Top Crop Manager

News
Duane McCartney – Recipient of CFGA Leadership Award

Nov. 28, 2012. Brandon, MB - The Canadian Forage & Grassland Association (CFGA) has selected Duane McCartney as the recipient of the first ever CFGA Leadership Award.

"McCartney's leadership qualities have truly made a difference for the forage and grassland sector on a national and international level," says CFGA Chair, Doug Wray. "We are very pleased he has accepted this honour and will accept our recognition at our CFGA conference on December 11th in Toronto."

McCartney worked in the agriculture industry for over 35 years, and as an employee of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Melfort Research Station in Saskatchewan he was instrumental in developing the first Pasture to Plate forage beef research system in Canada. However, to the producer he is most recognized as the 'face of extended grazing'.

McCartney's timely efforts before and during the aftermath of the 2003 BSE crisis gave alternatives to help save the cow/calf sector of the Canadian beef industry. The extended grazing winter feeding/management systems McCartney researched and extended out into the hands of producers saves close to 50 percent of the cost/day to winter a beef cow. That has been estimated to be anywhere from $70-165 million in savings to cow/calf producers in Alberta alone. These new systems addressed economics where it mattered most, since feed and management in winter are 60-65 percent of the total production cost of cow/calf producers.

As a result of McCartney's work and leadership, extended grazing systems have now become a common practice in use by most cow/calf producers in Canada. He extended his research findings at provincial livestock conferences, producer meetings all across Canada, international conferences, and in the farm press. The "300+ Days Grazing" phrase he coined is now used in publications throughout North America.

McCartney has succeeded in bringing the range and tame pasture communities together in North America. He formed a Canadian Chapter of the Society for Range Management (SRM) for Saskatchewan and Manitoba. For 25 years he has had an active role in SRM in its North American activities. Through his efforts it is now common to see the SRM meeting held jointly with the Grassland Society. Range and tame pastures are becoming recognized as more of a joint or complementary system instead of separate identities.

With the support of forage and beef extension specialists and research scientists across Canada, McCartney conceived and created www.foragebeef.ca, a web site that provides a wealth of forage and beef information from across Canada and the USA. Like McCartney, the website is thorough and practical, and addresses key topic areas on three levels: from basic knowledge nuggets, to fact sheets to research papers with literature reviews.