Volume 4 Issue 6 • February 14, 2011

In This Issue ...


CCA Goes Back to Washington

Over the past decade, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) has been a frequent visitor to Washington and 2011 will certainly be no different.  If anything, we may well need to increase our visits with U.S. Congressmen, Senators and officials of the U.S. Administration. Key objectives involve finding ways to achieve increased coordination and cooperation between Canadian and U.S. regulators and trade negotiators. Of course, always at the top of our list is promoting a resolution to the Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) dispute. 

CanFax Market BriefsLast week marked the CCA's first foray of the year to Washington and the timing of the trip allowed us to follow up on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Feb. 4 visit to the White House. At that meeting, the Prime Minister and U.S. President Barack Obama announced the initiation of work between Canada and the U.S. to streamline cross-border business including the creation of a United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council. 

The CCA was very pleased that Prime Minister Harper and President Obama initiated a process intended to achieve closer regulatory coordination and to reverse the trend of a thickening border. As we made the rounds in Washington we expressed our hope that agriculture could be a leading sector in this initiative and encouraged our counterparts to also engage enthusiastically.  We encountered a like-mindedness amongst the U.S. agriculture leaders we met with as both sides have regulatory and border issues they would like to see improve.

As to COOL, we are preparing the groundwork pending a July 2011 ruling by the WTO. We have high hopes that the WTO will agree that COOL is a violation of U.S. trade commitments and that we will move into a resolution phase quickly thereafter. Accordingly, we believe it is important to express our views now as to what would constitute a resolution. 

Given many U.S. agriculture sectors not related to beef or pork support COOL, it is important to assure those producers and Congressional leaders that Canada is not seeking the repeal of COOL in whole. Indeed we have no intention of affecting the way COOL works for other sectors such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seafood or chicken. Furthermore, we will not seek to remove the requirement that imports of beef (or pork) have mandatory labelling of the country where that meat originated when sold at U.S. retail. 

Rather, the resolution we seek is limited to addressing the logistical disadvantages that imported livestock have endured since the law was implemented more than two years ago.  In short, we hope to allay any concerns that Canada is seeking a drastic repeal of COOL and assure folks that we are reasonable people seeking a pragmatic path forward.

Of course there are those who would not wish us well even in this reasonable approach. It is therefore important that we remind decision makers and legislators that Canada is the largest export market for U.S. agriculture exports. Nearly three-quarters of Canada's $19 billion purchases of U.S. agriculture exports in 2009 were consumer oriented ready-to-eat products, such as fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, juices, cookies, cakes, baked goods, pet food, soups, and heat & serve frozen meals. 

If we cannot find the reasonable solution that the CCA advocates, it may be necessary to start identifying which of the U.S. goods are produced in the areas where our opponents are concentrated. For now, however, we will remain hopeful that reasonable minds will want to work with us to develop a resolution that does not need to be confrontational.


Consolidation of beef marketing groups fully supported by industry

The Canada Beef Working Group (CBWG) recommendation to create a single independent national beef cattle marketing and promotion organization has received full support from stakeholders since being presented to industry early January.

The provincial cattle associations in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. as well as the B.C. Cattle Industry Development Council approved the proposal to combine the Beef Information Centre (BIC), Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) and the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency - commonly referred to as the National Check-off Agency - earlier this month.

"The endorsement from these core funders which represent 99 per cent of total national check-off contributions to the existing marketing groups (CBEF and BIC) is confirmation of the recommendation to establish one beef cattle research, marketing and promotion agency," said CBWG co-chair Brian Ross.

As well, the principle organizations directly impacted by the proposal have approved or are in the final stages of their approval process. The National Check-off Agency, BIC Committee and the CCA executive have all passed resolutions supporting the consolidation. The CBEF board of directors has also strongly approved the consolidation proposal and will be presenting it to their members at a special members meeting scheduled for February 17.

Based on the immediate and very positive endorsement from industry stakeholders, the CBWG is proceeding with the drafting of a Consolidation Agreement and is accessing merger expertise to assist the CBWG with transition planning. "We are committed to ensuring that we provide clarity to staff of the affected organizations as quickly as possible," said co-chair Brad Wildeman.

Once all industry responses have been received the CBWG will be able to proceed with next steps including signing of the Consolidation Agreement, appointment of board members, recruitment of a president, and the proclamation and by-laws of the new organization under the Farm Products Council of Canada. "In the interim, it will be business as usual and current programs and services continue," added Wildeman.


CCA's youth mentorship program highlighted at beef industry conference

The Cattlemen's Young Leaders Program will be highlighted during a special Young Producers Workshop luncheon on Wednesday Feb. 23 at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference (ABIC). The ABIC has devoted an entire day to youth within the beef cattle industry, starting with a tour of Sunterra Farms in Innisfail, AB, in the morning and workshop from noon until 4 pm. Young producers can take advantage of a special registration fee for the student/young producer workshop on the Wednesday. For a complete agenda and registration details, please visit www.abiconference.ca.


Outsmarting Johne's Disease

Johne's disease is a challenging problem for the beef and dairy industries. It cannot be treated cost effectively, vaccines are not completely effective, and diagnostic tests do not reliably detect infected animals until the disease is quite advanced. The bacterium that causes Johne's disease seems to be able to "trick" the animal's immune system so that it doesn't generate a full immune response to the infection. The BCRC funded a research project at VIDO that compared the immune response to Johne's disease bacteria in calves. In this study, each calf was both infected and uninfected at the same time! Confused? Curious? Click here to learn how they managed this and what they discovered.

CCA Action News

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

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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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