Volume 1 Issue 6 | November 30, 2009

In This Issue ...

 

OCA lobbies on Parliament Hill


On November 24, the CCA’s Ottawa office coordinated a lobbying day with the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) as part of an ongoing, co-ordinated effort to ensure cattle producer issues are directly brought forward to Members of Parliament (MPs). The group met with a dozen MPs, including Pierre Lemieux (Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture), Larry Miller (Chair of the Standing Committee on Agriculture), Bev Shipley and Francis Valeriote (both members of the House Agriculture Committee).

The groups discussed three key issues:

  1. Competitiveness
    Specifically discussed were the additional costs Canada’s processors face for Specified Risk Material (SRM) collection and removal - which, on average, cost $31.70 per over thirty month animal processed. Closures of processors over the last two years, along with the increase in imported beef, are symptoms of this extra cost. The goal is to have Canada’s regulations harmonized with those in the United States (U.S.) and in the meantime, have government pay for the added costs.

  2. Improvements to AgriStability
    As part of the CCA’s lobbying for improvements to our current suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) Programs, improvements to AgriStability were brought up. Suggested improvements include getting rid of the viability test, increasing negative margin coverage and providing the best of the last three years, or Olympic average, in calculating reference margins. Also discussed was the fact that several years of declining margins have greatly reduced the effective coverage available from AgriStability. With the split ownership of the Canadian cattle production system, a margin-based program will continue to struggle to deliver risk management for producers.

  3. Cattle price and basis insurance
    The other BRM improvement includes a national cattle price and basis insurance program. Alberta took the lead by rolling out their Cattle Price Insurance Program this September. This is a good start but the group pressed MPs that this idea needs to be the first step toward development of an effective and affordable national program. This type of BRM tool is available in the U.S. through Chicago futures, but currency risk is hard for Canadian producers to manage. Developing a tool that Canadian cattle producers can use throughout the production cycle, will help manage risk and improve confidence in the business. Agriculture Canada can and should take a leadership role in assessing the policy and budget implications of this type of program, program design and integration and in the development and adaptation so provinces don’t end up competing with each other.

While John Masswohl and Ryder Lee continue to keep industry issues at the forefront for MPs, these “Fly-Ins” allow producers the direct opportunity to deliver the industry and the CCA’s messages. Such discussions go a long way to ensure cattle producers’ issues and input are given full consideration in Ottawa decision-making.

 
Standing Committee on Agriculture gets it wrong on WTO


In advance of the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial meeting, two committees of the House of Commons recently reviewed the status of WTO agricultural negotiations and issued two separate reports.

The Standing Committee on International Trade recommends that the Government of Canada affirm its unequivocal support of, and commitment to defend, Canada’s supply management system. That is fine. The beef industry and other sectors that do not operate under supply management have no general complaint with the government seeking to enable the few farmers that do, to continue on - so long as it doesn’t come at our expense.

Unfortunately, the Opposition used its majority at the Standing Committee on Agriculture to take it a step further in issuing its “Fifth Report” of the Parliamentary Session. Perhaps this non-descriptive title will go unnoticed by many, but the content could potentially be very damaging to a Canadian beef industry that is dependent on export markets. The report recommends the Government immediately instruct Canada’s negotiator at the WTO to seek the removal of text from a potential agreement that could undermine or weaken Canada’s State Trading Enterprises or supply management. What this recommendation means is that Canada should reject the expansion of import quotas or reduction of over-quota tariffs for agriculture goods. If this report were to be adopted as a negotiating instruction, it would mean that Canada’s negotiators would be arguing against improving access for Canadian beef exports to Europe or any other trading partner that utilizes tariff rate quotas on their beef imports. Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Agriculture Committee attempted to amend the motion to be more similar to the one passed by the Trade Committee, but those amendments were over-ruled by the Opposition. MPs should understand that by supporting such a recommendation, they are choosing to prop up one small segment of Canadian agriculture at the expense of the majority.

 

Beef specialist hired as BIXS Program Administrator


BIXS LogoDon Milligan, a former beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture, has been hired to fill the role of Program Administrator for BIXS (Beef InfoXchange System).

With a Masters’ degree from the University of Alberta, Milligan spent 34 years supporting the Alberta and Canadian beef industry through a variety of roles; which included the co-management of the Canada/Alberta Industry Development Fund, and some of the early testing of RFID technology in collaboration with the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA).

In October 2008, Milligan retired from Alberta Agriculture but continued to conduct overseas development work on a consultation basis in areas including South America, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam and many projects in China.

As the Program Administrator, Milligan will be the producer contact person for the BIXS database. He will monitor and support registration on the system, program management and technical support for producers placing information in the BIXS database. Working with other industry partners, Milligan will manage aspects of the BIXS portal content and partner programs linked with BIXS.

Still in the development stages, BIXS is a national voluntary, web-based database initiative geared to capture and exchange individual animal performance, health and carcass data from across the entire beef value chain. BIXS is an integral tool within the Canadian Beef Advantage program.

For more information visit the BIXS website at www.bixs.cattle.ca.

 

CCA pleased with creation of WTO Panel to rule on mCOOL


After the November 19 meeting of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body, a Dispute Settlement Panel was established to rule on the United States’ (U.S.) Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labelling (mCOOL) law.

The WTO process will take a long time, but the CCA believes there is no other option.

Now, there is a period for other countries to express an interest to join the panel as third parties or observers, terms of reference are established and panelists are selected. Once these administrative requirements are fulfilled, Canada has a number of weeks to present its first submission; and then the U.S. presents its defense and rebuttal a couple weeks after that. Because the Panel was created on November 19, it will likely be late February 2010 by the time we get to this point.

For more information on mCOOL and the WTO process, visit www.cattle.ca.

 

CJDI Part III - The Basics of Prevention


In our last issue of CCA’s “Action News”, we talked about what Johne’s Disease (JD) is and how it could impact you. In this edition, we’ll talk about preventing the spread of JD - starting with some prevention basics.

The spread of JD in herds should be minimized if the following points are recognized:

In our next “Action News”, well continue talking about preventing the spread of JD but look at recommended best management practices.

For more information, visit the CJDI page on the CAHC website: www.animalhealth.ca/CJDI/.

 

Producer reminder - AgriInvest deposit deadline approaching


Earlier this fall, you would’ve received a 2008 AgriInvest Deposit Notice with information on how to get the maximum, matching deposit.

To receive the matching contribution, you must make a deposit 90 days from the date on your 2008 AgriInvest Deposit notice. The deadline is found on the top right corner of the Deposit Notice and on the tear-off portion of the form.

For more information visit the AgriInvest website.

 
CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Ryder Lee, John Masswohl, Rob McNabb and Larry Thomas
Written and edited by: Natalie Arnieri



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