Volume 6 Issue 9 • February 27, 2012

In This Issue ...


CCA lobbying efforts in high gear

The lobbying efforts of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) remained in high gear in February, with the CCA working on multiple fronts on behalf of cattle producers. The CCA submitted comments to the Government of Canada outlining the reasons why Canada should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The CCA's submission is in response to the December 31, 2011 Canada Gazette notice requesting the views of Canadian stakeholders with respect to Canada's request to join the free trade negotiations with the TPP countries.

In its submission, the CCA noted the potential entry of Japan into the TPP as a very significant development. Should Japan be admitted into the TPP negotiations, the CCA believes it is essential for Canada to also be included so that other beef competitors already in the TPP do not gain an advantage over Canada in the Japanese market.

"We also believe that other countries (such as Korea, Taiwan, China and Russia) will eventually attach a higher importance to TPP if Japan is included. All efforts should be undertaken to assure Canada's admission to the TPP if Japan is admitted," the CCA wrote in its submission.

In preparation for the 2012 Federal Budget, the CCA submitted an open letter to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty which lays out a course of direction for the Government of Canada while also reaffirming the many positive paths they are already on.

Topping the list is access to export markets, which is the lifeblood of the Canadian beef cattle sector. The CCA's hope is that as Minister Flaherty delivers the Federal Budget, initiatives that underscore the Government's commitment to export growth will be featured prominently.

While gaining access to markets is the first step, it is equally vital to be able to compete. The CCA said it looks to Government to ensure that regulations in Canada and abroad are scientifically valid. Unnecessary regulation adds cost that inhibits competitiveness.

The CCA's letter to the Minister also looks to the future, noting that long term research investments are essential to ensure that cattle producers are able to continue to innovate and compete on a global scale.

In addition to these efforts, the CCA had the 'boots on the Hill' the week of February 13 in a joint effort with other members of the Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance to tell Members of Parliament (MP) about the importance of concluding the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. Although well advanced, those negotiations have been stalled since 2008. In the meantime, the U.S. has negotiated and ratified its own FTA with Korea which will come into effect on March 15, 2012. On that date, the Korean duty on U.S. beef will drop to 37.4 per cent, while remaining at 40 per cent for Canadian beef. Every additional year that passes without a Canada-Korea FTA will mean a further 2.67 per cent tariff disadvantage until U.S. beef is duty free in Korea after 15 years.

We were pleased that every one of the MPs we met understood that if Canada does not implement its own FTA with Korea, we will very quickly become uncompetitive versus U.S. beef. The CCA will continue this effort until parity in the Korean beef market is restored.

On U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL), the CCA believes it is almost certain that the U.S. will resist resolving the dispute and proceed to appeal the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling. If they do, the U.S. will have to both notify the WTO of its appeal and file its written arguments on the same day, March 22, 2012. Canada and Mexico's written responses will be due in early April and an oral hearing will take place in Geneva in either late April or early May. The Appellate Body's confidential report will be circulated to the governments before the end of June and the final report will be published before the end of July. By that time, the U.S. Congress will likely have adjourned for the 2012 elections that will take place in November. Assuming the Appellate Body reaffirms the original ruling, it will be 2013 before the U.S. Congress will be re-assembled to consider amending the COOL legislation.


Second CCA town hall meeting attracts good turnout

Canfax Market BriefsThe CCA attracted a good turnout of producers to its town hall meeting held in Pipestone, MB on February 9. The meeting was the second in a series of CCA Town Hall events and was hosted in partnership with Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP). Around 130 producers were in attendance, which was an increase of about 40 per cent compared with the CCA`s inaugural town hall meeting.

Presentations on Restoring Industry Profitability, Advocacy- Positive Public Attitudes and Crisis Management Preparedness were given by CCA Vice President Martin Unrau, Executive Vice President Dennis Laycraft, General Manager, Operations Rob McNabb and Andrea Brocklebank of Canfax and BCRC.

The CCA town hall meeting was well-received by those in attendance and many producers said that they were very pleased with the high-calibre of information that was presented at the event. Many producers took the opportunity to chat and engage directly with CCA officials during the event's Q&A and gained a deeper understanding of what the CCA does on their behalf.

Cam Dahl, General Manager of MBP, said feedback from producers in attendance was all positive "After dinner we had an open mike forum where folks could ask question on any topic. This was a success and should be part of future town halls. This allowed producers to have more of a one-on-one conversation with CCA representatives about issues affecting their Manitoba operations. This was a success and should be part of future town halls," he said.

The CCA will hold its third town hall meeting in Ontario, in partnership with the Ontario Cattlemen`s Association. Sponsorship from Farm Credit Canada enables the CCA to hold town hall events through to 2014. More details on upcoming CCA town halls are available at www.cattle.ca/townhall.

CCA town hall meetings provide an excellent opportunity for producers to connect with CCA executive and managers, get the latest industry news and stay up-to-date on the many activities and initiatives CCA is involved in on behalf of Canada's 83,000 beef cattle producers.


Cattlemen's Young Leaders Development Program

Now that the application deadline for the 2012 Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) Development program has passed, the focus is on reviewing the applications received from across the country. By the end of the first round of the selection process, 25 applicants will have emerged as semifinalists for the 2012 CYL national program.

The field will be further narrowed down in April, when just 16 candidates will be chosen as 2012 CYL candidates at a special event in Saskatoon.

Set for April 13-14, the CYL Spring Forum will combine an end of year celebration for the 2011 CYL graduates with the final round of the selection process for the 2012 CYL candidates. The invite-only event will feature an industry panel discussion, a key note speaker and a banquet.

Launched by the CCA in 2010, the CYL program provides industry-specific training and mentorship to youth between the ages of 18 and 35. The CYL program provides a combination of formal and informal opportunities to learn from beef cattle industry leaders.

Funding for the CYL Program is made available through its Foundation Partners, United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) Co-operative Ltd., the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Cargill.


Spotlight on Canadian grasslands

The value and importance of Canadian grasslands was the focus of a recent conference hosted by the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA). A presentation by Dr. Ken Belcher of the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics at the University of Saskatchewan imparted a message of value to producers and consumers alike.

While it is often assumed that there is a large disconnect between environmentalism and market forces, Dr. Belcher's research in the value of grasslands in maintaining biodiversity suggested that optimal cattle and land management practices provide an equal benefit to economic returns and the environment.

Working with a collaborator at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Belcher aimed to evaluate the relationship between plant diversity and the economic returns provided by grazing cattle on grasslands in Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas. The study indicated that managing pastures for long term economic returns has little or no impact on the plant diversity. In other words producers who manage their pasture for the highest long term monetary returns are also managing their pasture in a way that is beneficial for biodiversity.

Another point emphasized by Dr. Belcher is that greater levels of biodiversity serve as an insurance against variable economic returns as grasslands with greater levels of biodiversity are more resistant to, and recover better from, environmental impacts such as drought.

These findings underscore the importance of pasture management for producers while consumers can take comfort knowing that farmers are continually working towards sustainability on their operation both environmentally and economically.


Transporting Cows Safely in Winter

The Beef Cattle Research Council announced a call for research proposals in the August 2, 2011 edition 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 this issue, we feature the third project funded, an examination of how animal condition, transport distance, driving practices and winter weather influence the welfare of market cows and heifers during transport to packing plants. Click here to read more.

If you missed the previous two projects featured in Action News, check the January 30 edition for the project on carcass grading research and the February 13 issue for the project, sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) in feedlot cattle.

CCA Action News

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

To sign up for CCA's “Action News:”
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 83,000 Canadian beef cattle producers.

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