Volume 9 Issue 7 • June 17th, 2013

In This Issue ...


CCA trade update

Our effort to eliminate trade barriers for Canadian beef is continuously one of the busiest areas of activity for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and that has been especially true over recent weeks. CCA representatives have been taking turns at what has so far been a five week marathon negotiating session in Brussels to finalize the CETA, CCA President Martin Unrau travelled to Mexico to meet with the leaders of the Mexican cattle producers and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and then to China to accompany Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz on a trade mission, and of course the Federal Government published a list of U.S. commodities that could be targeted for retaliation in relation to the ongoing Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute. The list contains a wide range of items and most are from the states whose elected representatives support COOL.

CCA Vice President Dave Solverson was in Vancouver with Minister Ritz for the COOL announcement (see our news release here) but also the State Ag and Rural Leaders (SARL) conference, where a resolution on COOL was passed. SARL is comprised of agriculture and rural leaders of state and provincial legislative bodies from the U.S. and Canada. The resolution passed at SARL's 2013 Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit states: that the U.S. mandatory COOL law is jeopardizing the viability of U.S. packing and U.S. feeding infrastructure, placing local and state economies at risk; that COOL is undermining North American competitiveness; and that the Canadian Ministers of Agriculture and International Trade have stated their intention to apply retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports to Canada. 'Now therefore be it resolved that: "SARL encourages the United States Congress to implement a legislative resolution that will build markets for U.S. products at home and overseas rather than implement additional regulations and requirements for our meat producers and processors and be it further resolved that this resolution be submitted to the members of the house and senate agriculture committees, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other state and federal official as it deemed necessary."

The CCA appreciates this support and will continue to work closely with the Government of Canada and our allies in the U.S. to achieve a resolution that genuinely eliminates the discrimination caused by COOL.

The CCA's position remains that the only outcome that would bring the U.S. into compliance with the WTO is to amend the COOL legislation to eliminate the discrimination caused by having one label for beef produced from imported livestock and a different label for meat produced from U.S. born livestock. An amendment that either creates a single mandatory label for all meat processed in the U.S. or one that allows voluntary labelling would be acceptable.

In Brussels, there has been a very strong push by both the Canadian and European sides to finalize a CETA. While there is no deadline to conclude the negotiations, both sides have been aware that the G8 Leaders' Summit on June 17-18 would represent an opportunity for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet his counterparts from key EU member states and potentially hammer out final details himself. As this issue went to press, the issue of beef access had not yet been resolved and it was not clear if this and a handful of other non-agriculture issues would be agreed upon during the PM's mission, but we were hopeful that genuine efforts were being made to do so. The CCA has insisted through these negotiations that a CETA would need to produce meaningful access for Canadian beef in order for beef producers to support an agreement. We remain hopeful that this can be achieved.


Per capita beef consumption up in 2012

Per capita beef consumption was up 1.1 per cent in 2012 at 20 kilograms (kgs), pork was up a staggering 4 per cent to 16.8 kgs and chicken was down 0.8 per cent at 30 kgs. Chicken consumption peaked in 2007 at 31.6 kgs per capita and has been slightly lower every year since. Overall, total per capita meat consumption was up 1 per cent to 66.8 kgs in 2012. Over the last 40 years Canadians have consumed between 66 and 75 kgs of protein annually with a long term average of 69.7 kgs per capita. The most recent high was 73 kgs in 2007. Gains in all protein categories indicate a more confident consumer for the first time since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Beef consumption in 2012 was impacted by significantly lower exports and larger imports in the fourth quarter of 2012 following the E.coli recall in September. Despite domestic beef production being down 7 per cent, trade volumes resulted in larger net beef supplies. Total beef consumption in Canada was up 2 per cent to 954,740 tonnes with exports down 21 per cent and imports up 6 per cent for the year. The proportion of beef coming from imports increased to 27 per cent in 2012 from 26 per cent in 2011. This is back in line with the long term average and inching closer to the 2001/02 levels of 32 per cent.

Last summer the media made consumers aware of the drought conditions and the potential impact it would have on food prices. As such nominal retail beef prices increased 6.7 per cent in 2012, after being up 6 per cent in 2011 and 5.7 per cent in 2009. Overall prices in 2012 were 20 per cent higher than six short years ago in 2007.

Larger consumption combined with higher prices meant beef demand, a measure of consumer willingness to pay, was up a startling 6.6 per cent to 53.6 (1980=100). This is the highest demand index since 2007 and is the second year of higher demand after a modest 0.3 per cent increase in 2011.


Alberta Beef Producers Fly-In day

Canfax Market Briefs

One fire alarm, 15 votes, and one sudden illness didn't deter Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) representatives from a great day of lobbying in Ottawa.

ABP sent four cattle producers to Ottawa on June 4 to advance important issues for Albertan and Canadian cattle producers. ABP Chair Doug Sawyer of Pine Lake, Greg Bowie of Ponoka, Rob Somerville of Endiang and Bob Lowe of Nanton made up the latest group of cattle producers to come to Ottawa for the regularly recurring lobby days known as fly-ins.

The timing was excellent with mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and the Canada EU trade negotiations at critical stages. The groups pressed to get a list of potential retaliation targets published so U.S. lawmakers could begin to understand the effects this legislation could have in their districts. This list was subsequently published on June 7.

The Canada EU trade negotiations continue. Stories continue to surface about what is on offer or what is going to happen. The group made clear to Members of Parliament (MPs) that the negotiators know what will make a good deal for Canadian cattle producers. If a meaningful deal is reached Canadian cattle producers will be supportive of ratifying the deal. The group encouraged MPs to be patient with the process.

