The fifth annual Canadian Beef Industry Conference was supposed to take place in Penticton, BC in 2020 and again in 2021 but both years, organizers decided to take the event online. The theme for the 2022 conference was Reconnect Today, Invest in Tomorrow, and by all accounts, the program delivered.
Reconnection was evident before the conference began as people spotted each other in airports across Canada. There were handshakes, hugs, slaps on the back, and lots of groups gathered for drinks before boarding. The conference buzz definitely began in airports. As delegates arrived in Penticton, they continued to reconnect with colleagues, friends, and acquaintances from across the country whom they had not seen in years.
The first keynote speaker, Dr. Jody Carrington, hit attendees right in the gut with the reconnection theme. She’s a psychologist so some were skeptical about her ability to relate to a room full of cattlemen, but even the gruffest of cowboys admitted that her key messages resonated—and may have even moved them. The first of those messages is that we are wired to do hard things, but we were never meant to do them alone. Second, if you are not okay, the people you love and lead will not be okay. And third, when people are acknowledged, they rise. It was a very powerful moment when she asked everyone to take out their phone and text someone close to them the words “I don’t know if I tell you this often enough, but you matter to me.”
Thursday morning at CBIC always focuses on economic updates for the Canadian and North American cattle markets and the global economic outlook. This year, a new session on grain markets was added. The second keynote speaker, agri-food consultant and Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute distinguished fellowTed Bilyea brought all the economic updates together, and gave attendees much to think about on the future of Canada’s agrifood industry. He spoke about the impact of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and about the role that food insecurity and China’s food needs and desires will have on agrifood policy. Key takeaways from Ted’s presentation are that power cannot be achieved without food security; reliance on food imports leads to food insecurity; diversifying trade to sub-optimal locations can create environmental damage as well as social unrest; and that China is facing some strategic choices. Success will entail geopolitical/geoeconomic collective action to encourage China trade along a more sustainable path.
CBIC also featured panel discussions and presentations about the Canadian Beef Advisors’ 2030 goals; diversification of cattle operations including retail, wine, cannabis and biogas investments; economic and environmental impacts of implantation; carbon credit programs; rangeland recovery; consumer attitudes towards beef and nutrition; and building a farm/ranch team.
After success offering courses as part of last year’s virtual conference, short afternoon courses were added to the program for the first time this year, including a hugely popular offering of Ranching for Profit; developing a direct-to-market business plan; range management; and farm financing options.
CBIC has been proud to have a strong youth component, with the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program and Young Cattlemen’s Council holding their meetings and activities in parallel with the conference. There was a very strong and visible youth presence, but more impressive was the engagement and connections made between future leaders and leaders who have made a profound impact in long and illustrious careers.
The themes of reconnection and investing in tomorrow were evident in the programming, in the networking, and in the attendees who went home reinvigorated. For those who missed out, visit the CBIC social media platforms for updates. The volunteer social media team created a Twitter thread for every session that summarizes the highlights and key takeaways. Shorter highlights can be found on Instagram andFacebook.
Canadian Angus Association