October 2022 Executive Director Views

October 2022 Executive Director Views

Thank you, Grace!

As many of you know Grace has decided to retire and she will be completing her time with the SSDB by the end of October. We all want to wish her all the best in her retirement.

When I stop and think about Grace retiring, I can’t help but think about the “pillar” that will be absent from the Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board office.  You don’t often know what you have until it’s gone, but it’s easy to see the hole we will have to fill. Grace’s job was more than just a job. She truly cared about each concern or call from producers, as well as the state of the industry.
On behalf of all producers, as well as the board members of the SSDB, I would like to extend my thanks, and wish Grace all the best with her well deserved retirement.
Daniel Goodsman, SSDB Board Chair

As already expressed by the Board, Grace was extremely dedicated to the producers and the sheep industry.  Grace has served well, often going above and beyond. Her contribution at the office and industry will be missed.  I wish Grace all the best in her retirement. Thank you, Grace!
Gord Schroeder, SSDB Executive Director
What happened? Lately these are the first words I hear when I talk to producers.  I’ve done significant investigation trying to find an answer to that question.  There’s a combination of factors at play.   Feed issues are still impacting the markets; additional feeder lambs and culls headed to market with reduced places for them to go.   Lamb feeders in Western Canada are dealing with the same feed issues as producers and feeding lambs is tough with expensive feed, especially during the hot summer months when lambs don’t gain well.  The drop in consumer demand during the summer months and food inflation added to the problem.  The excess short-term supply of both lambs and culls put pressure on prices, adding to panic selling, increasing volumes even further.  Adding to this are the NALCO challenges and the uncertainty of where this will all settle. 

As most of you know by now, the North American Lamb Company and all other subsidiary companies have obtained protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Ernst & Young Inc. was appointed as Monitor of the NALCO Group. There is concern about the future operations of the slaughter plant. Currently the slaughter plant at Innisfail Alberta is operating as usual and all indications at this time are that this will continue.  To find the most current information on the situation go to the Monitors website at www.ey.com/ca/NALCO.

What does the future look like? No crystal ball but I have some thoughts.
 1. Heavier slaughter lamb prices will recover more quickly than feeder lambs.  There will be an incentive for producers to feed their lambs to slaughter weights.  
2. Feed costs are coming down, temperatures are cooling, and the traditional months of short supply are approaching so feeder lambs will become more attractive.  Short term there’s going to be some rough months.   However, the fundamentals of a strong market remain, demand for lamb has not decreased and the supply is not keeping pace.
I remain confident in the future of the sheep industry and encourage producers to ride this current price slump out.   I know some of you are seeing the current situation as an opportunity and are expanding your flocks.

For many of you the feed situation this year is different than in 2021.  There is more feed available but still relatively expensive.  Last year producers were forced to use a variety feed stuffs to feed their flocks through the winter.  Many of you found alternative rations that worked well.  If you found an economical alternative don’t just abandon them even though the traditional feed stuffs are more plentiful.   Feed is the highest cost of your production, if you can keep your feeds costs down without negatively effecting production, why abandon those alternatives?  I again encourage working with a feed nutritionist to find a ration that works for your situation.

The SSDB was busy in July.  We had a booth located in the Livestock Pavilion at the Ag in Motion Show July 19-21st.  This is a great show to connect with individuals currently not in the industry and have sheep industry opportunity discussions.   From Ag in Motion, we went straight into the 2022 Grasslands Sheep Exhibition in Humboldt July 22-24th.  Please see the Grasslands Sheep Exhibition reports in this issue of Sheep Shape.   

There’re just months left to take advantage of the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP) programing.  There are several CAP programing opportunities that producers could be eligible for.  The Saskatchewan Assurance Systems Rebate Program for Sheep Producers application deadline has been extended to March 15, 2023.  Programing provides financial support up to $15,000 to assist sheep producers addressing biosecurity, animal welfare and food safety issues.  Program details can be found on our website at www.sksheep.com or by calling the office if you have questions.   We continue to work with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture on the next agriculture policy framework, currently known as the Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership (SCAP).  We are working to secure a suite of programs that will be beneficial to our producers.  The Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership (SCAP) will be implemented April 1, 2023.  

There are a couple of great learning opportunities coming this fall.  The Getting Started in Sheep Workshop November 4-5th and only a couple of spots left.  The Advanced Sheep Production Course November 18-19, 2022, there are a few spots left for this workshop as well.  A $50 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot, please register by phoning the Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board at (306) 933-5200.  For more details go to our events page at www.sksheep.com.  

Agribition dates are November 28-December 3, 2022. The Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board is again planning to participate in the Family Ag Pavilion. We’re always in the need of volunteers to help throughout the week.  If you’re willing to help us out at the Family Ag Pavilion booth it would be very much appreciated, please call the office to let us know of your willingness to help.    

Agribition 2022 Sheep Show and Sale schedule is as follows:
Commercial sheep, market lamb and pen show -Thursday December 1st @ 4pm
Purebred sheep show – Friday December 2nd @ 9:30
Junior show and costume classes – Saturday December 3rd @ 9:30
Sheep sale – Saturday December 3rd @ 1pm

There are changes coming to the SSDB website and Ewe Shoppe.  In the next weeks the SSDB will be launching a new website.  It is planned that the new site will include the Ewe Shoppe on-line shopping option and be ready to begin operations early in 2023.  We are also expanding the Ewe Shoppe footprint at our office location.  Renovations to the office space are planned to be completed later this fall.  The Ewe Shoppe is owned by Saskatchewan producers, all profits go back into their industry to be used for research, program development and day-to day operations.    

We’re planning for an in-person SSDB Symposium and AGM January 13-14, 2023, at the Staybridge Holiday Inn Express in Saskatoon.  We are pleased to have Sandi Brock of Shepherd Creek Farms Ltd. Ontario as our keynote speaker. There is a block of rooms set aside for sheep producers attending this event so ask for the special room rate.  Full agenda is available on our website and on the back cover of this issue of Sheep Shape.  Hope to see you there.

It’s once again election time for SSDB director positions.  Elections are required in the South East, South West and North West regions.  The SSDB is looking for dedicated individuals who feel they can contribute to the advancement of the Saskatchewan sheep industry.  Election materials including the nomination form can be found in this issue of Sheep Shape. Nomination forms need to be received at our office by midnight November 7, 2022.   If you have any questions, please contact me at the office at 306-933-5582.

Thought for the day: Life has it’s ups and downs, as long as we keep moving we will never be stuck on a down. 

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