September 2021

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Alberta’s Centennial Ranches strongly connected to Gentec and its Board

Gentec is delighted to welcome three new industry leaders to its Management Advisory Board (full list here): Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, Sean McGrath and Bob Kemp. Two of them carry the legacy and honour of being associated with Alberta Centennial Ranches. We will bring you their stories, starting with Cherie Copithorne-Barnes (CL Ranches). Read more here.

Next month, after this short introduction, Sean McGrath of Round Rock Ranching. of Round Rock Ranching, all as part of a monthly series on the people and histories behind Alberta’s Centennial Ranches.

Our third new Board member, Bob Kemp, has been a long-term partner of Gentec as former Chair of PigGen Canada. He is VP R&D and Genetic Programs at Genesus, the Canadian and international pig-breeding company. Starting his career as an extension specialist in the US, he worked on livestock genetic programs with the Ontario government and beef genetic programs at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada before providing genetic services for a range of breeding organizations before joining Genesus. Bob and his wife live in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Gentec: The best-kept secret in Canadian agriculture

David Andrews, owner/operator of Lazy A Farms Ltd. and Chair of Gentec’s Management Advisory Board, explains why he thinks Gentec is essential to the future of the Canadian beef industry and what it has to do to get there. Read more here.

Ambitious 10-year goals for the beef industry

In the last year, Canadian Beef Advisors has released a suite of seven ambitious goals for the beef industry that highlight its positioning and desire to help solve today’s Big Challenges. Brenna Grant, Secretariat of the Canadian Beef Advisors, explained the background and context of each goal. Read more here.

Summary. Overcoming divisions in the sector

Canada’s agri-food sector includes a plethora of organizations devoted to advocacy, whether by commodity, province or as umbrella groups. The down side is that fragmentation increases the risk of a siloed approach when a common effort may better address today's issues. In other words, as we often say at Gentec, we have to increase the overall investment for agriculture before we each advocate for our share of the pie.

On September 23, the Agri-Food Innovation Council hosted a webinar on how to approach ministers most effectively. Gentec brings you a summary of the key points here.

Arm-chair Rancher

Gentec CEO Graham Plastow and Dave Wishart, also from UAlberta, are collaborating to develop a mobile app that captures the plethora of data routinely recorded on-farm, and optimizes producers' decision making. Read more here; and, for more insight, listen to the audio snippets by Graham Plastow embedded in the article.

Brazil's new carbon-neutral beef

Brazil has one of the largest national herds in the world, and a vested interest in growing that herd and reducing its ecological footprint. Researchers at the national Agricultural Research Corporation have found a way to counteract the emissions culminating in 2020 with a certified brand of Carbon Neutral Beef. Read more here.

The French do it (2nd) best

Only the Irish have a stronger, better integrated R&D system for beef research in Europe. The French system is complex, including both top-down and bottom-up institutions that connect people and knowledge. Is this something Canada's fragmented beef sector can learn from? Read more about the French system here.

Supply chain issues in the US beef sector need solving

The American Farm Bureau Federation  sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack outlining potential solutions to the on-going supply chain issues facing US farmers caused by the pandemic. See a summary here. Since the Canadian and US beef sectors are highly integrated, could these be our issues and solutions (adapted), too?

Grazing cattle in wooded areas reduces wildfire risk

Assuming enough animals, grazing woodlands produces small open areas that can act as fire breaks. This is just one reason for re/introducing cows to the woods. Find out more here.

Cows' digestive system is the basis for novel biorefinery

Africa can't afford to build ethanol plants but smaller systems, based on four-stomach rumination, might be an answer to producing biogas affordably. Read more here.

Potty-training cows

Researchers in Germany and New Zealand have demonstrated that it is possible to train calves to poop in a desired place rather than wherever the urge comes upon them. While this may not seem like a priority research area at first blush, the benefits to animal health and sanitation could be significant. Read more here.

In this project, the researchers refer to the MooLoo -- but similar endeavours have equally clever names. UBC has an Interactive Camera Urination and Defecation Training Program, or I.C.U.P. (say it out loud). And BCRC always loved that our omics laboratory looking at feed efficient cattle was called AGPU!

Face-to-face at last!

We were finally able to host an in-person team social event on September 22. The group went to the Rooster Cafe & Kitchen, which hosted a Paint Nite for us. We also said Congratulations to Xuechun Bai who tied the knot in August (bottom row, 3rd from left, next to her husband).


October 1-3. Olds Fall Classic. Olds, AB
October 6-7. Alberta Livestock Expo. Lethbridge, AB
October 12-14. 4th Animal Gut Health & Nutrition Summit 2021. Durham, US
October 19-20. Animal AgTech Innovation Summit
October 20. Ag in Motion
October 20. Red Deer Swine Technology Workshop. Cambridge, AB
October 20-22. Leman China Swine Conferencea and World Swine Industry Expo, China
October 25-26. AIC 2021 – Agri-food Research and Innovation in Service of a Net-zero Carbon Economy. Toronto, ON
October 26. Supply Chain Logistics and Sustainability
October 27-28. International Conference on Survivability in Swine. Omaha, US
November 2-18. North American International Livestock Exposition. Louisville, KY, USA
November 10-12. Agri-Trade Equipment Expo. Red Deer, AB
November 10-13. FarmFair International. Edmonton, AB
November 15-17. Manitoba Forage and Grassland Assoc. Regenerative Agriculture Conference. Brandon, MB
November 16-17. Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium. Saskatoon, SK
November 18. Cultivating Trust: Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan. More details coming
November 22-23. Advancing Women in Agriculture
November 22-27. Canadian Western Agribition. Regina, SK
November 23. John Waters Zoonotic Diseases Workshop. Edmonton, AB
November 24-26. Agricultural Excellence (AgEx)
November. Agriculture Enlightened Conference. More details coming.
To December 7. Antimicrobial Resistance from a One Health Approach. Webinar series

The lighter side: Yes, meat really does grow on trees!

All levity aside, the early September flooding in Louisiana caused widespread damage, and stuck things in trees that really don't belong there, like cows and boats. All ended well for this animal.
© Livestock Gentec, 2021

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Livestock Gentec-AFNS
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University of Alberta
Edmonton AB T6G 2H1 

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Livestock Gentec · 2-31 General Services Bldg · University of Alberta · Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1 · Canada

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