Volume 8 Issue 7 • January 2nd, 2013

In This Issue ...


CCA ends 2012 on a lobbying high note

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) is recognized regularly for its lobbying efforts on behalf of Canada's 83,000 beef cattle producers, and 2012 proved no different. The latest recognition came in November, when the CCA ranked third on the Maclean's magazine list of "the 10 lobby groups with the most contact with federal officials."

According to Maclean's, the CCA filed 113 communications reports with the Federal lobbyist registry, from January to September 2012, placing it behind only the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (178 reports) and the Canadian Bankers Association (131 reports).

Also on the list were the Mining Association of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada, World Society for the Protection of Animals Canada, Chicken Farmers of Canada, General Motors of Canada Ltd. and Canadian National Railway.

The sheer volume of reports filed reflects the steady pace at the CCA and the high degree of devotion from its small staff working the Ottawa beat and regular fly-ins by producers and Calgary staff.  On top of the lobbying reports tracked by Ottawa, CCA was also busy maintaining relations with foreign embassies in Ottawa and with officials abroad, including those in Brussels related to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiation with the European Union, in Washington D.C. and Geneva related to the World Trade Organization challenge to the U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) rule. 

Earlier in 2012, the CCA's Director of Government and International Relations John Masswohl was named one of The Hill Times top 100 lobbyists for his ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of Canadian beef cattle producers. In 2010 Masswohl was named one of Embassy Magazine's top 60 Foreign Policy influencers. Masswohl is quick to acknowledge that this recognition flows from the constructive policies passed by the CCA board of directors that CCA staff is tasked with communicating.

The CCA looks forward to continuing its lobbying work in 2013. Top issues of concern include: details of Growing Forward 2 including Business Risk Management, innovation and market access programs, and labour availability. Competitiveness issues include ethanol policy, factors affecting land use and responding to issues as they arise. Issues management was a big part of 2012 (lean finely textured beef, E. coli) and 2013 will begin with CCA staff looking ahead and working on strategic issues.


Canfax's top market factors to watch for in 2013

Agricultural commodity markets have been extremely strong the last few years, and 2012 saw record high fed cattle prices, feeder cattle prices, cull cow prices, as well as feed grain prices. Canfax expects cattle prices to be stronger in 2013 with the following factors to watch:

  1. Macro Economy and the Dollar – Much of the discussion on price outlooks are based on tighter cattle supplies, and relatively steady demand. Significant risks exist in regard the global macro economy, and commodity markets. Any major changes in the U.S. economy or 'Fiscal Cliff' discussions, the European economy, or a major Asian economy such as China or Japan could shock the market. There are certainly going to be some bumps in the market in 2013, whether it be a major market slump, or just demand pressure that sets a ceiling on beef prices.

  2. The U.S. needs rain and grain. Moisture is required in the majority of the U.S. to ensure adequate grain and grass and forage supplies are produced to maintain current cattle numbers, otherwise forced cattle marketing may limit some of the North American price potential.

  3. Heifer retention is a wild card. If weather permits and feed supplies are ample in some regions, producers may retain more heifer calves than the modest number anticipated; further reducing fed production in the near term.

  4. Carcass weights are expected to be steady but could fluctuate up or down by five lbs depending on weather this winter.

  5. Cow slaughter could decline further despite strong trim prices encouraging marketings if producers choose to retain more animals within the herd.

  6. If market access to Japan improves (moves to 30-months from under-21-months) exports are expected to increase.

  7. A lingering question is how aggressive the new JBS management at Establishment 38 is going to be in the fed cattle market and towards exports. While expected to be more aggressive in export markets, strong domestic demand is also expected to draw product. Furthermore the JBS Hyrum plant is a consistent buyer of Canadian cattle. How competitive these two plants will be or if one plant will reduce production in the current supply situation is still a question.

CCA takes semi-annual on the road again

Canfax Market Briefs

After three years in Calgary, the CCA is taking its national convention and semi-annual meeting on the road again. The CCA Executive has decided to return to the traditional schedule of bringing the convention to a different province each year. The decision was reached following successful three year collaboration with the International Livestock Congress (ILC) in Calgary, AB. Other changes include moving to a four-day schedule from a five-day schedule in recognition of producers' valuable time and shifting entertainment activities to the final day. The CCA's 2013 semi-annual meeting and convention will be held in Ontario and in Prince Edward Island the following year.

The convention is set to take place in London, ON from August 13 - 16, 2013 and will be hosted by the Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA). CCA committee meetings will take place August 13 and 14, followed by an afternoon CCA Town Hall event and an evening BBQ and auction in support of 4-H. August 15th will be set aside for the CCA Board of Directors meeting followed the next day by local entertainment and networking opportunities.

The convention is a great opportunity to attend CCA committee meetings, listen to guest speakers, and attend entertaining activities including an auction to raise money in support of 4-H and provides ample networking opportunities. The convention is also home to the CCA's The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA), an annual national award which recognizes sustainability and environmental excellence within the cattle industry.

