Volume 6 Issue 8 • February 13, 2012

In This Issue ...


China Trade Mission developments to benefit Canadian cattle producers

Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) President Travis Toews is pleased with the progress made during the recent Government of Canada official trade mission to China. Toews was part of an official industry delegation accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the week-long mission along with Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast. During the trade mission, Prime Minister Harper and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao cleared the way for the resumption of Canadian tallow exports to China and Minister Ritz announced an understanding with his Chinese counterpart to work towards the approval of additional Canadian beef export facilities and the inclusion of bone-in beef and offal from cattle under-thirty-months (UTM) of age as well as live dairy cattle.

The latter item sets in motion a process to expand the list of Canadian facilities eligible to export beef to China and to add bone-in UTM beef and offal products plus live dairy cattle. Eventually, it is expected that a further step of including beef from cattle over-thirty-months of age would also be achieved in accordance with the June 2010 commitment and consistent with the scientific standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

CCA President Travis Toews was one of 60 Canadians to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recently from the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston (R) and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L). The commemorative medal is presented to Canadians who have made significant contributions to their community and their country. Toews was honoured for his 'dedication to the field of agriculture, and for his support for farmers and cattlemen.' He received the award in Ottawa on the morning on February 6 (click here to see our release) and that afternoon boarded a flight for China as part of delegation of Canadian business leaders joining the Prime Minister on his latest trade mission. Photo credit: Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall © 2011 Office of the Secretary to the Governor General of Canada

The immediate access to the Chinese beef tallow market by Canadian processors for the first time in almost a decade is beneficial to producers as well. This new access will add value to the overall price that Canadian cattle producers receive for selling their animals and provide incentive to process those animals in Canada.

China was the top export market for Canadian industrial tallow in 2002, worth $31 million. During our nine year absence, China's global imports of tallow have grown to more than $400 million annually. Industrial tallow is used in soaps, cosmetics, waxes, biodiesel, and lubricants. The Canadian industry expects its renewed exports of tallow to outpace its previous performance and for the Chinese market for Canadian beef and tallow to exceed $110 million once full market access is achieved.

"This has been a very rewarding mission for Canadian cattle and beef producers," said Toews. "The Prime Minister and both Ministers Ritz and Fast truly understand that market access is the lifeblood for our industry and they have been very successful at conveying that message to their Chinese counterparts."

In June 2010, during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Canada, China committed to restore access for all Canadian beef and beef products. It was expected that the access would be phased in over time with the first two steps being boneless beef from UTM cattle and industrial beef tallow. Since that time, extensive technical negotiations have taken place resulting in the boneless UTM access in May 2011 and the industrial beef tallow announced on February 8, 2012 during the official trade mission to China.


Study showing negative effects of ethanol production mandates on livestock & meat sector under fire

Canfax Market BriefsA new report by the George Morris Centre (GMC) shows Canadian ethanol production mandates are responsible for increasing costs to the Canadian livestock sector by $130 million per year.

While there has been some opposition to the report's findings, it is important that policy makers are aware of all the effects of ethanol policy and subsidies.

Released January 31, Impact of Canadian Ethanol Policy on Canada's Livestock and Meat Industry – 2012 examines the effects of Canadian ethanol policy on the livestock and meat industry. The research shows the negative effects that government imposed ethanol production mandates have had on the profitability and production of Canada's livestock and meat industries.

The GMC study quantifies the impact of biofuels policy through addressing a shortfall in existing research. To date papers on the impact of biofuel policy initiatives have examined U.S. policy alone and either completely ignored Canadian policy or assumed limited effect. Other papers cite the multiple factors involved in grain pricing but fail to consider the effects a subsidized competitor can have on local prices.  The GMC research was funded by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA), Canadian Pork Council and Canadian Meat Council.

The CCA has long advocated for a market-based biofuels industry. Government policy that favours biofuels production as a purchaser of feed grain favours that industry at the expense of the livestock and meat sector, noted CCA President Travis Toews.

"We aren't against high grain prices, but we want to compete on a level playing field," he said. "The cattle industry fully appreciates how important a vibrant Canadian grain industry is to our sustainability."

The research shows the negative effects that government imposed ethanol production mandates have had on the profitability and production of Canada's livestock and meat industries, Toews continued. "Governments need to be aware of these effects," he said.  "CCA policy supports the removal of subsidies, tariffs and the mandate. This would let the market decide the best usage of feed grain in Canada."

There has been a strong reaction to the report and some have questioned its findings. For example, some cite Distillers grains as a benefit to livestock producers.  While it is true that Distillers grains is a feed, the GMC report duly noted its inclusion rate is limited, it is one-third the amount of the original corn, its feed properties are different (as all the starch is removed) and it is priced close to the cost of corn instead of being priced like a by-product of corn.

The study's critics also cite the environmental benefit of ethanol. This has been a heavily researched subject and of course it continues to evolve with new technology. Regardless of which study or numbers you look at, if valuable benefits are there the CCA believes this would be reflected in what the open market will pay for ethanol and thus allow the industry to compete for feed grains on a level playing field with livestock producers.

The report can be found at www.georgemorris.org.


Follow the CCA on Twitter

The CCA is pleased to announce that we are now on Twitter. Follow us at @CdnCattlemen to stay in touch with the latest industry news, special events, and lobbying issues as they happen. Joining the CCA's Twitter feed is also a great way to stay abreast of CCA News Releases and of course Action News. Cattle producers and the public are welcome to join @CdnCattlemen.


CCA Communications welcomes new staffer

The CCA is pleased to announce our new Communications Coordinator, Matthew French. Matthew holds a bachelor's degree in public relations from Mount Royal University in Calgary.  He brings to the position a strong background in communications having joined the CCA from working in event management and public relations for Mount Royal's sports team, the Cougars, as well as working as an independent communications consultant. Matthew brings to the position a strong technical aptitude having previously worked for Mount Royal's Media Production Studio and the City of Calgary's IT department.  We are pleased to have him aboard. Matthew replaces Tracy Sakatch, who has moved to a new position with the CCA's Beef Cattle Research Council.


We need to talk about SARA

The Beef Cattle Research Council announced a call for research proposals in the August 2, 2011 issue of Action News. The Council met in December to review the proposals that were submitted. Four proposals were approved for funding based on favorable reviews from independent experts, alignment with industry research priorities and budgetary constraints. 

In the last issue of Action News, we featured the first of these projects, an investigation of a faster, less labour-intensive method of doing routine carcass grading research. This issue we summarize a study into the factors which influence the risk of subacute ruminal acidosis in feedlot cattle. Click here to read more about the second of four projects.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Ryder Lee, Reynold Bergen
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Matthew French

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