Volume 4 Issue 5 • January 31, 2011

In This Issue ...


CCA Works for Expanded Access to Europe

The CCA's Vice President Martin Unrau and Director of Government and International Relations John Masswohl travelled to Brussels, Belgium in January to seek expansion of beef access to the European Union (EU) on the occasion of the sixth round of negotiations toward a Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Along with other partners from the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA), the CCA met with the trade and agriculture officials from the Embassies of Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK to explain the results we are seeking from the CETA. These officials represent their countries on the EU's Trade Policy Committee and will eventually be called upon to provide recommendations and approval of EU negotiating strategies and results. The meeting was held to ensure they understand the importance of including ambitious terms of access for Canadian beef in the CETA.

The CCA also held meetings with the EU negotiators. The EU has appointed a new agriculture negotiator, so it was opportune to meet him first-hand and explain our needs. Meetings were also held with the Canadian federal negotiators and the many teams of provincial negotiators.

There are many officials involved in these negotiations from both sides of the Atlantic, which makes it a challenge to ensure they are all driving toward the same objective. Travelling to the negotiating site is a cost-effective way to bring our message about beef trade to the negotiators and influential EU stakeholders in a process where we cannot afford to risk being out of sight and out of mind.

Following the conclusion of the formal negotiating round, Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz arrived in Brussels to meet with his counterparts in the EU Commission and from the EU Parliament. The CCA briefed the Minister on its meetings and updated him on our priorities in the CETA negotiations.

Elisabeth Jeggle, Member of the European Parliament from Germany, enjoys Canadian beef.
Apart from the meetings that the Minister held, his visit to Brussels presented the opportunity to promote the fact that Canada recently reached agreement with the EU to allow some Canadian hormone-free beef to enter the EU under a duty free quota.

A 'Savour Canada' event was held in a Brussels restaurant called Meet Meat, showcasing a number of Canadian food products, with the centerpiece being some extremely juicy and tender Canadian rib eye steaks.

While Minister Ritz donned his apron and got busy behind the grill, representatives from Canada Gold and Prairie Heritage were able to introduce themselves to some new potential customers for hormone-free beef from Canada. Everyone present raved about the Canadian beef. We hope it is but the first of many times European consumers will get to do so.


CCA brings requests to Finance Minister Roundtable

CanFax Market BriefsCCA President Travis Toews was in Vancouver on January 21 to participate in one of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's pre-budget roundtable discussions.  The group included other industry representatives from mining, finance, transport and communications. Lobby firms, universities and union representation were also represented. The group of nearly 20 representatives discussed where the focus and priorities should be placed in the short and medium-term.

The messages delivered on the CCA's behalf included the need for competitive policy, regulations and market access for beef producers. The need for investment in competitiveness-boosting activities, including research and development and innovation, was also stressed.

The CCA's reputation for making credible recommendations based on principle and research have provided the opportunity to participate in events such as this.


Beef producer optimism rebounds - survey says

According to a recent survey by Farm Credit Canada (FCC), the optimism level of Canadian agriculture producers and agribusiness owners is at a four-year high. Indeed, three quarters of those surveyed in Optimism in Canadian Agriculture 2010 reported that they feel their farm or business will be better off in five years, marking a significant shift in attitude from 2009.

Beef producers are just as optimistic about the future of agriculture as respondents surveyed in the crop, dairy and poultry sectors. However, beef producers are among the least likely to recommend a career in primary production to a friend or family member, or a career in an agricultural-related field.

In response to the survey question: If a friend or family member was considering a career in primary production or an agricultural related field, would you encourage them to enter the field?, 41 per cent of beef sector respondents would discourage family and friends from a career in primary production, and 19 per cent would discourage a career in an agricultural-related field. (The choices were encourage, discourage or don't know.) Seven per cent of participants chose 'don't know' in response to both questions. Accordingly, 52 per cent of beef producers would encourage a friend or family member considering a career in primary production and 73 per cent would encourage a career in an agricultural-related field.

To compare, in the crops sector, 26 per cent of respondents would discourage a career in primary production and 11 per cent would discourage a career in an agricultural-related field. The dairy sector reported 16 per cent and 8 per cent, and the poultry sector 16 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

The survey didn't ask further questions about the reasons why beef producers felt this way, noted Rémi Lemoine, Chief Operating Officer of FCC.

"It is lower than the rest of the Ag population but I suspect it's probably understandable given that the industry has been in a longer slump in comparison to most of the other sectors," he told Action News.

Lemoine said the results are actually a bit encouraging, with results in the general questions more positive for beef than the last time the survey was done.

The Optimism in the Beef Sector survey showed 57 per cent of beef producers said they are better off now than they were five years ago - another all-time high for beef producers – and half reported that they plan to expand and/or diversify this year.

The price of livestock was viewed as the greatest opportunity in agriculture by beef producers, (27 per cent) followed by public demand for new products. Commodity prices, increased demand for product, new markets and interest rates were viewed as being opportunities in the next year, the survey showed.

Upcoming challenges identified for 2011 include making a profit and rising input costs. While making a profit remained producers' top concern, fewer identified this as a challenge in 2010 (29 per cent) than in 2009 (37 per cent). Financing the farm and livestock prices also topped the list.

The majority of beef producers said they are planning to make no changes to their capital spending on storage (77 per cent), labour (73 per cent), transportation (71 per cent), and land (68 per cent). Four in 10 are planning to increase their spending on equipment, a significant increase from 2009 (34 per cent) and 2008 (34 per cent).

The FCC survey asked more than 9,000 producers and agribusiness and agri-food operators in the fall about their views on the state of agriculture. Nearly 4,900 producers participated. The margin of error for the survey is +/-1%, 19 times out of 20.


CYL program inundated with applications for national mentorship spots

The selection process for the 16 national youth mentorship spots offered by the Cattlemen's Young Leaders' (CYL) Development Program will begin in the coming weeks, now that the application deadline has passed.

Nearly 50 applications from across the country were submitted for the 16 CYL mentorship opportunities, which are set to begin in April and will run for eight months.

The National mentorship program follows a successful pilot in Alberta. The CYL program enables youth in the beef industry to acquire the knowledge, experiences, connections and business acumen to excel as future leaders.


Needles for Newborns?

Even before they hit the ground, newborn calves encounter a whole range of bacteria and viruses that can cause scours and other diseases. This is why calves need to nurse as soon as possible after birth; the mothers' colostrum is full of maternal antibodies that help defend the calf from disease. Attempts to protect newborn calves by vaccinating at birth are usually not successful. Click here to find out why.

CCA Action News

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

To sign up for CCA's “Action News”:
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The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for nearly 83,000 Canadian beef cattle producers.

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