Volume 1 Issue 7 | December 14, 2009

In This Issue ...


CCA congratulates leaders for progress made during Asia mission

The CCA congratulates Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz for their hard work, and subsequent positive results, on their most recent trade mission to Asia.

In early December the Ministers wrapped up a trade mission that visited several major Asian markets including China, Hong Kong and Korea. Throughout the mission the key focus was agriculture. CCA President Brad Wildeman was pleased to participate in the mission to provide support and expertise to the Ministers.

The CCA is pleased that the Ministers chose to focus on agriculture as it indicates their understanding of what Canada’s beef cattle industry needs to survive these tough times. It is critical that we establish greater access into our top export markets in Asian countries.

Korea – Both Prime Minister Harper and Minister Ritz expressed our concerns to their counterparts about the prolonged lack of access for Canadian beef into Korea. The result of the firm stance taken by Canada is that Korea now appears to be looking for a solution.

CCA believes that Canada must continue its World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Panel against Korea until commercially meaningful access for beef occurs. The formal WTO process commenced last spring and the Panel was established in the fall. We’ve received promises in the past that South Korea would resume imports from Canada but they never materialized. So while we always look for another solution, we must continue to assert our rights under WTO for a dispute settlement.

China - While further progress for beef was not achieved, discussions were held. Notable access was established for Canadian pork and canola exports. The re-establishment of export access for Canadian pork should help to improve the domestic Canadian market for all proteins, and is therefore positive news for Canadian beef producers.

Hong Kong
- Perhaps the most positive development was the Prime Minister’s announcement that Hong Kong will re-establish full access for Canadian beef. In early 2009, Minister Ritz travelled to Hong Kong and reached an agreement on a phased approach for Hong Kong to expand imports of Canadian beef. That agreement was to culminate this month with near full access (excluding certain bone-in products). However, due to the positive performance of Canadian beef exporters over the past year and the resulting confidence of Hong Kong authorities, the Prime Minister’s mission provided the opportunity to “trade up” to virtually full beef access according to OIE (World Animal Health Organization) standards.

These results demonstrate the value of having our political leaders travel to our trading partners to go to bat on our behalf. The CCA is very supportive of these activities and will continue to be in the future.

Examining Market Power in the Red Meat Packing Sector

In 2006, Dr. Jeffrey Church and Dr. Daniel Gordon examined the extent to which the closure of the border to live animals increased the market power of packers in Canada. The study found that when competitive conditions in Alberta limited the potential buyers for fed cattle to a small number of packers, market power increased; but was not consistent with any coordinated exercise of market power by packers.

Since 2006, a tremendous amount changed in the Canadian fed cattle markets with the further consolidation of the red meat packing sector, recent regulatory such as the implementation of mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (mCOOL) in the United States (U.S.) and changing market dynamics. There is also growing concerns over further reductions in packing capacity in light of poor profitability and reduced cattle inventories, which have further raised the issue of the high level of packer concentration in Canada and the impact this has on Canadian cattle prices and long-term industry structure.

Canfax Research Services, with support from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, initiated a research project to update and expand upon the 2006 Market Power study.

The research project will examine the changes in market power that have occurred since 2005; assessing the impacts of further improvements in market access with the implementation of Rule Two, regulatory changes and the downsizing and consolidation which occurred within the packing sector. The study will also focus on examining the extent to which changes in market power have influenced fed and feeder cattle prices.

Upon evaluating the extent and impacts of market power, the study will work to evaluate alternative mechanisms for market surveillance. Through analysis of existing mechanisms, as well as engagement of industry stakeholders, the project will work to identify options for managing the impacts of market power and inform potential policy and regulatory decisions in this area moving forward.

The project is scheduled to be complete by January 2012. For a more detailed summary of the research to take place click here.


CJDI Part IV - Recommended Best Management Practices

In our last issue of CCA’s “Action News”, we talked about preventing the spread of Johne’s Disease (JD) - specifically the basics of prevention. Now, while we’ll still be talking about prevention, we’ll begin discussing recommended best management practices.

The overall objective of a JD management plan is to reduce the prevalence of JD on the farm by preventing exposure to infected animals and a contaminated environment.

The following is a list of best management practices from a disease control perspective. These will not be possible or cost-effective on all farms - producers will benefit from implementing procedures based on risks identified on their individual farms.

Prevent JD from entering the herd

Prevent the spread of JD to calves
*Note: These management recommendations will also help to reduce the risk of calf scours due to rota- and coronavirus, E. coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidia, Giardia and Campylobacter.

In our next “Action News”, well continue with further recommended best management practices.

For more information, visit the CJDI page on the CAHC website.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Andrea Brocklebank, Brenna Grant and Rob McNabb
Written and edited by: Natalie Arnieri

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Visit www.cattle.ca and click on "Sign-up for Action News".

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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 90,000 Canadian beef cattle producers

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