Volume 4 Issue 11 • April 26, 2011

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In This Issue ...


CCA Asks Federal Political Parties to focus on Agriculture

The CCA understands the importance of keeping the issues of the beef cattle industry front and centre with government at all times. The need is especially evident when a federal election looms, which is why we were quick to bring the industry's issues to the attention of political hopefuls. Despite a short turn-around time to the 41st federal election, the CCA again got the jump on the situation for producers. By asking the Federal Political Parties to clarify their agriculture platforms, the CCA can get the information Canada's beef cattle producers need to decide their vote on May 2.

The CCA invited the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Bloc Quebecois, the Conservative Party of Canada and the Green Party of Canada to answer a questionnaire containing 11 questions on policy issues of high importance to Canada's beef cattle producers. The Parties' full and unedited responses are posted on our website at www.cattle.ca as they become available. To date, we have received responses from the Liberal Party, the Bloc and the Conservative Party. The full party platform responses are part of the campaign process.

The CCA also encourages producers to get to know their local candidates and their positions on issues of importance ahead of voting on May 2.  The CCA looks forward to working with MPs of all parties to implement policies that will benefit beef producers across Canada.


CCA Readies to Roll out National Auction Mart System Pilot

CanFax Market BriefsFollowing a successful test run in two-dozen auction marts in Alberta, the CCA is ready to launch its Auction Mart System (AMS) nationally. The CCA will be piloting the new AMS system at select auction marts in participating provinces across the country. Early stage work will begin shortly to enable the delivery of the technology between the auction mart and the CCA. The CCA thanks the participating auction markets for helping to deliver the AMS technology in the national pilot.
The CCA AMS is a news delivery system that uses digital screens to display a rotation of information slides with content provided by the CCA, Canfax, the CCA's market analysis division and the provincial cattle association.

The AMS project was conceived and developed by the CCA and Alberta Beef Producers as a way to deliver important news, industry developments and market news to producers on their own turf -- at the local auction mart. The intent is to help producers make informed business decisions and be aware of important activities from their provincial cattle associations.


Verified Beef Production is based on international systems and auditable

As Canada's on-farm food safety program for beef, Verified Beef Production (VBP) works to uphold consumer confidence in the practices of Canadian beef producers. The program is based on HACCP (hazard analysis critical control points), a process control system recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as providing a systematic, preventative approach to ensure food safety.

The HACCP system originated in the 1960's with the design and manufacture of space foods for early missions to the moon. Today, HACCP programs are in place in all federally-inspected processing plants for meat and other food products.

In addition to being HACCP-based, the VBP program has been technically reviewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to ensure international food safety principles are effectively translated into producer language, and that the program is auditable.

Producers become familiar with standard procedures of the program through participation in an online training course or local workshops. The standard procedures underscore the program's customer-oriented theme, "we raise cattle to produce beef." As well, family members or hired employees gain heightened awareness of potential risks and how to prevent them, such as suspect broken needles or revised withdrawal times through veterinary prescriptions.

Following participation in a workshop, producers have the option to become "Registered," which means their operation is recognized as conforming to the program. An on-farm validation audit is done by qualified individuals who understand beef production and are trained in ISO auditing. ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization, provides a framework for equivalent comparisons in areas such as quality management (ISO 9000), environment, lab standards, auditing and product safety.

More than 16,000 Canadian beef cattle operations have participated in VBP workshops. It is estimated that 35 to 45 per cent of the beef cattle produced in Canada are from operations trained in the VBP program.

For more information on VBP across Canada, visit http://www.verifiedbeef.org.


Canada's Cows Do Their Bit for the Environment

The front page of the April 14th Manitoba Co-operator featured a positive environmental story for Canada's beef industry. Preliminary results of this BCRC-funded University of Manitoba study indicate that Canadian cows may produce considerably less methane in the winter than they do in the summer. If the rest of the research trial confirms this result, the "carbon footprint" of Canada's beef industry may need to be re-evaluated. International data collected from cattle raised in warmer climates may overestimate how much methane Canadian cattle produce.

Solid Canadian research is critical for developing sound, science-based Canadian policy and for defining the Canadian Beef Advantage. Click here to read more about what these researchers are studying.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Ryder Lee, Terry Grajczyk, 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