2016 was a challenging year for the cattle industry in Manitoba.
Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) General Manager Brian Lemon says that prices fell for the better part of the year, although they did start to stabilize towards the end of 2016.
One bright spot, according to Lemon, is the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives (MBFI) near Brandon.
"It's a really exciting place where we're doing some applied research, so we're doing it on a farm scale where producers can come out and see some of the most innovative and new ideas actually in practice on a farm," he explained. "We are hoping to put the shovels in the ground this spring on a learning centre where we can host events year round out there and it's going to be certainly a hub for extension activities as well as innovation in our cattle industry for many years to come I hope."
Lemon said another highlight from 2016, was fully restored market access to Mexico.
He notes Manitoba's cattle herd saw a modest increase of about 3 per cent, however it's nowhere near the goal set by the province. Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced earlier in the year that he would like to see the herd grow back to pre-bse numbers.
The focus for MBP in 2017 will be issues related to flooding as well as problem predators. Public trust will also be a key issue in 2017.