By: Philip Moscovitch, FCC Express
Beef, pork and sheep producers in Nova Scotia are teaming up to save money and co-ordinate their efforts. Pork Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers and the Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia have come together to form a new organization called the Agri-Commodity Management Association.
Brad McCallum, the 27-year-old executive director of the association, is an agrologist who comes to the job from a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
He says the Agri-Commodity Management Association isn’t going to supplant the pork, beef and sheep producers’ groups. Rather, it’s going to provide professional services, help co-ordinate lobbying efforts, reduce overhead and produce research, background and briefing notes while looking for new opportunities for red meat producers.
High on the list of services the association will offer is the administration of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advance Payments Program, which provides cash advances on the value of agriculture products.
With over 800 members, the cattle producers’ association far outnumbers the pork and sheep farmers. But McCallum says he’s not worried that their interests will swamp those of the other groups.
“The three producer groups will still continue to exist. We’re working with their boards directly, providing services to them,” McCallum says. “They will each continue to do their own lobbying efforts. Our job will be to provide them with background information to help them with those efforts and to see where they can work together on initiatives as a single group.”
McCallum says that serving farmers means they will have more time to go about the business of agricultural production, rather than spending volunteer time on administration.
“The pork board has been without a general manager for two-and-a-half or three years,” he says. “Now, there’s an organization in place to provide background information and attend meetings on their behalf. Having someone there to take care of business for them means they can attend to their own businesses.”