace has successfully gotten the rice banned is many areas because it’s GM.
  • Ruby red grapefruit is genetically modified. ¬†The seeds are irradiated before being planted.
  • Make food choices based on facts, not fear.
    • One speaker showed an infographic from the internet that claimed ‘allergies have increased by 400% since GMO food was introduced.
    • She then showed 2 graphs from Florida University. ¬†One graph showed the number of organic food producers in the US. ¬†The other graph showed the number of autism cases in the US. ¬†Both graphs looked almost identical, showing a large upswing. ¬†She then told use that the graphs were from 2 separate studies and are not correlated in anyway.
    • Her point was the alarmists like to correlate things that are not related at all and then prey on your fears.
  • Don’t demonize others for their food choices.

 

One speaker (former Green Peace president) highlighted:

  • Plant biomass is increasing all across the globe because CO2 is up. ¬†CO2 is one of the limiting factors on plant growth; the more CO2 the better the plants grow.
    • Many greenhouses pump CO2 in to promote plant growth.
  • All buildings should be made of wood. ¬†Wood is the ultimate renewable resource. ¬†There are more trees now than there were 100 years ago because of the tree plant programs.
  • Scientists have millions of years data available from ice samples. ¬†They cannot correlate atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature change. ¬†The earth has been through many, many, many warming and cooling cycles over the last 200 million years.

 

The world population is closing in on 9 billion people. ¬†The question is not “Can Agriculture Feed 9 Billion People”. ¬†The question is, “Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion people?” ¬†– Robert D. Saik

 

Canada has the best biosecurity, livestock disease monitoring and control in the world.  For example, the North American avian flu out-break in 2014 / 2015:

  • Canada: ¬†Limited to 11 flocks and 250,000 poultry birds. ¬†It was contained in 3 weeks.
  • US: ¬†Hundreds of flocks, 48,000,000 poultry birds. ¬†It took 6 months to contain.

The American PED outbreak (porcine epidemic disease) cost the US hog industry billions of dollars due to poor biosecurity. ¬†Canada contained it to a small area in the eastern provinces and prevented it’s spread.

 

The US beef herd is increasing very quickly.  The low Canadian dollar should bring cattle buyers up from the US but they may not come up because of the large American herd.

Q4 of 2015 had the fastest price drop in history on 550 lb steers.  The price dropped 24%.

In 2015 we produced 2.7 billion pounds of beef.

 

The government begged the conference organizers to allow a representative from Alberta Jobs, Skills, Labour and Training to speak on Bill 6 and OHS…and then they cancelled at the last minute.

 

Many people claim to support “green” energy like solar and wind power…as long as it’s done out of eye sight. ¬†These “supporters” won’t allow solar panels on their roofs or miniature wind turbines on skyscrapers because it’s an eye sore. ¬†Imagine if every roof in the city produced solar power (right next to the consumers of that power). ¬†But people won’t allow it. ¬†They would rather consume agriculture land and run long distance transmission lines.

WineGlass Ranch Receives Verified Beef Certification

We are very happy to announce that we have passed the Verified Beef audit and are now a Verified Beef certified producer.

“The Verified Beef Production¬†program is based on a series of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) designed to reduce or eliminate the possibility of a food safety concern on a beef cattle operation. These SOP’s are based on internationally-recognized Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principals and the VBP program is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).”

Canadian Cattlemen Quality Starts Here

Cowboy Stories and Poetry

We’ve added a new section to the website. ¬†Cowboy Stories and Poetry. ¬†Every once-in-a-while¬†something will happen and we’ll say “that would make a good story” or “there’s a poem there somewhere”. ¬†Sometimes we’ll even go as far as actually writing it. ¬†We hope you enjoy.