Saskatchewan just saw a significant increase in international cattle buyers led by the 50th annual Canadian Western Agribition.
Agribition's CEO Chris Lane noted that the people who did attend "really participated in the programs, sales, and had a positive attitude around being at the show."
One of those engaged visitors was Norwegian cattle buyer and President of the Norwegian Beef Breeders Association, Erling Gresseth. Gresseth was joined by three other colleagues and was one of over one hundred international buyers to visit the province during the last week of November.
"It's wonderful to be here and see all these nice cattle, and meet some breeders who are putting a lot of work into their animals," said Gresseth. He explained how it’s most impressive to see intergenerational farms putting an extensive amount of work and passion into improving genetics and quality of livestock here in Canada.
Gresseth explains that his delegation makes the trip to Saskatchewan for Agribition in search of the best cattle genetics in the world. As many countries can not easily import live animals, many international buyers purchase embryos and semen here in Saskatchewan.
These international buyers also make the most of networking opportunities at large shows like Agribition to get to know cutting-edge breeders abroad and connect them with other producers in their home countries.
He elaborated that the most sought-after breeds in Norway are the Charolais, Black, and Red Angus, Simmental, Limousin, and Hereford and that he saw some of the best here in the province during the show.
A lot of the cattle in Canada, and especially in western Canada, support what they are trying to do to improve Norway's cattle genetics. "The world is going greener and greener; we have to be looking for very efficient animals. Animals who can go do the work themselves out in a pasture with grass," said Gresseth.
Much like many of the other international buyers, Gresseth believes that many of the Canadian breeders he met during the week will remain long-term contacts due to what they saw regarding the quality of Canadian livestock on display. While Covid-19 travel restrictions affected the number of international buyers visiting the province last month, those who did come certainly did not leave empty-handed. Several others generated international interest through virtual bidding.
Agribition's livestock shows and sales were live streamed to more than 3,700 people, and its virtual content was viewed more than 31,000 times.
Within the province, the show also generated substantial economic revenue. According to Chris Lane, CEO of the organization, merchandising sales were three times better than average, and the final night's rodeo was sold out.