The labour shortage in the agricultural sector was discussed. There are positive future developments in demographics and demand for protein. The ability to respond to those developments will take the right combination of inputs and competitiveness in Canada. Labour is one of the limiting inputs; currently there is a shortage of more than 50,000 full time workers in the agriculture sector. The temporary foreign worker program helps address some of the problem but by its very design the program cannot fix the shortfall of permanent workers needed on cow-calf and feedlot operations and in processing plants. The group made these issues known to MPs and to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney's policy staff.

The day was not without its challenges. There were numerous votes that resulted in a couple of cancelled meetings. One MP came down ill and there was even a fire alarm in Centre Block. But the group persevered and kept the momentum moving in the right direction on these important issues.

The House will be on its summer break June 21 so the next big event will be the annual CCA fall Picnic on the Hill on September 24. This event brings producers from across the country to Ottawa to bring MPs up to date on industry issues and happenings over the summer.


Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef update

The fledgling Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) will hold its first meeting next month, and CCA Manager, Environmental Affairs, Fawn Jackson says so far interest in the invite-only event is high.

Industry stakeholders were invited to participate in the closed meeting to be held in Calgary, AB July 23-24, with an eye to earning their formal participation in the CRSB. Spearheaded by the CCA and modelled after the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, the CRSB aims to be a national, multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance existing and new sustainability efforts within the industry.

"Beef producers and all members of the value chain understand the need for sustainability," Jackson said. "By agreeing to participate in the CRSB, we can formalize that common vision among stakeholders and encourage forward-thinking and productive dialogue that will continue to push sustainability efforts forward."

The CRSB will lead a national forum dedicated to connecting a network of local, regional and national leaders in the beef industry with a common vision and mission. The CRSB gives stakeholders an equal opportunity through equal seats at the Roundtable.

Through leadership, science, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration continuous improvement of sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain will be achieved and recognized.

Participants requiring more information can contact Jackson at jacksonf@cattle.ca


CCA Town Hall update

The CCA is hosting three town hall meetings this summer, with two happening in Alberta next week. The first takes place on Tuesday, June 25 in Lethbridge at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club Grandstand from 6:30-10:30 pm. The second takes place the next day in Westlock at the Hazel Bluff Community Hall from 6:00-10:00 pm. A complimentary meal will be served prior to the town hall presentation events, which are being held in conjunction with the Alberta Beef Producers. The third town hall is part of the CCA semi-annual and will take place in London, Ontario, on August 14 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. This event will take place at the Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre in London, Ontario, and is being held in conjunction with the Ontario Cattlemen's Association.

The town hall meetings, held in partnership with the CCA's provincial member associations, provide an excellent opportunity for producers and industry stakeholders to network with their provincial and national organizations, ask questions, connect with CCA executive and managers and hear the latest updates on the many initiatives the CCA is involved in on behalf of Canada's beef cattle producers.

The town hall will provide updates on current foreign trade issues such as Country of Origin Labeling, the global outlook on beef production and provide the latest market analysis from Canfax. There will also be discussion on traceability, market access and Growing Forward 2. Updates will be provided on the Beef InfoXchange System and the Beef Cattle Research Council. Sponsorship from Farm Credit Canada makes the CCA Town Hall meetings possible.

Town hall meetings are free to attend but participants are required RSVP online at www.cattle.ca/townhall or by calling 403-275-8558 as space is limited.


CYL announces mentor-mentee pairings

The Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) program is pleased to announce the mentor-mentee list for the 2013-14 program year. As always, the roll call reads like an A-list of the beef cattle industry's who's-who. Biographies of CYL 2013-14 program mentees are available here: www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com. Mentor bios are coming soon.


TESA application deadline looms

July 1 is the deadline for applications for the provincial Environmental Stewardship Awards. Producers who receive the environmental stewardship award from their provincial association are eligible to compete for The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA), the CCA's national award for cattle producers who go above and beyond standard industry conservation practices.

Awarded annually since 1996, TESA acknowledges those producers whose sustainability-driven management practices set a positive example for fellow producers and the general public. TESA also recognizes that producers across Canada undertake important and innovative stewardship initiatives every day. Application forms can be found here: http://www.cattle.ca/tesa-how-to-nominate


Food Aid Day event a success

As reported in the last issue of Action News, the Ottawa Food Bank hosted its annual Food Aid Day event on May 31. Food Aid Day raises funds to assist with the distribution of ground beef to Ottawa families, food banks and shelters. The event, held at Ottawa City Hall and The National Headquarters Complex for the Agriculture Portfolio, raised $160,010 in support of the program. A total of 1,300 burgers were sold, the radiothon raised $9,400 and there was an anonymous donation of $50,000. The CCA encourages food banks across the country to adopt a similar program, which adds nutritious protein to the diets of families in need while supporting the local farming community.


Composting a viable method for controlled disposal of SRM

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is believed to be caused by misfolded prion proteins. On the rare occasion of an infected animal, the prions will be present in particular tissues, known as specified risk materials (SRM), of the animal. Proper disposal of carcasses and SRM is important to control the spread of BSE and maintain Canada's controlled BSE status with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

A recently-completed research project, funded by the National Check-off and Canada's Beef Science Cluster, worked to determine whether composting can cost-effectively destroy prions. This could be very helpful in areas of Canada where deadstock pickup services or Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) -approved landfills are not available. The research found that composting can reduce the very rare chance of BSE infection by at least 90 per cent, and therefore is a viable method for the controlled disposal of SRM in Canada.

To learn more about this research, view the BCRC fact sheet: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/can-composting-destroy-bse-prions-49


CCA Action News

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

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The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for Canada's beef cattle industry representing 68,500 beef farms and feedlots.

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

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Phone: 613.233.9375   Fax: 613.233.2860