Volume 9 Issue 4 • May 6th, 2013

In This Issue ...


CCA submits request for approval of beef irradiation to Health Canada

Now that the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) has submitted the necessary paperwork requested by Health Canada to restart the process for approval of beef irradiation in Canada, the waiting begins. The CCA expects it would take a minimum of a year for irradiation to be approved following the submission of the documents to Health Canada on Friday, marking the latest step in an ongoing effort spanning 15 years to have the irradiation of beef approved in Canada.

Irradiation is an effective technology already approved for other foods in Canada and used as a normal course of business in 50 countries around the world to improve food safety for consumers. It is especially effective at reducing the risk of E.coli O157:H7 in ground beef. The CCA believes Canadian consumers interested in further reducing the potential for food borne illness from bacteria like E.coli O157:H7 should have the option to purchase irradiated beef, a choice U.S. consumers have enjoyed since 2000.

The safety of irradiated foods has been endorsed by many groups including the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The path toward approval of beef irradiation in Canada began in 1998 with the CCA's submission of the original petition. The CCA's ongoing efforts between then and now to amend the regulation reflects the association's steadfast commitment to enhancing food safety and to providing Canadians the choice to purchase beef treated with this proven intervention. Click here for the CCA's news release.


Temporary Foreign Worker program changes concern CCA

Last week, the Government of Canada announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program in reaction to a few high profile incidents in the corporate world that have added to misperceptions surrounding this program.

The CCA is concerned about the impact the changes will have on the beef cattle industry and particularly on the 63,500 farms and feedlots making a living producing high quality Canadian beef.

The Canadian beef industry is responsible for $33 billion worth of economic activity in Canada. The TFW program is an essential tool that helps the beef sector manage serious and chronic agriculture labour shortages on farms and in meat processing facilities. Simply put, few Canadian-born workers aspire to work in livestock production and meat processing jobs, particularly due to the tendency of such positions being in remote or rural locations. In addition, many under-employed persons do not have livestock qualifications nor are they interested in re-locating to take on these occupations.

Within agriculture there is widespread recognition that traditional Canadian sources for agriculture labour are proving inadequate. A Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council Labour Market Information on Recruitment and Retention Report revealed that Canada's primary agricultural producers will need an additional 50,000 non-seasonal and 38,000 seasonal workers.

Cattle producers and meat processors need the TFW program in order to continue creating wealth in Canada. Jobs in this sector are physically demanding and require specific qualifications that include experience in handling expensive machinery and working with livestock.

The CCA urges the Government of Canada to continue working to improve the TFW program by implementing the recommendations of the national agri-food Labour Task Force.These recommendations would improve the administration of the existing program and address constraints that hinder legitimate use of the program in the agriculture and agri-food sector.


CCA presents views on habitat conservation to Standing Committee on Environment

Canfax Market Briefs

CCA Manager, Environmental Affairs, Fawn Jackson, and Environment Committee Vice Chair, Bob Lowe, appeared before the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in Calgary recently to provide the cattle producer's perspective on habitat conservation.

The CCA was invited to provide information about conservation efforts in light of the Committee's study on Habitat Conservation in Canada, which involves finding 'ways in which the National Conservation Plan can complement and enhance current habitat conservation efforts.'

In his comments to the committee, Lowe made the point that ranchers like himself are in a unique position when it comes to business and the environment. "Ranchers hold the front line on North America's threatened and disappearing grasslands. Grasslands sequester as much carbon as forests, play a key role in storing and filtering water and are the home to an abundance of species at risk. Needless to say we have an important role to play," he said.

Ranchers have been and will continue to be involved in habitat conservation as it is the nature of their business, Lowe said. In addition to the wealth of conservation knowledge gained from years of experience - knowledge that is passed from generation to generation – ranchers continue to partner with environmentally-oriented organizations to share knowledge and gain new insights.

There are many opportunities for ranchers and government to collaborate through a stewardship approach to reach conservation goals. Lowe encouraged the Government of Canada to take a made-in-Canada stewardship approach to protecting species at risk and avoid the confrontational atmosphere south of the border.

