Australia-bound for the Five Nations Beef Alliance Conference

After a busy week of networking, mind mapping and proposing solutions to food insecurity at the Youth Ag Summit in Calgary, I am now preparing to leave for Australia to meet up with the Five Nations Beef Alliance. Who is that, now? Allow me to elaborate.

Four of the world’s major beef producing nations – Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States – started meeting in 1976.  In 1993, with the addition of Mexico, the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) was formed.

FNBA is a private entity that works on trade liberalization, encouraging science-based decision making, urging sanitary and phytosanitary standards are met in beef producing countries, supporting animal identification, maintenance of animal welfare codes and encouraging practices that support a sustainable future in beef.

This year, the FNBA Conference will be held in Brisbane, Australia from September 8 to 13. The conference will include roundtable sessions, property visits (including Brindley Park Feedlot and Roma Salesyards) and meetings to address some of the challenges and opportunities in the beef industry.

But, the meetings won’t be entirely old-fashioned. The FNBA established a youth program in 2010, called “Young Ranchers” (YR), whereby each of the five nations selects representatives between the ages of 18 and 35 to take part in FNBA events. In Canada, past and present Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) participants were encouraged to apply for the opportunity to attend. And this year, Canada will be sending two delegates to Australia: Jake Meyer, a rancher and 2012/2013 graduate of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program, and myself.

In addition to participating in FNBA tours and meetings, the Young Ranchers will be expected to present a paper on beef sustainability in their respective countries, and their vision for the next ten years. We will also explore opportunities for youth engagement and constructive communication around beef production.

Check back often to hear/read what is going on with the Five Nations Beef Alliance, how CYL/YR will move forward from the conference, and not to mention some (hopefully) epic photographs! Oh, and if you’ve ever been to Australia, I wouldn’t mind some advice on packing…Three or four gallons of sunscreen?

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