Easter beef show enthusiasm grows despite fewer animals
Fewer animals for sale at the Easter Beef Show and Sale didn’t dampen enthusiasm in the industry.
The beef show is the one day of the year that beef farmers like Glenn Jay are guaranteed a profit.
"You know it’s break even, maybe a little more, but there's no big fortune in beef right now," he said.
One of the prized cows at this year's event is Zorro, named Grand Champion of the Easter Beef Show and Sale.
The Charlottetown Superstore will pay $6.25 per pound for prime cuts from Zorro, a small fortune considering the usual price of beef is just under $2 per pound.
James Worth, 17, has been showing at the event for eight years.
He said cattle farming is his passion, but he's planning to be an electrician and farm on the side.
"You need something to eat. You need your food to eat, otherwise, you'd be eating food from all around the world, not knowing what's in it," he said.
But Worth also said farming is not easy money.
"There's not enough money," he said. "It costs too much to get it to market and you get so little return. Like the fuel keeps going up, and grain and oil, to produce the animal, keeps going higher but the cost you get back stays the same."
There are fewer animals in the show this year, just 52, down from nearly 100 a few years ago.
Farmers say that's not necessarily a sign of bad times — there are still more than 400 beef producers on P.E.I.
Fewer animals also means the higher prices for prized animals.
This year, the average price was $3.66 per pound, an increase over the past few years.
Farmers say this year's Easter Beef Show is especially significant.
It's now been 10 years since bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as mad cow disease, devastated the industry and drove prices down.
This year, the price has finally recovered to where it was before the BSE outbreak. Farmers say the problem is the cost of producing that same beef has doubled or even tripled.