Volume 5 Issue 12 • October 24, 2011

In This Issue ...


CCA, red meat industry urges Government of Canada to resume FTA talks with South Korea

In light of the U.S. Congress ratifying a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea on October 12, 2011, the Canadian Pork Council, Canada Pork International, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and the Canadian Meat Council have joined forces to urge the Government of Canada to resume the FTA talks with South Korea.

The Canada-South Korea talks have been stalled since 2008. Given the development with the U.S.-Korea FTA, the Canadian pork and beef industries are very concerned that postponing the FTA talks any further will seriously affect the competitiveness of theirs and other Canadian sectors exporting to South Korea. Watch for more information in upcoming issues of Action News.


Spotlight on EU quota allocations

CanFax Market BriefsDuring a recent agricultural trade mission to Germany, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz met with German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner. Among the issues discussed, Minister Ritz raised the need to improve the EU method of administering the new beef import quota, which has created untenable market access problems for Canadian beef exporters to Europe. Last month, Canada Gold Beef Inc. took the unfortunate decision to suspend its beef processing operations for the EU market until the quota allocation problem is resolved.

The CCA raised the issue of the EU quota allocation problems with Minister Ritz and he immediately recognized that if it is not resolved quickly, further Canadian beef production for Europe could be in jeopardy.  Minister Ritz agreed this was an important issue for the meeting with his German counterpart and we thank him for pursuing it. 

The resolution the CCA would like to see is implementation of a process to prevent the EU from allocating any quota to an EU company that is not a legitimate importer. Ideally there would be a process to ensure the lion's share of the quota is reserved for allocation to companies that have made the bulk of beef imports in the past.  After these traditional importers have obtained their allocations, a residual quantity could be allocated to other companies that genuinely intend to enter the beef import market. This would better ensure that the EU quota is administered in a manner that does not encourage non-importing "speculator" companies to buy and sell quota allocations. 

Beyond the importance of resolving this issue in the present circumstances, it also highlights how the European Commission uses quota administration as a trade barrier and underscores why the CCA is seeking quota-free access in the negotiations for Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  The CETA is the most important new market access opportunity for Canadian beef producers and exporters in a generation. Europe is a huge market for beef yet the existing quota, of which Canada currently has only a share, is a small drop in the bucket relative to the import potential. Minister Ritz noted the importance of the CETA negotiations and its benefit for Canada's farmers while in Germany.


CCA appears before the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

Last week, Reynold Bergen, science director for the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and Ryder Lee, the CCA's Manager of Federal Provincial Relations, appeared as witnesses before the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in Ottawa. The CCA was invited to speak to issues around innovation in agriculture on behalf of Canada's cattle industry. Bergen and Lee discussed the importance of innovation to the growth and competitiveness of the Canadian cattle industry and the need for more government dollars to support research and technology transfer. Bergen and Lee also handled a number of wide ranging questions from the Senate Committee members.

As part of their presentation, the CCA provided the Senate Committee with key points that summarize what is needed to ensure that research continues to support and enhance the growth and competitiveness of Canada's beef and cattle industry. These points include:

The Steaks for Soldiers event at CFB Valcartier was a huge success. Sergeant Daniel Therrien reported that his team really appreciated the steaks and the attention from the campaign. Left: Corporal Eric Genest and Sergeant Daniel Therrien, along with Corporal Guy Leclerc and "unidentified" unload the steaks. Photo credit: John Masswohl.

"The Beef Science Cluster developed by the BCRC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is an important first step in overcoming these challenges. We are optimistic that ongoing efforts to align the research priorities and funding with additional beef research funders will help to successfully achieve research outcomes that will further improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Canada's beef industry," Bergen said following the hearing.

The hearing was held with regard to the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry's order of reference dealing with research and innovation in agriculture. The hearing will enable the Standing Committee to examine and report on research and innovation efforts in the agricultural sector. The CCA appreciated the opportunity to present its perspective on the valuable role that Canada's beef and cattle research community can play in addressing the opportunities and challenges facing Canada's beef industry.


Cattlemen's Young Leaders Fall Forum wraps

The Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) development program held its Fall Forum October 14-15 in Calgary, bringing together its mentors and mentees from across Canada. The two-day event was filled with excellent opportunities for participants to learn about various aspects of Canada's beef industry and network with industry leaders.

Cargill, a foundation partner of the CYL program, opened its doors to the Cargill Meat Solutions High River plant, which processes 4,500 animals per day. CYL participants spent the morning touring the facility and observing the process of harvesting beef. The afternoon was spent with Cargill managers, including Scott Entz, general manager of the High River plant and Jarrod Gillig, Beef, General Manager Cargill Value Added Meats Canada, participating in discussions and exercises on communication and leadership development. Participants also learned about the impact animal handling practices have at the packing plant, as well as the difference that the Verified Beef ProductionTM program has made in preserving the quality and quantity of meat harvested from beef carcasses.

"As one of the founding sponsors for the CYL program, Cargill continues to see this program as a key to developing future leaders in the Canadian beef industry," said Gillig. "In addition to seeing the next step in the beef value chain, a key component from both days was the opportunity to participate in some candid conversations with industry leaders while also getting the insights to leverage strategy development and execution tools used throughout the beef value chain," he added.

L-R: CYL mentees Becky Fenton and Allison Porter, Cargill's Jarrod Gillig and Scott Entz, and CYL mentor Dr. Allan Preston during a communications and leadership exercise at Cargill's High River facility. Photo credit: Tracy Sakatch

CYL program participants also toured Calgary's AdFarm office. AdFarm is an agricultural marketing and communications agency with six locations across North America. Kim McConnell, AdFarm's founder and President and CEO until 2007, spoke about his unconventional approach to creating effective messaging that ensures the advancement of agriculture. McConnell also shared tips on how the young leaders can use communications strategies to be successful.

Lastly, the group visited the CCA office and heard presentations from CCA staff on the global beef outlook, using Canfax reports as a marketing tool and understanding research results from scientific studies on beef cattle. Amanda Bogen Hallawell from Cows and Fish spoke about the importance of beef producers sharing their stories of land stewardship. Leona Dargis, 2011 Canadian Nuffield Scholar, shared her life experiences and discussed opportunities for the next generation of farmers.

CYL participant Virgil Lowe says the Forum has made him aware of the opportunities that are open to him within the industry. "This program has opened the doors as well as introduced us to those people who can help us through them," he said. "Visiting Cargill, and hearing speakers from throughout the industry makes me excited for the future."


Applications now accepted for 2012 Cattlemen's Young Leaders mentorship program

The Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) development program is now accepting applications for 2012 mentorship opportunities across Canada. The CYL program is open to beef enthusiasts between the ages of 18 and 35. The mentorship opportunities will begin in April 2012 and run for a period of eight-months. Applications will be accepted until February 25, 2012. To apply online, visit www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com.

A national youth initiative of the CCA, the CYL program provides industry-specific training and mentorship opportunities to young producers. CYL participants will have the opportunity to explore a potential career choice or involvement with a provincial/national producer organization, while gaining the expertise and business acumen necessary to sustain the cattle industry into the future.


Career opportunities

The CCA currently has two career opportunities available: Beef Extension Coordinator and Executive Assistant (term position).  Please visit http://www.cattle.ca/career-opportunities for more information.

CCA Action News

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

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