Volume 1 Issue 2 | October 5, 2009

In This Issue ...

2009 edition of cattle cycle book coming soon

The Canadian beef industry is a cyclical and seasonal, commodity-based industry characterized by high volumes, low margins and intensive capital requirements. Producers often use the predictability of these cycles and seasonality to their advantage by expanding, selling or maintaining their herd size to correspond with the supply and demand fundamentals of the cycle.

While the duration of a cattle cycle can be affected by outside forces such as drought, disease or significant economic events, a typical cattle cycle runs from 10 to 12 years. A cycle generally consists of five years of expansion, three years of liquidation, and two years of consolidation.

Building on the successful cattle cycle books started in 1981 by Charles Gracey, Canfax Research Services has expanded that publication to include overall industry trends and annual seasonality for a 2009 edition entitled, “Trends, Cycles and Seasonality in the Cattle Industry”. This updated version provides a valuable resource to industry that will assist producers in making management decisions. Heifer replacement strategies and historical returns from retaining ownership are discussed, along with cycle indicators and historical trends, providing key information to assist producers.

“Trends, Cycles and Seasonality in the Cattle Industry” will be released in late November for $15 - payable by cheque, Visa or MasterCard. To order the 2009 edition, contact Brenna Grant, with CanFax Research Services, at 403.275.8558, or, upon its release, go online at www.canfax.ca.

Interest remains for Verified Beef Production™ at the grass-roots level

Verfied Beef ProgramThe good news is that the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program continues to garner producer interest, but the not-so-good news is the ability to serve this interest is decreasing in some provinces.   

Delays with Growing Forward agreements means provincial governments are not supporting training workshops or equipment purchases in many provinces. In spite of hard work and advice from provincial VBP committees, it seems that priorities are elsewhere. Many provincial governments want their staff directly involved in delivery, but unfortunately they are not qualified to deliver food safety training.  

On-farm food safety programs are targeting a user-pay system in the future, but it is essential to meet threshold numbers in order to be self-funding. This point has not been reached yet by most commodities due to the length of time for system development and the need to build buy-in and market drivers. There has been an overall benefit in raising the profile of food safety risks and what producers can do. There is “public good” to funding this type of program as the entire food system benefits.

We continue to advise the federal bureaucracy that a national approach to on-farm food safety is Canada’s strength, and that they need to ensure this continues to happen so we can further efforts in food safety.

BIXS (Beef InfoXchange System) Update

BIXS prepares for October public launch

Working with a group of about 100 dedicated and supportive cow-calf producers and platform partners across Canada, BIXS recently moved into the ‘soft launch’ phase of development. The national, voluntary, web-based database is designed to capture and exchange data linked to the individual animal’s unique electronic ID tag number. The system assists in gathering and tracking useful animal and carcass information, as determined by the information owner. BIXS is a tool for cow-calf, feedlot and processor beef chain participants to track animal production, performance, health, genetic, economic and carcass data, and much more, across the beef chain - all on an individual animal basis.

For the next few weeks these cow-calf producers will help test the registration and animal data upload and transfer process. This final BIXS Websitetest phase, aimed at fine-tuning the system, will work out any glitches prior to the full, public launch to cow-calf and feedlot producers - slated for mid-October.

Check out the new BIXS website
BIXS recently launched their new website - check it out at bixs.cattle.ca or link to it from the CCA’s website, at www.cattle.ca.

The new website answers all your BIXS-related questions. To learn more about how BIXS can help with your business, or if you want to sign up to participate in BIXS, visit the website soon. And check back regularly for the latest news and information.


CCA’s annual “Country Hill Picnic” - a federal success

  CCA Vice President and Chair of the Foreign Trade Committee,   Travis Toews, addresses the crowd gathered for the BBQ.On September 29th, around 250 Members of Parliament (MPs), Senators and staffers joined nearly two dozen CCA representatives and several provincial partners on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill to show support for the industry. Delicious beef and other fixings were part of the draw, but the opportunity to listen to producers’ concerns is why many legislators came out. 

The quality, face-to-face time allowed MPs to hear about several issues affecting the Canadian cattle business plus requests for some specific actions. Click here to learn more about the issues and actions. 

In short, the highest priority issues included:

Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz, and Minister of Revenue and Secretary of State for Agriculture, Jean-Pierre Blackburn attended. Minister Ritz addressed the crowd and pledged to keep working to achieve the industry’s specific recommendations - at least in areas falling under federal jurisdiction. 

In addition to the BBQ activities, participating producers had private, sit-down meetings with 19 MPs, including Minister Ritz.

The annual BBQ is part of an overall strategy to keep Canadian cattle producers’ issues and recommendations ‘top-of-mind’ for federal lawmakers - efforts that continue year-round. This fall, the CCA’s Ottawa team will join delegates of provincial association “fly-ins” as they meet with their federal representatives to continue building momentum that moves issues forward.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Brenna Grant, CanFax Research Services; Terry Grajczyk, VBP; Larry Thomas, BIXS; Ryder Lee, CCA and John Masswohl, CCA
Written by: Natalie Arnieri
Edited by: Sharon Jensen

For more information, contact:
CCA Communications at ‘feedback@cattle.ca’ or visit our website at www.cattle.ca

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association – National voice for 90,000 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