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Cattlemen garnering support for scale project

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Peter Spuzak is hoping for several more recommendations of support, like the one in principle from Fort Frances town council earlier this week, for a ring scale at the Stratton sales barn.

Spuzak, president of the Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association, said his group wants to include several letters of support in a proposal to CanAdapt—a federal grant program—in hopes of getting $50,000 in funding to have the new scale installed there after the spring sale in April.

Spuzak stressed the support the RRCA is asking from municipalities is in principle only, not financial.

“If we can get support from pretty much everyone, the powers that be that receive the information will see the community is behind us,” he explained, adding that will increase their chances of getting the grant.

A ring scale should speed up the efficiency of the sales conducted at the Stratton barn which, in turn, would reduce stress on the animals, Spuzak said.

Another plus, he noted, is that it would provide is an instant weight in the ring instead of having to weigh the cattle in a separate room and then manually transfer the figures from a slip of paper to the chalkboard.

“We’ve already put a tremendous amount of research into our efforts,” Spuzak said. “We’ve toured various livestock facilities [in Manitoba]. We also talked to people who run their scales and see what kind of scales they like.

“The better a system we can have, then the people of the Rainy River District with livestock will support it,” he added.

Dan Wright, economic development projects person for the Rainy River Future Development Corp., has been helping the RRCA put together its application to CanAdapt.

“At this time, we’re still awaiting some information regarding costs and some specific items to put in the presentation,” he noted.

Spuzak hoped to have the CanAdapt application completed within the next week or so.

The RRCA also has an application in to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund although the unofficial word is it turned down the scale project.

“It kind of baffles me because I know what the [RRCA] sales barn does for people in the community,” Spuzak said. “The improvement of our ring scale would be a benefit to all district farmers.

“Of course, what do the livestock producers do? Farmers, when they get money, they spend it. We contribute greatly to the economy,” he argued.

Spuzak added the RRCA also was looking at other grant applications, such as the Trillium Foundation, but admitted the “bureaucratic red tape” was proving to be quite a tiring obstacle.

Still, the RRCA is keeping its hopes up, he remarked, and things are still on track for the new scale to be put in this summer.

“We’re all excited about it,” he enthused. “This is basically our baby that we got going this term. There’s some good enthusiasm there.”

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