The ILC will continue to operate on its own under the support of the CCA and will be hosting its next congress Wednesday July 10, 2013 at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino in Calgary.

The CCA is looking forward to both of these events and encourages cattle producers and industry stakeholders to attend and learn more about the industry. Of course, the CCA's 2013 annual meeting will be held in Ottawa again this year, running March 5 – 8, 2013 at the National Hotel and Suites Ottawa.


Equine Code of Practice public comment period underway; producers urged to participate

The public comment period for the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines is open until February 14, 2013.  The Equine Code is being renewed in a similar process to the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle.  The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) process followed by both industries allows for a two month public comment period toward the end of the process.  This allows the public to see and comment on what the drafting committee has created.  The drafting committee will then consider those public comments ahead of publication of the final code.
Many cattle producers are also horse, mule or donkey owners and therefore the Equine code will be of interest to them. Producers can participate in the public comment process at: http://www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/equine.  One area that would be of interest to producers that let their horses range will be a proposed requirement that: "Horses on pasture and in stables must be observed at least once a day for health and well-being."  Another area of concern may be a proposed requirement that: "Dental care procedures must only be performed by a veterinarian or competent individual working under direct veterinary supervision."

The Equine Code applies to all kinds of horses, mules and donkeys kept in Canada, including pleasure, working, competing and feedlot animals. This is a quick heads up to producers to take a more in-depth look to see if any new requirements or other content will have an impact on their operations.  Producers should take the opportunity to ensure the drafting committee considers the impacts of the proposed code on their operation and operations like theirs.

This will be a good warm up for the Beef Code public comment period, which is expected to begin in early January.  Watch upcoming issues of Action News for more information on that.


Western Canadian beef and forage research stakeholder consultation

Andrea Brocklebank (Research Manager) and Reynold Bergen (Science Director) represented the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) at a Research Stakeholder Consultation hosted by the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association in Regina in late November. This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss and prioritize Western Canada's beef and forage research issues. More than 20 other participants representing the Alberta Beef Producers, Manitoba Beef Producers, Saskatchewan Forage Council, the Saskatchewan Forage Network, Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) also attended the meeting.
Forage research was a shared concern for all of the groups in attendance. The lack of forage breeders is particularly acute and this situation will become even more critical shortly, as several researchers are expected to retire within the next few years.
Bringing new forage breeders into the system before our remaining breeders retire will allow them to be mentored, trained and gain from the valuable experience these experts have gained from working closely with the industry. However, there is no clear plan in place to identify and hire new forage researchers. The shortage of forage researchers in general and forage breeders in particular was also clearly highlighted in the National Beef Research Strategy developed by the BCRC earlier this year through a Beef Value Chain Roundtable initiative.
Current restrictions on re-filling vacant federal research positions are not expected to relax for the next few years. Not-for-profit industry groups do not have the financial resources to fill this role on their own, so a collaborative approach involving university research programs supported by industry, federal, and provincial government funding needs to be explored. Saskatchewan's beef industry has a long history of supporting similar initiatives, including Beef Chair positions in the Department of Animal Science, the Western Veterinary College, and most recently the Beef Cattle Teaching and Research Unit.
There was consensus that industry and government need to address these forage research capacity needs in the very near future. The BCRC looks forward to participating in the development of new forage research capacity through the Beef Science Cluster program. Reinvigorated forage research expertise will play an important role in future Beef Science Cluster research activities, and will be critically important in ensuring that Canada's beef industry has access to higher yielding forages with optimal feed values.


Researching healthy fats in beef: CLA and Omega-3

With consumers' growing interest in "healthy fats" and "bad fats," the beef industry has paid more attention to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acid levels in beef.  Currently, there is no official health claim for CLA in Canada.  Because a nutrient content claim for omega-3 requires at least 300mg per 75g serving of beef, the total omega-3 content of Canadian beef would have to increase by five to eight times to reach the levels required for a nutrient content claim.
Researchers have examined various feeding strategies to determine whether it's possible to increase levels of CLA and omega-3's in beef to consistently meet labeling requirements in a cost-effective manner without negative side-effects.  Feeding oilseeds, rumen pH buffers, and fishmeal have had little success.  Under the Beef Science Cluster, a study is currently underway to identify breed and forage combinations that may increase CLA and omega-3 levels in beef.  Read more…


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Brian Perillat, Ryder Lee, Reynold Bergen, Tracy Sakatch
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Matthew French

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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.

Head office:
Ste. 310, 6715 8th Street NE, Calgary, AB   T2E 7H7
Phone: 403.275.8558   Fax: 403.274.5686

Ottawa office:
1207, 350 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON   K1R 7S8
Phone: 613.233.9375   Fax: 613.233.2860