Voters are being encouraged to think about some of the key issues for the ag sector as they prepare to go to the polls next week. 

Matthew Atkinson, president of Manitoba Beef says it's important to think about party policies when it comes to the ag sector and some of the issues for producers.

"Some of the big ones we're always working on here, we've seen some steps forward in crown lands and that's an ongoing conversation there. We're seeing a lot of issues with predation throughout the province. The beef sector is always in need of some stronger business risk management tools to deal with forage insurance, as well as livestock pricing, and things like that. The outlet channel is a really big issue for a lot of producers around the lakes here in Manitoba. And of course, that's a high percentage of cattle country there. Some road conditions being a little bit better to some of our rural folks, as well as some better cell phone service, and kind of bigger picture some real recognition for what the livestock industry brings. What the cattle industry in particular brings for some spin-off environmental goods and services, and recognition for the benefits we provide."

He notes the beef industry is a pretty big driver and worthy of being heard.

" We're obviously a cow-calf based province. We have a feedlot industry, but we obviously see the bigger percentage in Manitoba being the cow-calf industry. We really are a huge supplier for those feedlots, whether it's to the west or the east. That's one of our great advantages here in Manitoba is that we have easy access to markets on both sides of us."

Atkinson points out that in 2022, Manitoba sold more than 430,000 head, that's $688 million in cash receipts for cattle and calves. 

"So it's a significant driver. We're worthy of having a pretty strong voice here, and being heard."

He notes heading into the election it's important to review the debates and the party responses to agriculture issues, but it's also important to talk to all your local candidates about agriculture.

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Manitoba Beef Producers president Matthew Atkinson click on the link below.