Volume 2 Issue 2 | January 18, 2010

In This Issue ...


Jan.1 deadline for de-listing bar code tags pushed back

The transition from bar code tags to an approved radio frequency identification or RFID tag is forging ahead in spite of a last-minute delay in the intended Jan. 1 deadline to de-list the bar code tags from the approved tag list.

The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) recommended the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) de-list the bar code tags from the approved tag list effective Jan. 1. The move required producers to tag all cattle with an approved CCIA RFID tag after Dec. 31, 2009, and cross-reference the bar code with the new RFID tag in the Canadian Livestock Tracking System.

The CFIA has now put the de-listing process of the bar code tags on hold. The development means the dangle tag effectively remains an approved tag for now, and producers won’t be subject to enforcement action for the continued use of them on their animals, said CCIA executive director Kerry St. Cyr.

The last-minute hiccup comes as the CCIA moves to implement RFID technology across the board. The development has created much confusion and frustration among some producers, who were proactive in changing the tags at added costs, only to discover that the CFIA made it unnecessary.

The CCIA continues to urge producers to convert to the RFID tag and cross-reference the bar code tags to ensure the integrity of the traceability system is maintained.

“As an organization, we’ve taken the perspective that RFID is the commercial enabler that industry needs and we will continue to support that view,” St. Cyr said.

Bar code tags haven’t been commercially available since 2006 and should only be in older animals.

The CCIA will be writing a letter to the CFIA urging them to get on with the delisting process as quickly as possible.

The CFIA still supports the transition to RFID, said Connie Argue, animal health program manager, western area, CFIA. The delay in de-listing the bar code tags stems from issues identified within the CFIA prior to the Jan. 1 implementation, a deadline requested by the CCIA. The issues, she said, could impact traceability.

Simply put, if the bar code tags were de-listed, then the regulation would no longer apply to those tags. In other words, under a Jan. 1 date, producers would have had to apply an RFID tag but the regulation requiring them to cross-reference, or retire the bar code tags would have no longer applied, and they could in fact have cut out the bar code tag, she said.

As long as the tag remains an approved tag, then there’s a requirement to leave it in, to cross reference it and to retire it, and those are important from a traceability perspective, Argue said.

“If the barcode tag had been delisted, animals wearing bar code tags would have been non-compliant. But that is not the case. We will still continue to enforce the regulations that exist,” she said.

This means cattle with bar code tags going to market are still compliant with the regulations. However, Argue said it remains to be seen if the business practices of the industry accept those animals. Auction marts usually only take animals with RFID tags, she noted.

CFIA will make the decision in the future, if and when it becomes appropriate, to de-list the bar code tags. As bar code tags have not been available since 2006, the hope is that they will become obsolete, so de-listing wouldn’t be an issue.

She added the CFIA needs to work together with industry and the CCIA to take that step to enhance traceability without creating an unfortunate side effect that would damage traceability.

In September 2006, RFID tags became the only approved tags for use in cattle. Producers were allowed until Dec. 31, 2009, to phase out bar code tags for mature breeding stock and bulls.

New traceability regulations in Alberta bring important changes for producers

Alberta cattle producers now have more time to tag and register individual animals under recently announced regulatory changes that will also see smaller feedlots adopt the same reporting requirements as larger operations.

The new, two-part provincial regulations come into effect March 1, and target tagging requirements for cattle identification purposes and cattle move-in reporting for feedlots.

The rules fall under the Alberta government’s new Traceability Cattle Identification Regulation, which repeals the Traceability Livestock Identification Regulation.

On the tagging side, producers now have until cattle are 10 months of age, up from the previous eight months of age, to apply industry-approved RFID tags and register the animal’s birth date.

Producers using actual birth dates now have the option of using identifiers such as a tattoo or production dangle tag on cattle at three months of age. However these cattle will still require an RFID tag at 10 months of age or when the animal leaves the herd of origin, whichever comes first.

Under the old regulation, cattle required an RFID tag at three months of age and reporting to the CCIA.

On the feedlot side, outfits feeding 1,000 or more head per year are now required to report move-in information to the CCIA, the provincial government said.

Previously, only those feedlots feeding 5,000 or more head annually were required to report. The new regulation applies only to feedlots and not cow-calf operations, the province noted.

Alberta Agriculture also clarified rules for retagging cattle that have lost their ear tags.
In a nutshell, if an animal is re-tagged on-farm, records must be created or updated to reflect the new approved tag number, the date applied, and number of the previously applied tag, if available. The regulation specifies processes for cattle aged under and over 18 months.

Livestock traceability regulations have been in effect since Jan. 1, 2009. Cattle born after that date are required to be age verified under the Animal Health Act.

Traceability at the National level

The CCA supports traceability and views it as a tool that will benefit the entire value chain by enabling industry to respond and recover quickly from an animal health incident.

A robust traceability system is becoming one of the required standards for the global livestock and livestock products trade. While the CCA encourages producers to participate in traceability, it believes a mandatory program must be approached in a manner that does not increase the costs to the beef cattle industry, does not disrupt the speed of commerce and leads to increased market value and access.


BIXS Update

The Beef InfoXchange System or BIXS is entering the next phase of cow-calf producer testing over the next two months or more. About 50 cow-calf producers from the western provinces and Ontario have volunteered to take part in this important strategic testing process leading up to full launch of the BIXS.

The CCA needs to test the front-end BIXS application under various web connections (dial-up and high speed), under different operating systems (PC and Mac) and under different browser programs to ensure it functions well for most beef producers across Canada.

