Volume 9 Issue 10 • July 15th, 2013

In This Issue ...

 

CCA part of lawsuit to block implementation of COOL

Last week, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and a coalition of meat and livestock organizations in the U.S. and Canada filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court to block the implementation of the recently amended U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulation.

The complaint is made on the grounds that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) May 23, 2013 COOL amendment violates the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Agriculture Marketing Act, and is arbitrary and capricious. In addition to the CCA, plaintiffs include the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Institute, Canadian Pork Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Association, and Southwest Meat Association.

One question that has come up repeatedly following the announcement is why the CCA is participating in what is essentially a U.S. Constitutional challenge. The CCA was invited to participate in the coalition lawsuit and did so because the desired outcome – blocking the implementation of COOL - is a shared objective. Participation in the lawsuit is one piece of a multi-pronged strategy the CCA has in play to end COOL discrimination against imported cattle, and that 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.

The legal action is warranted because the increase in discrimination against imported cattle inherent in USDA's May 23 amendments to the COOL rule will irreparably injure Canada's livestock producers and their U.S. customers. But the damage doesn't end there. The USDA's chosen path of unfair trade discrimination also undermines the job security of American workers and harms the U.S. meat processing industry, which will directly impact the productivity of Canada's cattle industry.

The lawsuit follows a move last month by the Government of Canada to release a list of U.S. commodities that could be targeted for retaliation in relation to the COOL dispute. The Government of Canada has said it could seek retaliatory compensation of approximately $1.1 billion following the completion of ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) proceedings, which will move forward independently of this U.S. based litigation.

The CCA will continue its efforts to bring the U.S. into compliance with the WTO ruling of July 2012, which found that COOL violates the U.S.'s WTO obligations. This can include but is not limited to the coalition lawsuit to block the implementation of COOL, through the CCA's above stated surgical amendment, or through retaliation and the WTO.

The CCA has to date spent in excess of $2 million in legal and advocacy expenses to fight COOL.

 

ILC 2013: emerging market economies, efficiencies through innovation key, speakers say

The presentations at the International Livestock Congress (ILC) are always interesting and stimulate a great deal of food for thought. The takeaway from the speakers presenting at ILC – Beef 2013: What's Next? held in Calgary last week is that Canada's beef producers need to look to emerging market economies to manage long term margin pressures from rising feed costs and stalled demand in developed markets.

This was the position of speakers Aaron Goertzen, Economist, BMO Capital Markets, and Lowell B. Catlett, PH.D, Dean, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University. India and Brazil, which have fast growing populations and a burgeoning middle class with discretionary cash and a ready appetite for beef, were cited as primary target markets for Canadian beef.

To emphasize the opportunity, Lowell noted that there will be another 500 million people to feed and another 500 million people that will rise into middle class between now and 2020 and most in areas that cannot supply the necessary amounts of beef and meat protein. "The demand for beef has no known bounds," he said.

Goertzen added that emerging markets like India and Brazil have steadily increased their beef consumption – a pace that the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization expects will be sustained over the next decade. In a release, BMO Capital Markets said total domestic consumption of beef and veal in India was over 2 million metric tonnes in 2012, an increase of 73 per cent since 2000; in Brazil, consumption was nearly 8 million metric tonnes, up 29 per cent. In contrast, Canadians consumed just over 1 million metric tonnes last year.

Goertzen acknowledged that increasing overseas exports "is not a straight-forward undertaking, and that it will depend on domestic and foreign regulatory factors that are outside of the industry's direct control."

Indeed. The CCA has already flagged to Canadian negotiators who are working on a Canada-India Free Trade Agreement that India maintains a religious-based prohibition on imports of beef from cattle of the bos Taurus and bos Indicus species. The so-called 'beef' generally consumed in India is produced from domesticated water buffalo.

CCA's market access priorities are based on optimizing the value of each animal by selling every piece of the carcass into the markets that will pay the most for them. These markets understand the Canadian Beef Advantage and are willing to pay for those attributes.

In order to capitalize on these opportunities, however, Canada needs equal to or better access than its competitors. This includes securing trade agreements that ensure equal to or lower tariffs than our competitors and eliminating non-tariff trade barriers.

CCA's trade priorities include completing a Canada-EU comprehensive economic trade agreement, a free trade agreement with South Korea, and expanding access to Japan—either through the Trans-Pacific Partnership or a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement—China, Russia and Mexico.

The CCA is a member of the Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) which focusses on improving the sector's competitive position. The CCA also collaborates with the federal Market Access Secretariat (MAS), which coordinates government initiatives with industry to pursue new and existing markets for the agriculture sector.

As demand for high quality and safe food continue to grow, particularly in the emerging economies, the CCA works to identify which policies and initiatives to pursue in markets that make the most economic sense for Canada's beef producers.

 

CYL update

Canfax Market Briefs

Now that the Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) Program has announced its mentor line-up, the 2013-14 program is off to the races. The mentors are in the midst of participating in initial conference calls to brief them on the CYL program and introduce them to their mentee. Mentors and mentees begin their mentorship journey by completing their road map that will outline their activities and learning objectives for the year.

CYL mentees are keeping busy this summer by kicking off their mentorship opportunity by visiting several industry events including the Beef Value Chain Roundtable, Beef Innovations Symposium, International Livestock Congress, the Calgary Stampede Cattle Trail display and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

CYL will be hosting two days of training activities prior to the CCA Semi-Annual Meeting in August in London, Ontario as part of the CYL Step 2 Initiative. CYLs past and present will be participating business skill development training on August 11 and governance training on August 12. A 'Meet & Greet' evening is also scheduled for August 12 to provide industry with an update on the program and a networking opportunity for CYL participants.

Started by the CCA in 2010, the CYL Program provides industry-specific training and mentorship opportunities to young producers. CYL participants have the opportunity to explore a potential career choice or involvement with a provincial/national producer organization, while gaining the expertise and business acumen necessary to sustain the cattle industry into the future.

Funding for the CYL Program is made available through its Foundation Partners, UFA Co-operative Ltd., the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Cargill. Farm Credit Canada is a Gold Partner.

Full mentee and mentor biographies can be viewed at: www.cattle.ca/media/file/original/1343_CYL_Mentor_Mentee_Bios.pdf?download=true

 

Storage life of vacuum packed beef

Opportunities to trade Canadian beef to distant, overseas markets are increasing. Developing these markets requires demonstration of an adequately long storage life for Canadian product.

A recently-completed research project, funded by the National Check-off and Canada's Beef Science Cluster, worked to determine how long various cuts of Canadian beef stored at different temperatures would keep at a condition acceptable to consumers. Results found that the storage life for vacuum packaged cuts at -1.5oC, the coldest temperature that beef can be stored without freezing, was 130 days or more. Recognition that Canadian vacuum packaged beef can attain a very long storage life during distribution could be an important tool in developing overseas markets.

To learn more about this research, view the BCRC fact sheet: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/storage-life-of-vacuum-packaged-beef-65

 

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Jolene Noble, 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.

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