Volume 7 Issue 2 • May 7, 2012

In This Issue ...


CCA in Geneva to support Canada at U.S. appeal of COOL

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) was back in Geneva, Switzerland recently for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appeal hearing on U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL). CCA Past President Travis Toews attended the hearing along with Executive Vice President Dennis Laycraft and the CCA's Washington, D.C.-based legal counsel. Attending the hearing enabled the CCA to engage in the final preparatory meetings of the Government of Canada legal team as well as to help the team respond to industry specific questions that arose during the hearing, held May 2 and 3.

A vast amount of information was presented and the hearing went late each day as the Appeal panel considered the arguments and asked its questions. "The Appellate Body was very engaged during the hearing with in-depth questioning that delved into the very core of the COOL issue. The Canadian team did an excellent job of arguing our positions and assertions," said Toews.

Although the appeal is about whether the original panel interpreted the provisions of the WTO agreements correctly, an understanding of the facts of the case is essential and the Appellate Body spent considerable time reviewing them with the parties.

As one of the most significant WTO provisions in the COOL case, related to the legitimacy of government objectives, has had little previous interpretation, the COOL appeal drew considerable participation from other countries interested in establishing precedents for future cases.

The CCA participants were very pleased with the defense put forth by the Canadian Government legal team, but noted that the outcome of the hearing is impossible to predict. "They were well prepared and executed their defense in an extremely persuasive manner. Now we will have to wait for the ruling," said Toews.

The Appellate Body's ruling is expected before the end of June.


Three Provincial Lobby Days in Ottawa

CCA hosts OCA fly-in day (L-R) The CCA's John Masswohl with OCA representatives Matt Bowman, Steve Eby, Richard Horne, Tom Wilson, Dan Darling and Katie Dettman.
Photo credit: Ryder Lee

During the latter part of April the CCA hosted three provincial fly-in days in Ottawa.  Over the course of a week, representatives from the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association, Ontario Cattlemen's Association and Alberta Beef Producers met with Members of Parliament (MPs) and government staff. These meetings help to advance issues and inform government where industry is working to advance policy that will enhance the competitiveness and profitability for Canadian producers.

The meetings were held over three days, with provincial association representatives addressing a total of 36 MPs, one Senator and several staff people about how they can help the cattle industry.  Improving trade and market access was part of every meeting.  This discussion included the need to complete a free trade deal with Korea, the latest details on the Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) file, and the importance of achieving free trade agreements with Japan and the European Union that provide meaningful access for Canada's beef cattle industry.

Business risk management came up regularly from cattle producers and from MPs asking questions. The goal of keeping and improving on AgriStability was conveyed, as was the goal of implementing a national price and basis insurance program.

Increased funding along with the need for a seamless transition from Growing Forward to the next suite of programs was the focus of discussions on research and innovation.  The groups talked about the importance of research in preparing the industry for future challenges and for keeping producers competitive.

Labour shortages in the western provinces were discussed as well as concern about how community pastures will be transferred out of federal administration.

In the end, all producers left Ottawa with greater understanding of the issues that they need to work on in their home provinces and Ottawa has a better understanding of the issues producers are dealing with.


Producers urged to participate in online survey on Beef Cattle Code of Practice

Canfax Market Briefs

Beef producers and those with an interest in animal care and welfare are encouraged to share their views in an online survey on the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle.

Codes of Practice are national guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. The confidential survey from the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) focuses on awareness and use of the Code, created in 1991, within the beef production sector. The input gathered from the survey will help formulate an updated Code that assures all stakeholders that production methods in Canada's beef production industry are keeping pace with scientific advancement, practicality and consumer expectations.

The survey is being conducted at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/beef-cattle. Producer input is critical to updating the Code of Practice and to ensure the process reflects stakeholders at all levels and across all types of cattle.

The CCA views the NFACC code development process as the best option to achieving a practical outcome-based, science-based Beef Code of Practice supported by all stakeholders. The CCA is the lead organization responsible for facilitating the beef cattle Code.

The Code will be an important piece in the industry's communications to the public and to producers in the coming years. The Code will show consumers that the practices used in day-to-day beef cattle production in Canada are based on sound-science and animal wellbeing considerations, and producers will have access to a renewed management tool based on current research and stakeholder input.

The Committee tasked with reviewing and updating Canada's Code of Practice for Beef includes producers from every stage of production as well as representatives from stakeholders from the veterinarian, research, enforcement, animal welfare, governments, transportation and processing sectors.

Once all the survey comments are in, the Committee will work to ensure those of value are incorporated into the final draft of the Code. The revised edition of the Code is expected to be complete by spring 2013.

The Code renewal project is funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Flexibility Fund.


Challenges at the bottom of the cattle cycle

Canfax Research Services presents the third fact sheet in the series sponsored by Merck Animal Health.

It has frequently been discussed that the national beef cow herd is stabilizing and is currently at the bottom of the cattle cycle. Cow marketings in 2012 are expected to be steady with 2011. Any increase in heifer retention will remove these animals from fed beef production, reducing supplies even more over the short term before a larger calf crop becomes available for slaughter.

Based upon expectations of steady cow numbers in 2012 and a stabilization phase that could last two to three years before expansion takes place, smaller feeder numbers are here to stay -- at least for a while. So what does this mean for the feedlots and packers buying those animals?

This special issue is focused on the challenges packers and feedlots face in the bottom of the cattle cycle when supplies are the tightest. Strategies for buying and selling cattle have adapted to address some of these challenges. However, utilization levels and the potential of lost infrastructure continue to be real concerns. The full document is available at http://canfax.ca/FactSheets.aspx


BCRC Call for Letters of Intent 2012

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) invites letters of intent for research projects under the second Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster.

The BCRC's mandate is to establish research and development priorities for the Canadian beef cattle industry and manage National Check-off funds allocated to research. The BCRC developed the first Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Growing Forward Strategy. The first Cluster was a four year initiative (April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2013) that brought together Canada's largest public and industry funders of applied beef research, and focused on a comprehensive outcome-based research program directly aligned with industry's vision and priorities. The BCRC is in support of renewing this program under AAFC's Growing Forward II program, and has started planning for the second Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster covering the period between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2018.

The BCRC has defined two core research objectives under which more specific priorities are established:

Through a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process, the BCRC has identified clearly defined target research outcomes within each priority area for the second Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster. The BCRC welcomes letters of intent that align with the target research outcomes.

The deadline to submit letters of intent is May 30, 2012. Researchers will be notified if they are invited to submit a full proposal.

For more information on the 2012 BCRC Call for Letters of Intent and target research outcomes, click here.

CCA Action News

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

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The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for nearly 83,000 Canadian beef cattle producers.

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