Auction market tunes in pilot project

When BSE hit in 2003, beef producers faced a myriad of information about the crisis — some accurate, some not.

When BSE hit in 2003, beef producers faced a myriad of information about the crisis — some accurate, some not.

The Alberta Beef Producers and Canadian Cattlemen’s Association think they now have an effective way to communicate with members of the industry, and a Ponoka auction company is playing a key role.

Vold Jones & Vold Auction Co. Ltd. is one of two livestock auction markets in Alberta slated to receive a 52-inch video screen. It will be mounted in a prominent place and display a variety of information relevant to its viewers: cattle prices from CanFax, local weather maps, industry announcements and auction sales figures.

News related to the Alberta Beef Producers and Canadian Cattlemen’s Association will also be presented, with the CCA compiling and transmitting the information.

“It’s just an awesome idea,” said Lori Creech, communications manager with the Alberta Beef Producers.

Not only will it provide a centralized source of reliable news in the event of another event like BSE, it will give producers information important for their day-to-day operations, she said.

“You’re bringing that information to them rather than them having to go hunting for it.”

In addition to Vold Jones & Vold, Perlich Bros. Auction Market Ltd. of Lethbridge is participating in the pilot project. Their screens could be in place as early as next week, said Creech.

“The response to the concept has been great, and we’re looking forward to the feedback that we get once we’re in there.”

Blair Vold of Vold Jones & Vold likes the idea.

“I think it’s good information for the industry and it’s probably something that should have been done a long time ago.”

Some 500 people were on hand for his company’s cattle auction on Wednesday, he pointed out, so the TV should draw plenty of attention.

Creech is optimistic the idea will expand, with funding being sought from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency.

“The hope is to have it in all the auction marts across the province.

“The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has a view for this to go across the country. They’ll be working with the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association and Manitoba and Ontario.”

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