The testing will take an estimated four to six weeks and producer testers will fill out evaluations to aid in final revisions to BIXS prior to roll-out. The CCA is grateful to those producers who have stepped up to help out. For more information and to stay on top of BIXS related developments and announcements, please visit http://bixs.cattle.ca on a regular basis.


Prorogued Parliament update

CCA says break is an opportunity for producers to grab the ear of their local MP

With Parliament adjourned until March, Members of Parliament (MPs) will be in their districts more often than usual this winter and should be accessible for producers to meet with and discuss issues of importance.

Take the opportunity to connect because MPs have no end of people telling them what to focus on. Meeting with them and providing potential solutions will help to keep their focus on cattle producer issues. If MPs don’t hear from producers when they are back in their districts, it is reflected in their focus while in Ottawa.

Proroguing also kills all the government bills currently under consideration. This includes the Colombia Free Trade Bill C-23 which would allow for implementation of this agreement.

Implementation is important to cattle producers as it will allow for preferential access for Canadian beef into Colombia.

There is also a pending Colombia free trade agreement before the United States (U.S.) Congress. Whichever country ratifies their agreement first will realize advantages in this market.

When the House returns, bills can be reintroduced at their current status. C-23 had only received first reading so it will start at the same point, likely with a new number.

All the committees of the House and Senate are shut down. Reports like The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food’s Report on Competitiveness of Canadian Agriculture are shelved. Only requests for government response to a completed report survive prorogation. Once Parliament returns, committees will have to be reconstituted and chairs elected before their usual schedules resume.

Private Members business is affected differently by prorogation. The order of precedence is maintained and bills retain their same position.

Some producers are likely interested in Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner’s Bill C-391 which seeks to repeal the long gun registry. All producers should be interested in motion M-460 from MP Bev Shipley of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex which addresses input costs for livestock producers.

C-391 has received second reading while Shipley’s motion was due for first debate in late January. It would be good when you’re meeting with your MPs over the winter to share with them any experiences you have with input costs, especially relative to those in the U.S.. This will help Shipley’s motion, which was introduced as follows:

M-460 — November 2, 2009 — Mr. Shipley (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should ensure that production management tools available to Canadian farmers are similar to those of other national jurisdictions by considering equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes by Health Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Life goes on in Ottawa with or without MPs sitting. The CCAs Ottawa office continues to work with Agriculture Canada, the CFIA and other departments to improve the business environment for cattle producers in Canada.

Getting involved

Unsure about what to say to your MP? Visit www.cattle.ca and click on: Talking to your MP and Current Lobbying Issues under the Taking Action menu, or contact the Ottawa office.



In our last issue of CCA Action News, we wrapped our discussion on best management practices aimed at preventing the spread of Johne’s Disease or JD. In this issue, we take a look at the risk factors of JD in general operation and calving areas.

General Operations
The risk factors for JD in this area are increased if producers often see scouring in baby calves; spot suspect cows (thin, unable to regain body condition, chronic diarrhea) in their herd or in neighbouring herds; or have dairy or dairy-cross cattle from a high risk herd on the premises. Other factors that heighten risk are having a cattle operation near a high risk dairy, beef or other livestock operation; having spread manure from a high risk beef or dairy operation on pasture; renting pasture from a high risk beef or dairy operation or seeing wildlife on operation.
Regular cleaning of corrals reduces the risk factor.

Calving Area
Risk factors here are increased if producers keep sick cows in calving area; allow suspect JD cases in the calving area; see cows with manure on their udders; calve in the cow wintering area; and keeping cow-calf pairs together with close-up cows.

Other factors that increase risk include obtaining raw colostrum directly from a farm and using commercial colostrum products that haven’t been processed to reduce JD risk.

Practices that reduce risk factors include using commercial colostrum products that have been processed to reduce JD risk; calving on pasture; regularly cleaning manure from calving pens; keeping the calving area clean, dry and well-bedded; and minimizing the stocking density in the calving area.

In our next issue, we’ll conclude our look at the risk factors of JD and how to reduce them in the areas of pre-weaning, weaned calves, bred heifers and young bulls, adult cows and bulls and herd replacements.

For more information, visit the CJDI page on the CAHC website.


Changes in the CCA communications team

On Jan. 15, the CCA bid farewell to Natalie Arnieri, who left her role as Communications Coordinator to pursue another position in the communications field.

During her 18 months at the CCA, Natalie was heavily involved in initiating and rolling out the CCA’s new communications projects; including the new website, the CCA Action News bi-weekly newsletter, the re-designed 2009 Annual Report and the Auction Mart Strategy. She also planned the 2008 and 2009 National Conventions in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, respectively. We wish Natalie all the best in her new pursuit.

To keep communications running smoothly, Gina Teel is the new Communications Manager at the CCA.

Gina is an award-winning journalist noted for her agricultural reporting. She’s enjoyed a lengthy career in journalism, most recently as a business reporter at the Calgary Herald, covering agriculture, transportation and small business. She is a published author and has acted as a consultant in the area of media training.

During her time as a daily news reporter in Calgary, Gina’s coverage of BSE, drought and bio-fuels, among other ag-related topics have since 2001 netted more than a half-dozen awards from the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation.

Gina has a genuine interest in people and issues. She looks forward to merging her vast media experience with recently completed communications training to bring a unique perspective to her role at the CCA.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Larry Thomas and Ryder Lee
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Natalie Arnieri

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Visit www.cattle.ca and click on "Sign-up for Action News".

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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 90,000 Canadian beef cattle producers

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