Volume 9 Issue 8 • July 2nd, 2013

In This Issue ...


Cargill takes proactive step at High River facility

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) welcomed a move by Cargill to bring in water filtration systems to help the Cargill beef processing facility in High River return to operations. The facility reduced and then ceased processing beef last week due to a lack of fresh water supply following the floods in Southern Alberta that devastated High River. The water filtration system may help the company produce the potable water it needs to resume operations.

The plant processes about 40 per cent of Western Canadian capacity and employs about 2,000 people. Returning the facility to full operations as quickly as possible is the best way to minimize the impact of the closure on Cargill staff as well as producers with market-ready cattle. Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson were at the plant Thursday to announce that the Government of Alberta has provided the pump and irrigation piping to bring the filtration systems on-line. The province said it will also work with Cargill to expedite all necessary approvals in an effort to get the plant back up and running. This effort runs parallel to ongoing work to restore water service to the Town of High River, where water and sewer treatment facilities are operational on a limited basis.

There is no indication when the plant may resume processing beef. The potential market impacts from Cargill High River not having access to fresh water will depend on a number of factors. If closed less than 10 days, impacts would be expected to be minimal as feedlots are very current right now. This may also depend on the ability of other plants to ramp up production by adding an extra day a week.

If closed longer, the basis will widen, potentially back to what was seen last October when the Lakeside plant was temporarily closed. The longer the plant is closed, alternatives will need to be looked at south of the border, particularly as feedlots make efforts to stay current.  Disruptions for cattle on specific feeding programs, and as cattle are fed to heavier weights will add costs to the feedlots in addition to the lower prices. This could potentially pressure feeder prices, but July is one of the slowest months for feeder trade. Cows could also see pressure, but July is also a slow month for marketing cows.

The CCA is in regular contact with Cargill and is working in support of their activities to normalize their operations as quickly as possible.


CCA Town Hall Meetings pull in producers

The CCA in partnership with Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) held two Town Hall Meetings in Alberta last week with both events receiving a great turnout. Around 80 producers and industry stakeholders attended the Lethbridge meeting on June 25 and the next day in Westlock around 120 attendees packed the room at the Hazel Bluff Community Hall making it the second largest turnout to date.

The meetings offered attendants the opportunity to ask questions and network 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.

CCA representatives who were in attendance at the events said the meetings produced thoughtful and engaging discussion. Producer feedback was also positive as many producers found the meetings to be very informative and stimulating and they were impressed by the attention, time and detail given to the topics presented.

The evenings introductions were made by ABP Chair Doug Sawyer and CCA President Martin Unrau followed by a welcome from Farm Credit Canada (FCC). John Masswohl, CCA's director of government and international relations, provided updates and answered questions on foreign trade with the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling being hot topics of discussion. Other topics included a market update from Canfax and updates on Cattlemen's Young Leaders, the Beef InfoXchange System and the Beef Cattle Research Council. Unrau talked to producers about domestic agricultural policy, animal health and meat Inspection and value creation and competitiveness. Dave Solverson, CCA's vice president, talked to producers about animal care and the beef cattle Code of Practice. Fawn Jackson, CCA's manager, environmental affairs was also in attendance and spoke to producers about sustainability in the beef sector.

After the meeting many producers took the opportunity to engage with CCA representatives during the evenings Q&A. Most producers said they had gained a deeper appreciation of the scope of work that the CCA does on their behalf.

Sponsorship from FCC enables the CCA to hold town hall events through to 2014. Details on upcoming CCA town halls will be available at www.cattle.ca/townhall.


CCA staff update

Canfax Market Briefs

Jolene Noble joins the CCA as the Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) Program Coordinator. Jolene previously held this position on a contract basis. Her duties include managing the day to day workings of the CYL Program as well as organizing major events and providing support to the mentors and young leaders during their mentorship. Jolene also collaborates with industry partners on joint initiatives involving the CYL/CCA. Jolene holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture majoring in Range and Pasture Management from the University of Alberta. The CCA welcomes her aboard. Another change sees Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) Beef Extension Coordinator Tracy Sakatch relocated to a satellite office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Tracy's contact information remains the same.


Make note of CCA's new address

Please note the CCA's new address in Calgary:
Canadian Cattlemen's Association
180, 6815 - 8th Street NE
Calgary, AB T2E 7H7
CCA's phone and fax numbers remain the same.

This is for CCA, its operating divisions Canfax and Canfax Research Services and BCRC. If the address looks somewhat familiar, it's because we're in the same complex but are now located in the north building instead of the south building. Look for our offices on the main floor. The Canadian Beef Grading Agency, Alberta Beef Producers and Canadian Beef Breeds Council join us in the north building.


Get the BMO Canadian Cattlemen's Association MasterCard

Every time you use your BMO® Canadian Cattlemen's Association MasterCard®* to make a purchase, a contribution is made to the CCA by BMO Bank of Montreal at no additional cost you!

This is the reason why the CCA is inviting you to apply for the BMO Canadian Cattlemen Association MasterCard today. The funds collected through this partnership are dedicated to supporting the interests of Canadian beef cattle producers. This is an excellent way to support the CCA's mission.

In addition to supporting the CCA you can also reward yourself by earning AIR MILES®† reward miles or BMO CashBack® rewards.

Make the choice that matters. Please join us in helping support the interest of Canadian beef producers!



Impact of carcass processing procedures on food safety

Canadian beef packing plants have progressively and effectively modified their processes over time to reduce the levels of harmful bacteria contamination on product. Studies have shown that carcass pasteurizing is generally effective in commercial practice, but cuts and trim carry more E. coli than beef in its whole carcass state. Therefore beef is being contaminated during carcass breaking. What's the source of the bacteria?

A recently-completed research project, funded by the National Check-off and Canada's Beef Science Cluster, worked to determine how beef carcass dressing and breaking processes, carcass and cut treatments and cleaning of both plant equipment (e.g. conveyors) and personal equipment (knives and gloves) affect the microbiological condition of beef carcasses, cuts and trim. The study found that following treatment of carcasses, bacterial contamination can be wholly avoided by ensuring that hands, cotton gloves, steel mesh gloves and knives are thoroughly and regularly cleaned, and by wearing disposable rubber gloves between cotton gloves and steel mesh gloves. Control of bacterial contamination from conveyors and other fixed equipment has benefited from improved equipment cleaning processes developed in recent years, and can be enhanced by thoroughly drying equipment after it has been cleaned.

To learn more about this research, view the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) fact sheet: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/impact-of-carcass-processing-procedures-on-food-safety-157


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Brian Perillat, 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 68,500 beef farms and feedlots.

Head office:
Ste. 180, 6815 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