Volume 9 Issue 2 • April 8th, 2013

In This Issue ...


CCA trade updates

The negotiations to reach a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) are now down to the last few difficult issues, including access for Canadian beef into the EU.

Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) representatives have been on hand at all of the negotiating sessions that have taken place in Ottawa and Brussels since this final phase began last fall. The purpose of the CCA's participation is to ensure that the negotiators have ready access to any technical information they might require and also to leave no doubt as to the importance of this negotiation to the Canadian beef sector.

It does appear at this point that our objective of achieving unlimited beef access in the CETA will not be accomplished. Instead, CCA is insisting that a duty-free quota will be created that is large enough to encourage Canadian producers to produce cattle according to the EU hormone and beta-agonist free protocol. The quota also needs to be large enough for the larger Canadian packers to invest in developing the EU market.

Another essential component of an agreement will be a commitment by the EU to recognize the Canadian federal meat processing system as equivalent to the EU. Equivalence means that although Canada's procedures may be different from those in the EU, the outcome of safe food is achieved and Canadian firms operating under the Canadian system will be authorized to export to the EU. Without achieving this outcome, the size of the quota is meaningless and the CCA would not be able to support a CETA.

As of Easter weekend, it is fair to summarize the CETA negotiations as close to being concluded, but with some very difficult and important issues left to resolve for the Canadian beef sector. The CCA is optimistic that these issues will be resolved, but to date they have not been. The CCA will continue to advise the negotiators and political decision makers as to what it will take for Canadian producers to support an eventual agreement.

Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its proposed amendment to the Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) regulations, CCA has been working with Canadian officials and U.S. allies to respond. The essence of our response continues to be that the USDA proposal does not bring the U.S. into compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations and in fact, increases the level of discrimination and cost to livestock producers in Canada (as well as Mexico). This is a path toward either Canada implementing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports or the U.S. paying compensation to Canada.

Canfax Market Briefs

The CCA is delivering this response on several fronts. Firstly, the CCA will be making a written submission to the USDA by the deadline of April 11. Second, CCA has responded to innumerable media inquiries to ensure that the U.S. audience understands that this issue is escalating. Third, CCA is undertaking direct advocacy with key decision makers in Washington, D.C. Finally, CCA has been in close collaboration with its U.S. allies and Mexican counterparts and they too are undertaking their direct communication activities with U.S. decision makers.

It must be understood that whether or not the USDA implements its proposed rule, the U.S. will not be in compliance with the WTO by the May 23 deadline. The only way the U.S. can be in compliance with the WTO is to amend the COOL legislation to allow either a single mandatory label for all meat produced in the U.S. or to allow for voluntary labelling. Until this outcome is achieved, the CCA will continue to work with its allies in the U.S. and with the Government of Canada to pursue retaliatory or compensation options through the WTO.

However, if the USDA does implement the proposed regulatory amendment prior to May 23, CCA's expectation is that the U.S. would inform the WTO that they have come into compliance. Faced with conflicting notifications from Canada (and likely also Mexico), the normal WTO practice would be to undertake a 'Compliance Panel'. A Compliance Panel would normally be conducted by the same panel members that heard the original dispute if they remain available and could be expected to take in the neighbourhood of six to nine months. If the Compliance Panel agrees that the U.S. is not in compliance, Canada and Mexico would seek authority to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.

In the meantime, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast have clearly expressed their disappointment with the U.S. approach and communicated their intention to implement retaliatory options should that become necessary. They are delivering this message directly to U.S. legislators in the hope that the U.S. Congress might take action to resolve the dispute when it takes up the task of writing a new Farm Bill. If a new Farm Bill should eventually pass without resolving the COOL dispute, then the likelihood of Canada and Mexico imposing retaliation on U.S. exports is very high. Alternatively, the U.S. could choose to buy its way out of retaliation by compensating the Government of Canada.


Cattlemen's Young Leaders program update

The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) recently announced its commitment to support the next step in the development of the Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) program over the next three years. The CCA plans to enhance the existing youth mentorship program to encompass training opportunities for past, present and future participants in the areas of governance, business skill development, succession and farm planning. CYL intends to work closely with Canada Beef Inc., CYL partners, the Agriculture More Than Ever campaign and retailers to optimize utilization of the program's pro-industry advocates in reaching consumers.

Additionally, Farm Credit Canada's (FCC) is now a Gold Partner of the CYL program.  This level of sponsorship will allow the CYL program to continue providing Canada's best and brightest young beef enthusiasts with mentorship, training, networking and advocacy opportunities.

The CYL program has experienced great success since being launched in 2010. It has graduated 36 mentees and received countless hours of invaluable time and expertise from 39 mentors. The CYL program typically receives about 50 applications per year and in 2013 that number rose to 70. Last month, 16 mentorship recipients were announced for the 2013-14 program year, set to begin in June.

The CYL program provides industry-specific training and mentorship to assist the industry into the future. The program combines formal and informal opportunities to learn from existing beef cattle industry leaders, and other youth organizations undertaking mentorship opportunities. Young producers between the ages of 18 and 35 years participate in CCA committees, conferences and direct mentoring with selected cattle industry individuals and professionals to develop expertise and business skills.  Funding for the CYL program is made available through its Foundation Partners: UFA Co-operative Ltd., ALMA, Cargill and the CCA. FCC is a Gold Level Partner & MNP is also a proud supporter of the program along with the Cattlemen's Magazine who continues to keep the industry up to date on the latest CYL news. For more information on CYL, visit www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com.


Preventing ruminal acidosis in cattle

Acidosis refers to a lower than normal pH in the rumen. It is a growth performance, health and welfare concern caused by highly fermentable feed being digested too quickly, and typically seen when cattle are moved from a predominantly forage-based to grain-based diet. Cattle that engorge on forages are also at risk.

Acidosis can cause diarrhea, reduced feed intake, and depressed behavior. Once an animal recovers, it is likely to be feed deprived, leading it to overeat and be susceptible to more severe acidosis. Severe acidosis can lead to rumen ulcers, which allow bacteria into the blood stream causing further health problems, and death. Continue reading and watch video…


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Jill Harvie, 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 CCA is the national voice for Canada's beef cattle industry representing 63,500 beef farms.

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