CALGARY, Alberta – The newly-formed Canada Beef Inc. (CBI) is now positioned to move forward with the business of marketing Canadian beef in the domestic and international markets following a recent two-day meeting held in Calgary, Alberta. During the meeting, the inaugural board of directors elected its chair and officers.

Brad Wildeman, a feedlot operator from Lanigan, Saskatchewan, past president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and a co-chair of the Canada Beef Implementation Team tasked with getting CBI up and running, was elected board chair. Robert Meijer, former director of corporate affairs for Cargill Limited, was appointed president effective Aug. 1.

“I welcome the challenge of being the first board chair of Canada Beef Inc.," Wildeman said. "The Canadian cattle and beef industry made clear their desire for one national independent agency to conduct the industry’s marketing, promotion and research activities. With the establishment of Canada Beef Inc., we have accomplished this.

“Our job now is to pursue prosperity for the Canadian cattle and beef industry," he added. "We have a strong and capable organization, a renewed focus on increasing sales of Canadian beef in both the domestic and international markets — and a goal of positioning Canadian beef as the first choice in high quality beef around the world. With Canada Beef Inc., I believe it’s a goal that’s within reach."

Meijer has acquired 14 years of policy, regulatory, legislative, political and communications experience. As Cargill director, he was responsible for Cargill’s Canadian government/regulatory relations, communication and community relation activities. He has also led and managed emerging issues, business risk and customer collaboration for 19 business units in the areas of beef, poultry, milling, malt, grain handling and port services, animal nutrition, and canola processing among others.

He also held a board and/or committee position with a number of key agricultural organizations including: the Federal Roundtables; Flax Council of Canada; Malt Industry Association of Canada; Canadian Poultry Processors Association; Animal Nutrition Association of Canada; Western Grain Elevator Association; Canada Grains Council; and the Canadian Meat Council.

Also elected as officers of the 2011-2012 CBI Board of Directors were: Dane Guignion (Manitoba Cattle Producers Association) as vice chair; Brian Read (XL Meats) as planning and priorities chair; Scott Ellerton (Sysco Canada Inc.) as finance/audit and program performance measurement chair; Mike Kennedy (Cargill Foods) as international beef trade access policy advisory chair; and Chuck MacLean (president, Alberta Beef Producers) as governance chair.

Canada Beef Inc. was established through combining the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (National Check-off Agency), Canada Beef Export Federation and Beef Information Centre. The 16-member board of directors of Canada Beef Inc. was appointed by the Canada Beef Implementation Team and its Governance Committee on July 4.