Volume 4 Issue 4 • January 17, 2011

In This Issue ...


Second Year of SRM Compensation Requested

CanFax Market BriefsThe Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has joined up again with the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Meat Council to request that funding for a second year of specified risk material (SRM) disposal compensation be included in the 2011 Federal Budget. 

Due to some recent improvements to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) disposal protocols, the per head cost in the second year is expected to fall to $27.50 from last year’s $31.70.  This brings the total cost of the 2011 Budget request to $17.2 million, down from last year’s $25 million. To read the letter of request to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, click here.

The first year of disposal funding proved successful in terms of its objective to keep many over-30-month (OTM) cattle processed in Canada instead of the U.S.  The OTM cattle that stayed for processing in Canada during this time did so because the Canadian buyers used the compensation money to bid more competitively to acquire those cattle.  Although the compensation cheques were written to the packers, the money reached producers’ pockets in the form of better OTM cattle prices.

Ultimately, however, the objective is to bring the cost of processing OTM cattle in Canada more closely in line with the cost in the U.S.  Technology improvements are being made and further cost reductions are expected, although these are at least a year away.  We don’t want to have to rely on SRM disposal compensation forever, but a second year is warranted until we can realize the benefit of technology improvements that are coming.


Canada Beef Working Group report well received

The Canada Beef Working Group (CBWG) report released earlier this month is hardly the first to examine a potential merger between the industry’s two primary market development and beef promotion organizations as a means to most effectively administer the funds producers entrust to the National Check-off (NCO) Agency.

The CBWG report is, however, the first to include the NCO Agency in the recommended creation of a single independent national beef cattle marketing and promotion organization, which would be called CANADA BEEF.

Under the CBWG’s proposal, CANADA BEEF would be created by merging and integrating the assets, operations, liabilities and funding of the Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) and the Beef Information Centre (BIC) with the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency, commonly known as the NCO Agency.

Brian Ross, co-chair of the CBWG, said the group’s presentation of its full report and recommendations to industry stakeholders was very well received, especially by provincial organizations which provide the core funding to BIC and CBEF.

“Provincial associations in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and P.E.I. issued a joint statement within a few hours that they were unanimous in agreement to take the report and recommendations back to their respective provincial boards to seek their approval in moving this initiative forward in an expedited manner,” Ross said.

Following a restructuring of the NCO Agency to enable the creation of a single organization, CANADA BEEF would then assume the responsibilities, programs and core functions of all three organizations. The new organization would utilize the authority of the NCO Agency and focus entirely on marketing initiatives. Research responsibilities would continue to be assigned to the Beef Cattle Research Council. Intelligence gathering on markets and identification of market access issues would be maintained through the creation of a special advisory committee, but the advocacy of policy would be left to policy organizations outside of CANADA BEEF.

The proposal would result in an estimated annual savings of $1.3 million, funds which would be re-allocated to enhancing marketing programs delivered by the new entity.

The CBWG’s proposed solution is a comprehensive approach to an issue that has been raised in the past and brought to a head after 2008, when the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) received a request from its provincial members to facilitate the amalgamation of the beef industry’s main marketing groups.

The CBWG report and its recommendations must be approved by the boards of directors of the CCA (of which BIC is a division), CBEF, and the NCO Agency.

That process is now underway, said Brad Wildeman, the CBWG co-chair. “We are looking forward to working with industry stakeholders to consider and vote on our recommendations,” he said.

National Check-off does not fund the CCA or any other policy organization.

To read the CBWG report in full, click here.


Five Nations Beef Alliance Program captivates young ranchers

Meeting cattle behaviour specialist Dr. Temple Grandin was just part of the excitement for Canadian beef producers attending the 2011 Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) Young Rancher’s program in Denver.

The group of seven, which included four participants in the CCA’s Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program, also gave top marks to presentations from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Steve Foglesong, and CCA President, Travis Toews, during the week-long event.

Learning about the inner workings of the NCBA was a thrill for CYL participant Rosie Templeton. “It was fascinating to see the work the NCBA is doing to communicate with their consumers and combat issues facing the beef industry,” said Templeton, who has an interest in agricultural communications and marketing.

CYL participant Nanita Blomquist, a fourth generation cow-calf producer from Big Valley, AB,
found Foglesong’s presentation particularly inspiring.

“It is truly impressive to hear how much the NCBA values their trade and working relationship with the Canadian beef industry and continues to collaborate with the CCA to improve the competitiveness of North America’s beef industry,” she said.

Participants in the FNBA Young Rancher’s program event are top young leaders within their nations between the ages of 18-35. The FNBA consists of cattle industry associations from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Australia and New Zealand and represents over half of the world’s beef exports

The event coincided with the National Western Stock Show and the International Livestock Congress-USA. Program participants attended the coveted stock show and participated in tours hosted by the ILC. They participated in a Young Ranchers Roundtable hosted by the Consulate General of Canada that discussed international challenges and opportunities in the cattle and beef industry, as well as ways that nations can work together to improve business and production on a global level.

For CYL participant Samantha Sperber the takeaway from Dr. Grandin’s presentation was that the next generation of ranchers “need to show consumers what we do and how we do it.”

“People are interested in seeing the good practices in agriculture. Unfortunately up until now the negative has been portrayed in a lot of cases by radical groups such as HSUS and PETA. As farmers, we need to share our good news stories with urban consumers,” said Sperber, who runs a commercial cow-calf and grain operation near Rimbey, AB.

Ricki Fleming, a purebred Angus breeder and commercial cow-calf producer near Granum, AB. appreciated Grandin’s “common sense and practical approach to animal care and welfare.” “Using measureable outcomes to evaluate and better your operation,” was one idea that resonated with her.

Kathleen Walsh, who was selected by her provincial cattle association, the Manitoba Beef Producers, to attend the conference, said the trip was definitely worthwhile.

“Taking part in the Young Rancher program has equipped me with necessary tools to be a more influential and proactive young producer in the beef industry,” Walsh noted in an email.


Application deadline looms for CYL national mentorship program

The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) development program is offering 16 mentorship opportunities across Canada in 2011. Eligible interested parties have until Jan. 25, 2011 to apply.

Beef enthusiasts between the ages of 18 and 35 can apply online now for the mentorship opportunities, which begin in April and run for eight-months. To vie for one of the CYL mentorships, visit www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com.


The point about horns is…

The vast majority of the cattle entering Canadian and U.S. packing plants are either polled or dehorned. But the horns that do slip through continue to cost the industry. Producers who don’t dehorn their calves may not realize that this decision may cost them $10 to $20 per head. One of the provincial beef producer groups asked how much horns cost Canada’s beef industry. To see what we gathered, click here.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Jill Harvie, Reynold Bergen
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Tracy Sakatch

To sign up for CCA's “Action News”:
Visit www.cattle.ca and click on “Sign-up for Action News”.

For more information, contact:

CCA Communications at feedback@cattle.ca or visit our website at www.cattle.ca

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for nearly 83,000 Canadian beef cattle producers.

Head office:
Ste. 310, 6715 8th Street NE, Calgary, AB   T2E 7H7
Phone: 403.275.8558   Fax: 403.274.5686

Ottawa office:
1207, 350 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON   K1R 7S8
Phone: 613.233.9375   Fax: 613.233.2860