"The Canadian beef industry encourages the government to do everything possible to implement an act that is truly based on the stewardship approach and respects private landowner rights as we will be able to achieve much greater success through collaborative stewardship than cumbersome regulation," he said of the Species At Risk Act.

Lowe also encouraged improved relationships between agriculture and conservation to help optimize the output of both, stronger ties between Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and a regulatory environment that supports a stewardship approach.


CYL in Saskatchewan to discuss mentorship and leadership development

Representatives from the Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) program, along with the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association and industry partners, were on hand in Regina last week as Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced Growing Forward 2 funding for a youth mentorship and leadership development program in that province.

Modelled after the CYL program, the CCA's youth mentorship program, Saskatchewan's new Youth Leadership and Mentorship Program is the first of its kind at the provincial level.

Following the announcement, at a special lunch event with CYL representatives, Minister Stewart also announced $5,000 in sponsorship for the CYL Fall Forum to be held at the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina.

Industry representatives took the opportunity to speak to Minister Stewart about the importance of CYL and how industry can connect with CYL participants. CYL participants and mentors introduced themselves to the minister and talked about their experience with the CYL program, the importance of a national program and the future of CYL.


Canadian Beef Cattle On-Farm Biosecurity Standard available on CCA website

The Canadian Beef Cattle On-Farm Biosecurity Standard is now available on the CCA website. The Standard, along with the implementation manual and supporting fact sheets can be found here: http://bit.ly/ZRfqc3 or here: http://www.cattle.ca/leading-edge-initiatives-traceability. English and French versions are posted.

The Canadian Beef Cattle On-Farm Biosecurity Standard provides practical and effective on-farm biosecurity practices that, when properly applied and followed, can reduce the risk of impact of endemic diseases and reduce or prevent the risk of a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) outbreak in the Canadian herd.

The Standard is a tool that provides broad risk management guidelines that are practical and science-based and specific to the beef cattle industry. Its focus is on practices and procedures that are of a low-cost to the producer to implement. The general practices and guidelines of the Standard are voluntary.

The Standard is built on four basic principles of on-farm risk reduction: managing and minimizing animal movement risks; managing the movement of people, vehicles, equipment and tools; managing animal health practices; and the biosecurity knowledge/training of personnel on the operation's biosecurity plan. Each principle has target outcomes that can be achieved in a variety of ways through additional supportive information. Quick reference fact sheets supporting these principles are also available online.


Focus on Productivity - a Fact Sheet sponsored by Merck Animal Health.

The feedlot and packing sectors have been very successful at driving productivity and efficiency gains through larger carcass weights, average daily gains, feed to gain ratios and yield in order to decrease per unit costs and maximize profits.

Are things really so different for the cow/calf sector? Over the last 10 years producers have looked at every aspect of their cost structure and are saying there are no more costs that can be cut. Let's look at two producers: one with a low cost winter feeding program and total cash costs of $575/cow; the other with cash costs of $625/cow. A lower reproductive efficiency, higher death loss and lower weaning weight mean that the low cash cost producer actually has a higher per unit cost of production (COP) at $1.30/lb compared to the high cost and high productivity producer of $1.20/lb.

By focusing solely on cash costs a cow/calf operation can miss productivity gains that ultimately impact the bottom line and profitability of the operation. Go to http://canfax.ca/FactSheets.aspx for the full article.


Pain mitigation: latest video in Beef Research School series

Branding, dehorning and castration are painful, but pain is very difficult to measure in beef cattle. This also makes it difficult to know whether anesthetic or analgesic pain control drugs are effective in cattle. In prey species, displaying weakness attracts predators so cattle have evolved to mask signs of pain. While they may be a stoic animal, there's no doubt cattle experience varying degrees of discomfort during some routine management practices. The age of the animal, technique of procedure used, and use of pain medication all have an impact on pain. Read more and watch video…


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Fawn Jackson, Terry Grajczyk, Ryder Lee, John Masswohl, Mark Klassen, Brenna Grant, Tracy Sakatch
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Matthew French

To sign up for CCA's “Action News:”
Visit www.cattle.ca and click on “Sign-up for Action News.”

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 Canada's beef cattle industry, representing 63,500 beef farms.

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