Volume 3 Issue 6 • August 30, 2010

In This Issue ...


International Trade Update - Market Access Improving

We have had some successes since our last trade update in Action News. Without a doubt, the staged, full market access agreement with China is among the most significant new market openings. The agreement with China gives Canada initial access for tallow and boneless under-30-month (UTM) beef and will work towards restoring full beef access. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) will continue working to get the technical conditions in place and define the timelines on the expansion to full access.

Canfax Market BriefsFor Russia, work continues in terms of getting additional facilities approved for export as Russia has not yet approved the overall Canadian system.

The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was ratified by Parliament at the end of June, two months after Colombia removed the last BSE restrictions on live cattle from Canada. Once the Colombian legislature ratifies the agreement, we will have preferential access over U.S. beef to that market until the U.S. Congress acts. The first shipment of live cattle (dairy) went to Colombia in late August.

Earlier this month, the Philippine Government agreed to open its markets to Canadian animal-rendered by-products including bone meal, blood meal, poultry meal and fats.

With respect to the U.S. Country of Origin WTO case, in early August, the U.S. Government submitted its initial defense of COOL to the WTO and has since posted this document on the Internet at http://www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/2143. The U.S. document is in response to the Canada-Mexico arguments that were submitted to the WTO COOL panel in June. The next major milestone will be the oral hearings in Geneva on September 14 – 16.

The CCA continues to assist the Canadian Government to develop its case, including analyzing these U.S. arguments. While it is a challenging case, we believe that the Canadian submission will present a very compelling argument to the panel.

Work continues toward establishing full two-way beef trade with Mexico. An important meeting between public health officials will occur in Mexico in late August regarding our getting Canadian OTM into Mexico. On the quid pro quo of approving Mexican beef facilities for export to Canada, generally those facilities appear to be very close to satisfying Canadian standards, but some minor corrections need to be made before final approval can be granted. Once approved, we feel that Mexican beef could displace South American and Oceanic beef. This potential has been a significant incentive to motivate Mexico to restore access for Canadian OTM beef.

Negotiations for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) have progressed quickly in terms of the structure of the potential agreement. The negotiators tell us that ambition for beef access remains high, but that this will be one of the final items negotiated. Nevertheless, we understand that the next couple of negotiating sessions in October and January will start to get into some of the technical details surrounding beef access and the time for us to articulate negotiating bottom lines will come quickly in that timeframe.

The CCA continues to work on securing meaningful access to Korea, expanding access to Japan and Taiwan and resolving access to the existing EU compensation quota.


Helping producers understand off-grades

Beef grading is best described as an effort to group carcasses according to their value in the marketplace. The way in which the Canadian grading system arrives at those carcass determinations can sometimes attract criticism, including from producers who are unhappy with discounts due to off-grades.

Canada’s grading categories are not perfect but they do group carcasses according to value, and send a clear message back to the producers who rail grades regarding why they were discounted. The producer can take that message and make corrections to avoid future discounts.

Simply put, off-grades don’t meet the quality and consistency of the Canada A or higher grades. When a Canadian producer sells his or her cattle on the rail and does receive an off-grade, the reason is always identified.

The symbol to indicate the reason for the demerit is as follows: F for fat thickness identified with a plus (over finished) or minus sign (under finished); A for age or maturity; T for type of muscling; C for colour of the meat; Y for yellow colour of the fat; M for marbling deficiency; S for staggy or bull-like characteristics.

The cost of the demerit is based on the ability of the packer to market that meat. The grader is bound by the regulations to identify demerits; the packer establishes the corresponding discount.

Some producers suggest that they don’t get discounts if they ship cattle to the U.S. The fact is the discount exists, it’s just not identified. For instance, a youthful dark cutter in the U.S., which would be the equivalent of a B4 in Canada, is simply identified as a ‘Cutter.’ On the odd chance that it is extremely well marbled, it would be discounted by a grade or it could go ungraded. In the U.S., if a carcass has advanced maturity, it simply goes as ungraded. This does not help the producer understand the discount.

Grading is not an exact science but until a superior, affordable solution is realized, it is important to focus on what we have today and how to maximize on it.

“We have a Canadian Grade Advantage and it’s high time we embraced it,” said Cindy Delaloye
General Manager, Canadian Beef Grading Agency (CBGA).

The advantages of the CBGA are many. Privatized grading has saved the industry more than $33 million in delivery costs over 14 years. Graders act as the third party, or independent assessor of value; the objective is to put the best possible value on a carcass while not compromising the standard.


Meatless Mondays: bark worse than bite?

Cattle producers concerned about the potential impact to their livelihoods posed by the plethora of articles espousing the notion of eating less meat can rest a little easier.

An online survey of 700 Canadians commissioned by the Beef Information Centre (BIC) to gauge consumer attitudes found that 23 per cent of Canadian adults surveyed have heard of the Meatless Mondays concept. However, only six per cent of individuals surveyed actively participate in the campaign.

Interestingly, seven per cent of respondents said they don’t eat beef to begin with, and less than two per cent reported being vegetarian or vegan. From a household perspective, 96 per cent surveyed said they eat beef.


Cattlewomen for the Cure Raise the Bar, Again

The Cattlewomen for the Cure golf tournament reported another tremendous fundraising effort this year, raising $45,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, the group’s 2010 charity of choice.

This year, 144 cattlewomen participated in the annual tournament, held at the Cottonwood Coulee golf course in Medicine Hat, AB.

Cattlewomen’s board member and CCA staffer Jill Harvie said generous sponsorship from industry, a new putting competition and a silent auction contributed to the tournament’s fundraising success. Janet Kanters from the Beef Information Centre (BIC), which sponsored a hole, was among the CCA representation at the August 16 tournament. Kathy Keeler, past BIC chief executive, also golfed on behalf of BIC.

All tournament proceeds are donated to the Cattlewomen charity of choice. A new charity is selected each year. The Cattlewomen for the Cure golf tournament has, since 2006, raised more than $180,000 for charities. Past recipients included charities with a focus on breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart and stroke, and multiple sclerosis.

The Children’s Wish Foundation provides children living with high-risk, life threatening illnesses the opportunity to realize their most heartfelt wish.

The Cattlewomen for the Cure funds will help at least five children realize their dreams.

For more information, visit www.cattlewomenforthecure.com.


Steaks and Claims

The results of the most recent Canadian beef consumer satisfaction survey are in. Click here to read more about how consumer satisfaction with the tenderness, juiciness and flavour of Canadian beef has changed since 2001.

CCA Action News

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

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