Volume 8 Issue 10 • February 11th, 2013

In This Issue ...


CETA update

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) was in Ottawa last week along with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht for the latest round of negotiations toward a Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This first round of 2013 follows negotiations late last year in Brussels, where negotiators appeared to pare down the number of unresolved subject areas but failed to produce a final agreement, leaving the most politically sensitive areas for both sides on the table.

Access for Canadian beef to the EU continues to be one of the very difficult areas that is unlikely to be resolved until the very end of the negotiations, which are now in their fourth year. Both Governments are still publicly stating their sentiments to complete an agreement as quickly as possible, following aconcerted effort to conclude the negotiations in 2012. The CCA will continue working closely with the negotiators and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast to ensure that if a CETA is reached, it will be one that Canadian beef cattle producers can support.

The CCA maintains that cattle producers' support for a CETA will depend on whether real and meaningful access is achieved. This means addressing the high EU tariffs on beef as well as technical issues that prevent Canadian meat processing facilities from being approved to export to the EU.

The CCA appreciates the strong position taken by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Ministers and the provinces to seek a meaningful deal for Canadian agriculture and particularly beef.


Sustainability in the global livestock industry sparks international collaboration

The Global Agenda for Action (GAA) in Support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development is a United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) led multi-stakeholder initiative to work towards more efficient use of natural resources by the global livestock industry. Global meat demand is expected to surge ahead by 70 per cent by 2050 due to a growing world population, particularly the middle class. The global livestock industry needs to ensure that they are able to meet this demand by supplying high quality protein while optimizing the use and sustainability of limited natural resources.

Thus far the GAA has held an inaugural meeting, followed by three focus area meetings and most recently a constituting meeting. The three focus area meetings were based around the following topics; 1) Closing the Efficiency Gap (Italy) 2) Towards Zero Discharge (South Korea) and 3) Restoring Value to Grasslands (Brazil).

CCA staff Fawn Jackson attended the Restoring Value to Grasslands meeting that was held in Brasilia, Brazil in May of 2012 and has recently returned from the constituting meeting that was held in Nairobi, Kenya earlier this month. The constituting meeting was hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the African Union.

While the sector provides high value food and many other economic and social functions, its resource use implications are large. The livestock sector is the world's largest user of agricultural land, directly through grazing and indirectly through the use of feed crops, and plays a role in climate variation, management of land and water, and biodiversity. The natural resources that sustain agriculture, such as land and water, are becoming scarcer and are increasingly threatened by degradation and climate change.

However, studies point to a large untapped potential to reduce the sector's environmental burden, and to enhance its role in climate change mitigation, water quality, nutrient recycling and biodiversity protection. Such potential can be mobilized by transferring and adapting existing and proven technology, and relies, among other things, on removing policy and institutional barriers to knowledge, services and markets.

Substantial further gains can be realized by developing proactive policy frameworks that align regulations and incentives to environmental outcomes. For extensive systems, such policies need to address access to land and water resources, and payment for environmental services such as carbon sequestration and biodiversity protection. For intensive systems, the efficient use and pricing of inputs (e.g. water, feed and energy) through transfer and adaptation of improved practices promise further environmental gains. Sizeable reductions in water use and pollution can be achieved by reconnecting specialized livestock production with crop agriculture.

The Canadian beef industry has much to share and gain from the partnership collaborations. Canada has some of the healthiest grazing land in the world that supports an enormous amount of ecosystem services from biodiversity to carbon sequestration to clean water. The Canadian beef industry is also one of the most efficient users of natural resources globally. However, Canada could make further strides through developing pro-active policy frameworks that align regulations and incentives to environmental outcomes. Furthermore there is a large research gap in recognizing the social and environmental importance of the global livestock industry. Collaborations on policy and research through sharing of information and idea exchange will be invaluable to the Canadian beef industry.

More can be learned about the GAA through the website http://www.livestockdialogue.org/


CYL participants benefit from learning opportunities at ILC USA

Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) participants attended the International Livestock Congress USA in Denver recently and took in a number of presentations supporting the event's theme, Feeding the World II - Meeting the Challenge.

The ability of the beef industry to meet the challenge of feeding a burgeoning global population was the topic du jour and presentations on topics such as sustainability and traceability scored high marks with CYL participant Amy Mayner.

Canfax Market Briefs

"It is inspirational to see so many speakers, producers and industry representatives with such a passion for improving the cattle industry both domestically and internationally. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to observe this firsthand," Mayner said.

During the action-packed trip six CYL participants and a representative from the Colorado Cattlemen's Association toured to Colorado State University and heard from a couple professors on the challenges facing Colorado's cattle industry as well as succession planning. Participants toured the Colorado State University farm and then headed to Weaver Ranch, known for its innovation in purebred genetics. The day ended with a discussion with Daren Williams, executive director, communications, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), about communicating with consumers.

Later in the week, the Canadian Consulate hosted a Young Producers Canada-U.S. Bilateral Roundtable with representation from organizations such as the NCBA's Young Producer Council, Colorado Cattlemen's, and Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association. Topics of discussion included trade, drought, succession planning, and sustainability etc. 

The CYL group was joined by Wyoming Department of Agriculture Director Jason Fearneyhough and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar for discussions centred around common challenges the industry faces and sharing ideas about how to overcome these obstacles. 

Later, the group was invited to the Canada-U.S. reception hosted by the Canadian consulate as a method to promote trade and cooperation between the nations. CYL graduate Virgil Lowe presented the findings from the bilateral roundtable to the group alongside YPC secretary Travis Hoffman. The evening concluded with a National Western Stock Show rodeo performance on Canada night, a spectacular event worth seeing.


Food safety research on mechanically tenderized beef

During the 2012 recall of beef from XL Foods Inc., there were five reported cases of illness thought to be associated with the consumption and/or handling of mechanically tenderized beef. Consequently, Health Canada is now undertaking a risk assessment to examine the safety of mechanically tenderized beef and to provide guidance around cooking temperatures.

To ensure the best information is available to Government and the Canadian industry, the CCA has instigated further food safety research. The research is focused on four aspects related to the safety of mechanically tenderized beef. Continue reading…


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Fawn Jackson, Jolene Noble, Mark Klassen
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Matthew French

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For more information, contact:

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

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