Volume 7 Issue 5 •June 18, 2012

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In This Issue ...


CCA President Martin Unrau discusses issues with producers

Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) President Martin Unrau attended a number of provincial association member meetings recently, including the 2012 Alberta Beef Producers Semi-Annual meeting in Edmonton last week. As he travels through the provinces talking to producers and listening to their concerns, Unrau is more convinced than ever of the value of the work that the CCA does on behalf of Canada's beef cattle producers.

"Overall, the cattle industry is in a positive position," commented Unrau. "One of the big tasks for the CCA is to ensure that the new Growing Forward 2 contains the programs that producers need to move forward, and for the future. Of course the bigger task is improving access in foreign markets."

In B.C., concerns were voiced about the disaster programs for the future. Producers in Alberta also had questions about the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) programming that will come into effect on March 31, 2013. The reality is that the cuts in Federal Budget 2012 will mean cuts to some programming. The CCA is looking at where the cuts it finds acceptable could take place and how best to deal with the resulting shortfalls in some areas and address them in a positive manner.

Concern over the pending changes to the community pasture program was evident at the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) Annual General Meeting in late May. The federal government recently announced that pastures will be transitioned out of federal management over a six year period.

Producers want the land to be maintained as designated for livestock grazing, as well as for the demonstrated economic and environmental benefits of the pastures. The group agreed to press government to assure that the pasture is maintained as designated land for livestock and specifically for grazing use. The CCA has already brought concerns to the government regarding the administration of the land in the community pastures, and the need to preserve their use for grazing cattle. The CCA has encouraged provincial members to push hard with the provinces on this issue.

The impact of the diminished Canadian herd on the processing infrastructure was a huge concern at the Fédération des producteurs de bovins du Québec (FPBQ) Annual Meeting in Sainte-Foy, Quebec. Since then, the Levinoff-Colbex beef plant has indeed closed. The closure is negative for Quebec, Eastern Canada and likely all of Canada, said Unrau. The CCA is looking forward to the plant potentially reopening and being part of the slaughter and processing infrastructure in Canada.

Unrau also took the opportunity to do a bit of myth-busting around how the CCA is funded. It is a common misperception amongst producers that the CCA receives funding from the National Check-off. This is not true. All of the work done by the CCA is paid for by contributions from the eight provincial cattle association members. The provincial cattle associations generate their revenues from provincial checkoff collected on marketings in their provinces.

More than half of CCA's budget is related to achieving market access for Canadian beef. For example, the CCA has incurred more than $2 million in expenses over the past five years on the U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) issue in advocacy in the U.S. and legal expenses. Meantime, the COOL issue costs our industry well over $100 million annually. The CCA is not going to back down on this issue until it is resolved – and hopefully that will be soon. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body is expected to deliver its ruling on June 29 regarding the U.S. appeal of the November 2011 WTO Dispute Panel ruling, which ruled in favour of Canada.


CCA kicks off June grilling steaks and burgers

The first weekend in June was a busy one for the CCA, having supported two major beef-centric events in Ottawa and Edmonton as a way of giving back to the community and showing appreciation for a job well done.

steaks for soldiers

Food Aid 2012 raised a record $167,407 for the Ottawa Food Bank, in part by selling about 2,000 hamburgers, while the Steaks for Soldiers campaign at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton treated 600 base personnel and their families to a thick and delicious New York medallion steak at a special Family Day Welcome Home event.

The CCA is a long-time supporter of both events. The Ottawa Food Bank's Food Aid program raises money to purchase cull cows from Ottawa-area sale barns. The cull animals are processed locally into ground beef, which is frozen and distributed to the food bank's member agencies. The Steaks for Soldiers campaign enables Canadian beef producers to express their ongoing gratitude for the service of the Canadian troops by treating them to a great steak dinner.

Both events were a success. The 2012 Food Aid fundraising total surpassed last year's total by about $50,000. Funds are raised through selling hamburgers at a barbecue event, a radiothon and donations. The June 1 event saw 1,200-1,300 burgers sold at Ottawa City Hall and about 750 at Agriculture Canada. The radiothon brought in approximately $30,000 in donor phone calls, also a record amount, and the event received an anonymous donation of $50,000. A special tip of the hat goes to the Canadian Meat Council for covering the cost of the beef for the barbeque.

steaks for soldiers

In Edmonton, the June 3 Steaks for Soldiers event was held in appreciation of the Bravo Company, the last infantry unit on the ground in Kandahar during a major drawdown operation. Steaks for Soldiers frontman Harvey Dann, along with representatives from the CCA, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Cattle Feeders, Canada Beef Inc., Cargill and Alberta cattlemen helped serve an estimated 1,600 New York medallions to the troops at CFB Edmonton. The event was the second Steaks for Soldiers at CFB Edmonton, and W.H. Fletcher, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Officer presented Dann and the CCA with a framed artwork in appreciation of the effort. The artwork is now hanging in a prominent spot in the CCA Calgary office.


Canfax Cattle Market Forum

Canfax Market Briefs

Canfax, a trusted source of Canadian cattle market information for more than 40 years, is taking its expertise to a new level. The market analysis division of the CCA is hosting the Canfax Cattle Market Forum, an annual event that will provide perspective on the global factors influencing the Canadian cattle market, along with the cattle market information producers have come to rely on from Canfax.

To be held in Calgary November 13 -14, the first annual Canfax Cattle Market Forum will combine Canadian cattle market information with global perspective on market-related topics including currency markets, commodity fund investors, and beef and competing meat trends. Canfax Manager Brian Perillat said the conference is an opportunity for Canfax to expand and strengthen the services provided to its members and the industry.

"The Canfax Cattle Market Forum will provide a market outlook that goes beyond providing market information specific to cattle producers and direct stakeholders, but also provide perspective to the entire beef supply chain of the opportunities and challenges we all face together," he said.

The confluence of market information and world class expertise will assist producers and industry stakeholders in the management of their business and long-term strategic planning, he said.

Canfax creates, provides, and tracks key Canadian cattle market information. The Canfax Cattle Market Forum is open to Canfax members as well as non-members.

Click here for more information.


And the Survey Says….

The results from Canada's 2010-11 Beef Carcass Audit are in. Canada's first carcass audit was done in 1995. It identified a number of areas in which carcass quality could be improved through the efforts of producers. These results formed the basis of the Quality Starts Here program. A follow-up audit was done in 1999 to track progress in overcoming problems identified in the first audit and targeted in Quality Starts Here communication materials. The original plan was to redo these audits on a five year basis, but this good intention was temporarily derailed as Canada's beef industry focused on BSE-related issues. An updated Beef Carcass Audit was identified as a high priority under the Beef Science Cluster. A factsheet on the latest audit results is available here.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Reynold Bergen, Brian Perillat, Mark Klassen
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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