Charles (Charlie) Gracey, following graduation from OAC, began his career at Kemptville Agricultural School, then at Eastern Breeders Inc., before moving to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and provincial and national organizations.
As secretary-manager of the Ontario Beef Improvement Association Charlie promoted performance testing for beef cattle and lobbied hard for legislation to provide a check-off on cattle marketing in Ontario. This provided a model for similar check-offs in other provinces, which in turn created adequate funding for a national cattlemen’s association.
As executive vice-president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association Charlie Gracey championed Canfax, a primary source of information on cattle prices and future market outlooks. He addressed animal health issues including the eradication of brucellosis and helped advance the beef industry through development of standardized dressing procedures for cattle at packing plants. Charlie enthusiastically led the establishment of objective standards for a new beef carcass grading system and subsequently participated in privatizing the service by establishing the Canadian Beef Grading Agency.
Mr. Gracey had a vision of a consumer link to the beef industry and thus the Beef Information Centre was established. Charlie also championed the introduction of a national identification program for cattle, leading to the creation of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency.
Charlie’s understanding of production and trade issues led to his development of tripartite stabilization for beef cattle, which became the model for all other programs. He influenced government tax policy in the area of capital gains rollover and tax deferral on forced livestock sales. As a member of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal he heard and adjudicated international trade disputes, appeals from decisions rendered under the Customs and Excise Act and complaints related to government procurements and other matters of a quasi-judicial nature.
Mr. Gracey proposed the concept of an Agricultural Think Tank, that has since become the George Morris Centre located in the University of Guelph Research Park. Since 1995 Charlie has been a private consultant and is a past president of the Canadian Beef Grading Agency and advisor to the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency.
A proud Canadian, Charlie Gracey is a worthy inductee to the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame.