Governments respond to beef industry’s safety needs
NAPPAN - The Nova Scotia Cattle Producers has received government money to support a safe handling program.
During a visit to the Maritime Beef Testing Station here on Saturday, both the federal and provincial governments announced a combined contribution of $89,100 to the Safe Handling of Cattle Program created by the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers.
“I’m glad the government is starting to listen to what the producers want,” said Larry Weatherby, chair of the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers, and a beef farmer in Harmony. “We’ve been pushing for it now for five years and they kept putting it aside saying, ‘we have no money.’”
Along with the funding assistance from the governments, the Nova Scotia cattle industry is contributing an additional $130,000 to the program.
The program will provide 40 per cent, to a maximum of $1,000, towards the cost of new handling equipment such as chutes and cattle squeezes. Beef farmers will need to come up with the remaining 60 per cent.
Brian Trueman, a beef farmer in Truemanville, attended the announcement.
“The biggest thing I saw (Saturday) is that the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers has had an influence on the government,” said Trueman. “They talked and worked something out together.”
Trueman says he has animal handling equipment and will not apply for the program.
“If you have handling equipment now you won’t utilize this program but for somebody who doesn’t have the equipment it will be a big help.”
Trueman says beef farming can be dangerous and the new equipment will help with safety.
“There’s probably not an industry that’s more accident prone than agriculture because you’re dealing with the unpredictability of animals,” he said. “Something like this is needed and the government actually listened to them, so that’s nice, that’s encouraging.”
He also says new equipment will help with animal safety.
“One of the things mentioned was that 30 per cent of the males going through the sales barns these days are un-castrated bull calves because people don’t have the facilities, so that should help that a little bit and improve the bottom line.”
Trueman understands government funding is limited.
“There’s a million different places a farmer needs to put money,” he said. “I have a whole lot of equipment at home, so I’m in the process of putting up a machinery storage.
“Everybody’s needs are a little different,” he added. “It’s hard for the government to be all things to all people.”
The Safe Handling of Cattle Program was funded under Growing Forward 2, which is a cost-sharing program between the provincial and federal governments.
Cumberland-Colche st er -Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong, who was on hand for the announcement, hopes beef farmers continue to make their needs known.
“We want to listen to the industry to see how that budget is allocated to support the industry, so we’re looking at more and more (Growing Forward 2) applications to come,” said Armstrong.”
Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell echoed those words.
“We’re going to do more and more things directed at the industry that meets requests rather than putting programs together that don’t fit what the industry needs,” said Colwell. “At the end of the day we have to grow agriculture in the province.”
Weatherby says Nova Scotia beef farmers need to have applications in for the Safe Handling of Cattle program by Dec. 31.
Nova Scotia Agriculture minister Keith Colwell (from left), Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong, and Larry Weatherby, chair of the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers, discussed cattle Saturday morning at the Maritime Beef Testing Station in Nappan.