The Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association welcomed its new Chief Executive Officer on Monday.

Grant McLellan takes on the role from Ryder Lee who has moved into his new role as the new General Manager of the Canadian Cattle Association.

McLellan is looking forward to his new role, noting that agriculture has always been in his roots.

"I grew up on the family farm just outside of Holdfast, Saskatchewan. We lived in town, but our farm was not far away. A grain operation and my mom's side had cattle (Hereford) and my uncle had a Hereford operation as well. "

McLellan also bring his experience in the political arena to the new job. 

He spent about ten years working in various positions within the Provincial Government, including in the Ministry's of Agriculture, Trade and Export.

"I think there's a skill set that I can bring in terms of bringing forward the concerns and the priorities of the livestock sector. In particular, our members, and our producers in Saskatchewan here to bring that perspective. To offer some expertise, and some opportunities to get their priorities in front of decision makers."

There's a lot of key issues on the table for the beef industry including the current and ongoing impacts of the drought.

"The significant drought that we had last year, was a very key kind of reminder to folks of how tight the margins are in this sector. And how important it is to support our producers, particularly on beef side. "

He says the other issues that they really need to focus on is the government position, particularly at the federal level as we tackle climate change priorities.

McLellan notes the beef industry needs to reinforce and send the message that our livestock sector is actually quite sustainable.

"If practices from Saskatchewan and Canada were adopted around the world, we'd be much better off than we are about maintaining our native grasslands and our pasture land. But it's really about ensuring that we are telling our message to decision makers and to the general public who are getting further and further away from where their food is produced."

He goes on to say we need to ensure that those folks know that their food is produced in one of the most sustainable ways, and that we need to continue to invest in that sector and work on getting young people involved.

When it comes to trade and export one of our biggest partners is the U.S. and there's been an ongoing concer over a potential move by the U.S.  to bring back COOL  (Country of Origin Labeling).

In June, McLellan was in Denver (Colorado) for the National Cattlemen's Annual General Meeting and Convention. 

He notes one of the interesting things he's noticed is that governments sometimes get in the way of what producers are looking for.

"I've had conversations with producers down in Denver. It's not something they're interested in either because they really appreciate the movement of genetics, and animals across the border, because we've got a very integrated system. It's always one of those things that getting in front of elected officials and decision makers to remind them of exactly what it is that producers are looking at. On that same trip I had the opportunity to talk to the Agriculture Secretary in Minneapolis. It's something that we need to just keep on people's minds that what's good for producers is an open flow of animals and, a continually open market between our producers in the United States and Canada, and particularly North America. That flow of genetics, that research that we're all doing, it's helping everyone. It's helping all of our producers to to be more sustainable, to be more economical."

McLellan says it's important to keep those margins growing, and keep that industry at the forefront, especially given Canada's role to play with global foods shortages.

"We have a very important role to play in the beef sector, here in Saskatchewan, and Canada has a very important role to play in making sure that we've got food available to people across the world, and sustainably produced food."