In This Issue ...
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) appeared before two House of Commons standing committees this month on behalf of Canada's beef cattle producers.
The CCA's John Masswohl appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade on May 3 to discuss the benefits of a comprehensive, economic partnership agreement with Japan for Canada's cattle industry.
CCA Environment Manager Fawn Jackson and environment committee chair Lynn Grant appeared before the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in Calgary on May 17 to provide input on the development of a National Conservation Plan. That Committee is travelling to communities across Canada to gather recommendations from stakeholders and observe a range of conservation activities that address issues in various ecosystems.
At the May 3 hearing in Ottawa, Masswohl told the Committee on International Trade that achieving meaningful access with high-income markets like Japan is crucial to ensuring the long-term competitiveness of Canada's export-dependent beef and cattle industry.
The CCA is supportive of such an agreement and keen to move forward to create these opportunities. Masswohl reiterated that many technical and tariff barriers need to be addressed in order for Canada to achieve beneficial market access with Japan. Topping the list is having Japan adhere to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards related to Canada's controlled risk status for BSE which, among other things, permits trade in beef from cattle of all ages.
Japan only accepts beef from cattle under 21 months of age. The CCA continues to press Japan to fully implement the OIE standards. As an interim step, the CCA would welcome Japan raising the age to 30 months from 21 months. Japan's Food Safety Commission is already working on that process, but Masswohl told the committee that it is imprudent at this point to prejudge the outcome.
Having Japan adhere to the OIE guidelines would benefit the Canadian beef and cattle industry as well as the Japanese market. Current supply constraints of under 21 month cattle mean that Canada can't supply its Japanese customers on a year-round basis. Moving the age to 30 months would ensure a steady supply of beef.
Another technical issue is around the removal of specified risk materials (SRM). The OIE standard requires the removal of SRMs from cattle over 30 months of age. Japan requires the SRM removal from all cattle, regardless of age. Masswohl told the Committee the CCA would like to see progress there as well.
Then there's the 38.5 per cent tariff, which Japan refers to as their applied tariff. They also have a World Trade Organization (WTO) binding of 50 per cent, which means they can raise the tariff up to 50 per cent. Japan has established a trigger point, which means that if the beef imports rise above a certain trigger point, they can raise the tariff up to 50 per cent.
"We did reach a temporary understanding that they base the trigger point on a historical period, but that's a temporary policy that they renew each year. So being able to deal with the tariff in a free trade agreement can also provide that certainty that we will actually know what the rate of duty will be," Masswohl told the committee.
The CCA is pleased to be a part of a milestone Steaks for Soldiers event at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton on Sunday, June 3. The troops being honoured were the last soldiers to return from Kandahar Province, marking a full circle for the CCA which has supported the Steaks for Soldiers campaign since the first troop rotation came back from Afghanistan in 2007.
CCA Directors along with directors from Alberta Beef Producers and Alberta Cattle Feeders as well Alberta cattlemen and representatives from Canada Beef Inc. will be on hand to help serve 1,600 New York medallions to 600 base personnel and their families at a special Family Day Welcome Home event at CFB Edmonton. The event is being held in appreciation of the Bravo Company, the last infantry unit on the ground in Kandahar during a major drawdown operation.
Members of the Bravo Company had to be flexible and prepared for all contingencies, including combat. Click here to read about Bravo Company's role in the largest drawdown operation in Canadian history.
The CCA is pleased to support the Steaks for Soldiers events. The original event in 2007 was held as a way for Canadian beef producers to express their gratitude for the service of the Canadian troops by treating them to a great steak dinner.
The CCA sponsored the 1,700 steaks served to the returning troops of the Royal Canadian Regiment and their families at CFB Petawawa at the 2007 event. In early 2010, Manitoba businessman Harvey Dann independently spearheaded the Sponsor a Steak for a Returning Soldier campaign as a way for beef producers to extend their ongoing gratitude to the Canadian Forces.
The CCA teamed up with Dann to put forth a joint effort to repeat and expand the original 2007 event at CFB Petawawa to all major CFB's across Canada. Dann has worked tirelessly to raise nearly $120,000 in contributions to attain his goal. Nearly 650 people, 95 per cent of whom are cattle producers, have donated to the campaign.
Since 2010, Steaks for Soldiers events have been held at CFB Edmonton (June 19, 2010), CFB Shilo in Manitoba (June 20, 2010) and CFB Valcartier (October 14, 2011). CCA representatives were on hand at all of these events, assisting in the preparation and serving of 1,200 steaks, 850 steaks, and nearly 4,000 steaks, respectively.
Upcoming 2012 events include a 100 steak program at the Royal United Services Institute - Regina Officers' Mess on May 25 as well as an event at Shilo, Manitoba in July with numbers to be determined.
The CCA thanks producers who have contributed to this important campaign.
Registration for the Canadian Cattle Industry AAA Golf Tournament is now open. Interested parties can register online at http://en.canadianbeefbreeds.com/index.php?page_id=76.
The Canadian Cattle Industry AAA Golf Tournament takes place August 16 at the HeatherGlen Golf Course in Calgary. The tournament is part of the CCA's National Convention and Semi-Annual meeting, which is being held in conjunction with the International Livestock Congress again this year at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino.
The tournament is being hosted by the CCA, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council and Canada Beef Inc. The tournament offers a great day of golf and is an excellent networking opportunity for beef producers and industry stakeholders from across Canada. The tournament will be capped at 125 players so register early.
The CCA would like to recognize and thank our Prime Partners: Merck Animal Health, Scotiabank and Farm Credit Canada for their continued support of the Canadian cattle industry. To learn more about the CCA Partners Program, visit http://www.cattle.ca/cca-partners-program.
Beef Cattle Research Council update
The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) manages the research allocation of Canada's beef cattle check-off and operates as a division of the CCA. The BCRC is currently focused on a number of important initiatives to advance the Canadian beef industry through research. As a partner in the Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster, which has entered its fourth and final year, the BCRC is now assessing Cluster-funded research results and encouraging the utilization of relevant knowledge and technology by industry from those projects. The BCRC is working with other industry groups to determine future research directions and planning for the next Cluster under Growing Forward II is underway. The BCRC is also making progress working with other major research funding agencies in establishing a National Beef Research Strategy. The Strategy, introduced in the March 26, 2012 issue of Action News, will work to align other provincial and national industry and government funders to develop a single national strategy with defined research outcomes and the commitment of major funders to achieving those outcomes. For more information on current BCRC initiatives and to better understand the value of research in the Canadian beef industry, click here.