With long time Alberta Beef Producers general manager Rich Smith retiring, ABP has given the reigns to Medicine Hat-area’s Brad Dubeau.
Dubeau couldn’t be happier at the opportunity. Having spent the last three and a half years as the provincial Alberta Beef Producers’ Marketing & Education Manager. He said he was in charge of getting promotional materials out to various groups, producers, business owners and educational institutions. His job was to get information out to those who needed to learn about what the Alberta Beef industry is all about.
He cannot wait to take on this new role to support an industry he loves.
“I grew up in the commercial ranch industry just west of Medicine Hat,” Dubeau explains of the Hereford ranch and now operates a grasser operation in Southern Alberta. “Love to be part of the beef industry. So I got the job earlier and then when the opportunity came up I threw my hat in. I felt like I had something to offer.
“I want to be able to communicate to the public, the consumers about all the aspects we do; and make sure and listen to producers and feedlot owners about their concerns and let them feel we are representing them and continuing to be a strong organization.”
Dubeau has more than education and public relations experience. After studying at Montana State University where he had a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business with a minor in Economics. He had many roles which contributed to his new job as general manager. He spent time with Alberta Hereford Association, the Independent Breeders Service and Alta Genetics. He was also the Director of Communications for the Canadian Hereford Association and Editor of the Canadian Hereford Digest.
ABP in a statement showed faith in their choice and felt Dubeau was the person to lead the organization.
“The ABP Executive, on behalf of the Board of Directors, is extremely proud to promote Brad Dubeau to the position of General Manager. Brad’s knowledge of the industry, determination to work on behalf of Alberta beef producers and ability to connect with consumers made him the ideal candidate. We are excited for his leadership to guide the organization and our industry into the future,” said ABP Chair Kelly Smith-Fraser in a statement.
The present has been a bit difficult as the industry has been going through a challenging patch as the entire global economy has been derailed by the pandemic which has hit all consumers hard and curtailed spending.
However Dubeau says the industry has been through a lot of issues in recent years such as the Mad Cow disease, exports being blocked by longtime markets and the marketing battle with some restaurants pushing for more a plant-based diet or “veggie” replacements of some popular meals.
Dubeau is confident with consultation, exchange of ideas and working hard, the beef industry will overcome these latest challenges as well. Producers are concerned with the current cash crunch right now and are looking for assistance, for example, with the Western Cattle Price Insurance Program (WLPIP). According to the WLPIP website “The program provides producers with protection against an unexpected drop in prices on cattle and hogs over a defined period of time.”
While the deadline to apply was June 18, there was concern about the cost of premiums and even getting money sooner. These are the types of issues Dubeau wants addressed.
“It is really important to put a positive foot forward,” explains Dubeau who says the future use of technology, education on everything from care practices and marketing is so important. Yet, knowing the importance of the beef industry’s history is also critical. “It is an iconic industry, we need to ensure the public knows producers are stewards of the land.
“There is still a huge amount of uncertainty facing producers this fall. There was great uncertainty when the meat processing plants were shutting down… There are always concerns about how potentially markets unfold and (ABP) have to be prepared for that. There remains uncertainty but we are resilient.”
Dubeau knows there are challenges but is confident the Beef Producers can meet them, In the meantime, Dubeau will be working with Smith to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“Rich and myself will look at all the files; there are things we will make sure is (addressed),” explains Dubeau. “Rich is a wealth of knowledge. He absolutely loves the beef industry…he does the best job to find out what needs to be done, what information is needed and how to get those who need to involved in the (ABP staff)… these are the types of things I learned from him and want to use going forward.”