In This Issue ...
Canadian beef producers may notice a familiar face or two joining them at the table as they dig into their favourite hamburger at McDonald's.
Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) Vice President Dave Solverson and his daughter, Joanne Solverson, are featured on a new paper tray liner at McDonald's restaurants across Canada. The father and daughter duo are featured alongside the iconic image of a Big Mac, made from 100 per cent pure Canadian beef.
The beef-focused tray liner is part of a campaign to highlight the quality ingredients that are used to make McDonald's food.
"We are proud of the quality of our food, and want to be transparent about the ingredients we use and where we source those ingredients," said Jeff Kroll, Senior Vice President, National Supply Chain, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited.
Solverson said he is pleased to be a part of the tray liner campaign for beef as it raises awareness among McDonald's customers about the level of care and attention that Canadian producers put into cattle production every day.
A fourth-generation farm family, the Solversons produce beef at their ranch near Camrose, Alberta. The family takes great care to ensure the production practices used at their ranch produce healthy and nutritious beef.
As the long-standing Chairman of the CCA's Animal Care Committee, Dave is actively involved in animal welfare issues, including the ongoing evolution of national farm animal care guidelines to ensure they reflect best practices. He was pleased to be able to share that messaging with consumers who enjoy Canadian beef at McDonald's.
"Canadian producers really appreciate McDonald's commitment to 100 per cent Canadian product," Solverson said.
The tray liners are printed on 100 per cent recycled paper. The Solverson tray liner will be used throughout the summer at McDonald's locations across Canada.
CCA Manager of Environmental Affairs, Fawn Jackson, participated in a multi-stakeholder platform meeting in the Brazilian capital of Brasília, to discuss 'Restoring value to grasslands.' The workshop is part of a larger initiative, The Global Agenda of Action (GAA) in Support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development.
The GAA is an initiative undertaken by a multitude of stakeholders to address the growing challenge of fulfilling the increased demand for meat with limited resources. The GAA premise is that as the demand for livestock products continues to grow globally it needs to do so in the most environmentally, socially and economically sound manner.
The initiative was spurred by a recommendation from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation's (UN) Committee on Agriculture to have the FAO actively engage in a global dialogue with the livestock sector. Following initial consultations the GAA outlined three initial focus areas: 'Closing the efficiency gap in natural resource use,' 'Reduced discharge: Towards zero discharge' and 'Restoring value to grasslands.'
Appropriately managed grasslands can provide large natural resource benefits in the form of carbon sequestration, provision of water services, and biodiversity. During the workshop on 'Restoring value to grasslands' the topics of discussion focused on the technical interventions, policy and the institutional tools that can be used to optimize these benefits.
Jackson shared Canada's current grassland strategies with the workshop participants.
"It is extremely important that all stakeholders in the global livestock industry work together to achieve sustainable outcomes. Livestock producers from around the world face similar challenges and share common goals. We all want to be able to provide for our families through caring for the land and the livestock. It is our job to ensure that producers everywhere are able to continue doing that," she said.
Some of the proposed solutions to returning value to grasslands include sharing of existing data, information and experiences, developing methods to appropriately value grasslands economically, socially and environmentally and creating awareness through advocacy on the importance and value of grasslands to societal well-being.
Jackson said the knowledge and experiences shared at the workshop was of great value and will go a long way to forming a sound global strategy. "All stakeholders had many lessons to share that we, as a global industry, can learn from as we continue on with this process," she said.
Now that the three multi-stakeholder platform meetings have taken place an official launch of the GAA is expected for September of 2012.
The CCA appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development recently to provide input on the development of a national conservation plan.
The CCA was among a dozen stakeholder groups, representing the cattle, energy, agriculture and conservation sectors, invited to appear as witnesses before the committee and provide their perspective on the development of a natural conservation plan.
CCA Environment Committee Chair Lynn Grant told the committee that farmers and ranchers are conservationists by nature, and that grazing is essential for a properly functioning grassland ecosystem to remain healthy.
"Grasslands National Park, near my home, reintroduced cattle to the park after 20 years of excluding this major grazer. Their studies had shown a reduction in biodiversity and ecosystem function without the major grazer on the landscape. So eliminating cattle is not an answer; they are part of the solution," he said.
Approximately one-third of Canada's 160 million acres of agricultural land, or more than 50 million acres, is grass. Grant highlighted the many opportunities for collaboration with producers to reach environmental goals within a working landscape under a national conservation plan.
Fawn Jackson, CCA Manager of Environmental Affairs, added that a national conservation plan could also address the growing disconnect between consumers and producers through ensuring that young people come back into the agriculture community. Having young people act as industry ambassadors -- like they do in the Cattlemen's Young Leaders Program -- and having them spread that positive messaging via social media, would help fill that information gap.
The CCA is pleased to offer an agricultural tour as part of its Semi-Annual Meeting and Convention, which is once again being held in conjunction with the International Livestock Congress (ILC) in Calgary.
The CCA Semi-Annual Meeting and Convention takes place August 13 - 17, 2012 at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino. In addition to the agricultural tour, the CCA also offers a golf tournament.
As previously mentioned in Action News, the CCA has partnered with the Canadian Beef Breeds Council and Canada Beef Inc. to host The Canadian Cattle Industry's AAA Golf Tournament on Thursday, August 16. The tournament offers a great day of golf and relationship building with those in the cattle industry. The tournament will be capped at 125 players, so register early.
Those less inclined to work on their backswing can consider the CCA agricultural tour. The CCA`s agricultural tour will start in High River with a tour of the Cargill processing plant or Western Feedlots. The Cargill tour is limited to 24 participants and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The tour will then head to Stavely to visit the VJV Livestock Auction and watch a demonstration from Integrated Traceability Solutions (ITS) before heading back to the Deerfoot Inn & Casino. Interested individuals can register for the CCA`s agricultural tour here.
For more information on the CCA agricultural tour, click here.
Historic evaluation of research investments
In order to evaluate the contribution of research to the Canadian beef cattle industry, the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is focused on defining research indicators that can be monitored on an ongoing basis. As part of that, a historical evaluation of past contributions was commissioned.
It is important to understand historical contributions in research to appreciate the value of continued investments, because research is a slow process that takes years to develop practical applications out of basic scientific concepts. In many cases, current advancements in production are derived from research done several years ago.
The recently completed historical analysis demonstrates that there have been significant gains from research investments over recent decades. Research has contributed to the industry's ability to compete internationally and stabilize beef demand domestically through management of input costs and adding value to finishing and processing sectors. To view a summary of findings from the historical evaluation of Canadian beef cattle research contributions, click here.