Volume 1 Issue 3 | October 19, 2009

In This Issue ...

Canadian producers work the wrinkles out of BIXS

In early October, the CCA began working with about 50 cow-calf producers from Ontario and across the western provinces for the cow-calf, test-phase of BIXS (the Beef InfoXchange System). These producers are keen to help fine-tune BIXS prior to a full program launch across Canada - scheduled to happen this fall.

BIXSDuring the cow-calf test, participating producers will go through the process of registering their premise ID and operations, as well as uploading data on their animals to the database. The CCA will then gather feedback from these participants and make the necessary adjustments to BIXS prior to the full program launch. The CCA is grateful to work with such an enthusiastic group of beef producers to put the final touches on BIXS.

BIXS is a no-charge, web-based data exchange system geared to capture, track and share data on individual animals as they move through the beef chain - from cow-calf, to the feedlot, to the packing plant. Upon its public launch, BIXS will be fully accessible through its website to producers across Canada; whether they’re on a dial-up or a high-speed Internet connection.

For more information about BIXS, visit bixs.cattle.ca.

National Check-off Update: Evaluation project now underway

Beef Cattle Check-OffNational Check-off Update: Evaluation project now underway
The Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (otherwise known as the National Check-off (NCO) Agency) identified the need to evaluate its research- and marketing-funded programs to determine the effectiveness of investments made for both sets of initiatives.

What is the NCO?
The NCO has two main objectives:
  1. to increase sales of beef (both domestic and export).
  2. to find improved and more efficient methods of producing beef and beef cattle through research.

The Beef Information Centre (BIC) and the Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) manage the marketing funds on behalf of the NCO; while the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) manages funds allocated towards research.

Currently the NCO is one dollar per head - which is collected on cattle sales throughout Canada.

The importance of evaluating the NCO
Maintaining and enhancing research and marketing activities is crucial to ensuring a sustainable and competitive industry. At the same time, in this challenging environment, it’s imperative to understand the value of current check-off investments in order to demonstrate the real returns to industry from check-off contributions. The study will also evaluate the most strategic level and allocation of future check-off funding.

Consequently the purpose of this project is to measure the economic and financial benefit of NCO investments made by industry and, more specifically, producers. The project will analyze to what extent historic Canadian check-off investments in research and marketing activities have increased demand for Canadian beef and increased the industry’s competitiveness; and identify optimal investment strategies to maximize returns. In addition, check-off investments made by other agricultural commodities and beef industries in other countries will be examined; focusing on the lessons that can be learned to enhance the positioning of the NCO in Canada.

Who’s conducting the research?
This research is being completed by Dr. John Cranfield, Associate Professor with the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph, who has significant experience in undertaking check-off related research.

A preliminary report examining historical Canadian beef check-off investments and those made by other agricultural commodities and beef industries globally will be completed this fall - followed by the complete analysis in April 2010.

Russia expands access for Canadian beef

The CCA is pleased to hear Russia’s announcement to expand access for Canadian beef to include all beef from cattle under-thirty-months old (UTM) and boneless beef from cattle over-thirty-months (OTM) of age. Russia also agreed to continue a process aimed at achieving access for beef offal products by the end of 2009.

The announcement came from Canada’s Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, who travelled to Moscow to secure this agreement. This mission and agreement by Minister Ritz was made possible by an earlier agreement, in-principle, reached by Minister of International Trade, Stockwell Day, back in June.

The Canada Beef Export Federation estimates that Canada could export $32 million per year of beef, and a further $10 million for beef offals, to Russia. This is a significant jump from the roughly $4 million that Canada exported to Russia in 2002.

In 2006, Russia restored access for Canadian boneless UTM beef, but a series of technical hurdles and difficulty obtaining export facility approvals, kept the exports to a trickle. CCA is hopeful that Minister Ritz’s mission finally resolved the technical issues and that the addition of bone-in UTM beef, plus boneless OTM, will mean that commercially-significant quantities of beef will soon be on their way to Russia.

Click here to read the CCA’s news release in response to the announcement.


CCA applauds Canada's requests for WTO panel against mCOOL

The CCA commends the Government of Canada for their announcement that they will request the World Trade Organization (WTO) to create a Dispute Settlement Panel to rule on the United States’ (U.S.) mandatory Country-of-Origin Labelling (mCOOL) law.

Since mCOOL came into effect one year ago, Canadian cattle producers have lost over a $.25 billion in lower cattle prices and increased costs.

MCOOL requires beef and other meats sold in the U.S. to be labelled with the country where the animal was born. It is important to note that U.S. consumers haven’t demonstrated an aversion to Canadian beef. Rather, the main impact experienced arises from large commercial meat purchasers and cattle buyers adopting strategies to avoid incurring the extra costs that result with separately managing meat from Canadian-born cattle versus U.S.-born cattle. Those U.S. companies who have continued to purchase Canadian cattle have reduced their price to cover the extra cost of managing the different inventories.

Click here to read the CCA’s news release on the announcement and backgrounders detailing the history of mCOOL and the WTO process.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Larry Thomas – BIXS, Andrea Brocklebank, Rob McNabb and Natalie Arnieri
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

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