Huron Beef Producers to donate five full animals to Food Bank Distribution Centre
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The Huron County Beef Producers held their annual meeting on Jan. 13, virtually via Zoom, to discuss 2020 and look ahead to 2021.
Hosted by President Kevin McArter and Secretary/Treasurer Kittie MacGregor, nearly 25 members and local dignitaries took part in the meeting, including Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb and MPP Lisa Thompson.
Thompson thanked the producers for all they’ve done to keep feeding residents, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world. She also acknowledged that they’ve done this as the province has faced a significant lack of processing capacity, both provincially due to COVID-19 outbreaks at plants and locally due to the Green’s Meat Market fire.
She and her husband Dennis attended the group’s drive-through barbecue in the summer, she said, and were happy to be fed by the group. She did, however, miss the dance that was scheduled to accompany the event, but hopes it will move ahead this summer when everyone has been vaccinated and the event can be held safely.
Lobb also expressed his gratitude to the group and acknowledged the processing capacity issues in the province, saying he has been championing the cause in Ottawa whenever he can. He told the Beef Producers there really needed to be some analysis regarding expanding capacity in the province and he hoped his level of government could aid in that process.
With the Beef Producers’ annual meeting being held virtually by way of members attending through Zoom at their homes, McArter recommended that the organization make a donation to the Brussels Legion, the traditional home of the meeting.
McArter said a member had mentioned it to him as a possibility before the meeting and he was in favour of it and asked members what they thought. There was no discussion on the matter, but members were in favour of the donation.
Ron Stevenson of the Walton area suggested donating $500 to the Legion, after MacGregor said that hosting the annual meeting and meal at the Legion typically costs the organization a total of $1,300. Members approved the donation.
In addition, Stevenson and McArter also detailed some other charitable work the Beef Producers have been doing and will continue through 2021.
Late last year, the organization purchased a Huron County Beef Producers’ animal from the Brussels Livestock auction with the intent of donating it to the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre. The organization paid for the animal, in addition to the processing and wrapping costs at Green’s Meat Market.
McArter said the beef was broken down into three-pound roasts and two-pound packages of ground beef and those at the centre were pleased with that. The animal is due to arrive at the centre sometime within the next two weeks, he said.
After the success of that first donation, the Beef Producers, McArter said, planned on buying four animals over the course of the year for the centre to continue to assist residents as demand for the centre’s services continues to rise.
Stevenson said he was very proud of the organization for spearheading that initiative, calling it a good news story.
In his president’s report, McArter said he has been very proud of the work the group has done over the past year, despite challenging circumstances regarding a lack of processing capacity and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that while some wanted to cancel the summer barbecue outright, he’s proud that it went ahead safely as a drive-through event. The Beef Producers sold out the meal, he said, even adding another 100 tickets, which also sold out. McArter said he’s sure the organization could have sold another 50 or 75 tickets to the meal.
Not only was it beneficial for the Beef Producers to host the event and raise money for the organization, but he said it was clear that “people needed it” at that point in the pandemic and associated control measures.
With the Beef Farmers of Ontario set to hold their annual general meeting virtually next month, the Huron County Beef Producers had to establish a number of voting delegates to be part of the meeting.
The organization went ahead with the list of delegates established ahead of last year’s annual general meeting.
The voting delegates for this year are: Elliott Miller, Ron Cook, Neil Rintoul, Matt Shortreed, Bob Bennett, Doug Scott, Dan Hoggart, Ron Bennett, Joanne Cook, Glen Walker, Dallas Coultes and Kevin McArter, with Harvey Hoggart serving as the organization’s advisory councillor.
The annual meeting of the Beef Farmers of Ontario is set for Feb. 17-18, running virtually from 1-4 p.m. each day.