Volume 9 Issue 11 • July 29th, 2013

In This Issue ...


CCA, coalition, seek preliminary injunction in COOL case

On July 25, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA), as part of a coalition of meat and livestock organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, filed a motion with the U.S. District Court seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent implementation of the recently amended U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulation pending resolution of the coalition lawsuit filed July 8.

The coalition lawsuit asks the court to strike down the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) May 23 revision to the COOL regulation while the preliminary injunction motion seeks to block implementation of the COOL regulation pending resolution of the lawsuit. Both the lawsuit and motion for a preliminary injunction were filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The coalition expects that the preliminary injunction motion will be considered within weeks, although there is no specific timeline.
Read the full CCA release here and the American Meat Institute release here.


FPT meeting indicates progress being made on CCA policy

Earlier this month, at the annual meeting of the federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) agriculture Ministers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Ministers expressed their "extreme disappointment" regarding the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute. The CCA is appreciative of the Ministers continued commitment to 'stand up' for Canadian cattle (and hog) producers in the ongoing COOL dispute.

CCA President Martin Unrau and Manager, federal, provincial relations Ryder Lee were in Halifax for the FPT meeting and report that some progress is being made regarding CCA policy on programs under Growing Forward 2 (GF2).

"Ministers understand what we are aiming for on the m-COOL file and CETA [Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement] and in Growing Forward 2. The change we'd like doesn't happen as fast as producers need but it isn't due to lack of understanding on the part of the Ministers the CCA has met with," said Unrau.

The CCA has been lobbying for several years to see price insurance availability expanded beyond Alberta.  This is a useful risk management tool that should be more widely available.  Increasing its availability will reduce interprovincial differences in programs available to cattle producers.  Price insurance also addresses some of the imbalance present in risk management options available to grain producers versus what is available to cattle producers.  Improved forage and pasture insurance is also needed to better level the playing field between annual crops and perennial crops.  The CCA has worked with the federal and provincial governments on this file and look forward to seeing new and improved programs rolling out.

The CCA has lobbied for solid disaster planning and programming since the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis. AgriRecovery events of the past several years have pointed out gaps in business risk management programs.  Work remains to improve the business risk management portion of GF2 to be able to manage future disaster events.  The CCA continues to work with federal and provincial governments in making the most of the other areas of GF 2.


CRSB given green light at first meeting

Canfax Market Briefs

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) accomplished a lot of work at its first meeting last week. The 62 participants on board helped to solidify the intent, purpose and direction of the CRSB going forward.

Spearheaded by the CCA, the CRSB aims to facilitate a national dialogue to advance continuous improvement in the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain. Through leadership, science, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration continuous improvement of sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain will be achieved and recognized.

Various participants from the retail and food sectors, environmental organizations, researchers, government, and animal care organizations participated in the meeting. With all in agreement that a sustainability roundtable is needed in Canada, participants were divided into working groups to discuss the direction and focus of the fledgling CRSB. Discussions ensued around key foundational pieces such as terms of reference, principles of sustainability and objectives of the roundtable.

Coming out of the CRSB was the direction to start three technical working groups; 1) to help the CRSB move forward with full creation; 2) to do a sustainability assessment of the Canadian beef industry; and 3) to create a communications strategy.

CCA Manager, Environmental Affairs, Fawn Jackson spearheaded the CRSB. She is pleased with the progress made at the initial meeting and looks forward to moving ahead with the work.

The CRSB is the CCA's latest commitment to sustainable beef production. The CCA is a member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), which is similarly focussed on developing the necessary tools to ensure beef production is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.


IMS perspectives

Brenna Grant, Manager, Canfax Research Services, attended the International Meat Secretariat's (IMS) Economic Workshop in early July. Presentations and discussion were on the Chinese meat outlook, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, how to maximize by-product values, and global consumer attitudes to meat. Highlights of the IMS included:

Chinese meat outlook – growth in domestic pork production has been slower since 2000, compared to the 1979-1999 period, with major disease issues in 2007 and 2011. Growth in pork production has been done through increased sow numbers. Moving forward focus is expected to be on increasing productivity of those sows with larger number of piglets per litter. Beef and mutton prices have soared with declining inventories and reduced production following the grazing restrictions introduced in 2002. China has been a net importer of mutton since 2000 as consumption has grown faster than production. Since 2004, avian influenza has softened growth in poultry consumption while pork demand has stayed strong. Overall the relative price differences between protein options are larger than before. As China moves forward developing their protein production focus is expected to be placed on livestock with the most efficient conversion rates (i.e. aquaculture, poultry and pork) as land use and the question of availability/supply of sufficient grain to feed all these animals is raised. An aging society, slower economic and income growth in the future are factors expected to slow gains in per capita meat consumption. Within the next 10 years, China is expected to be net importer of protein, particularly of beef and mutton with 70 per cent of the increase in imports being offal.

Environmental sustainability – environmental degradation and the loss of arable land globally is a serious concern. There is a growing awareness that if 80 per cent of a beef animal's feed over its lifetime comes from forages, good pasture management is part of the solution. Brazil has shown that from 1950 to 2010 gains in beef productivity have been greater than in corn, soybeans or sugarcane. The ability to increase crop acres has come from gains in pasture productivity and animal performance with an estimated 525 million hectares in land savings.

Maximizing by-product values – the highest value for variety meat, offal or fancy meats is for human consumption. However, if there is not a market available (due to market access restrictions or specified risk material regulations) the next highest valued option may be trim or the growing aquaculture feed or pet food markets.

Global consumer attitudes to meat – Health and wellness, transparency and responsible living were all major trends in global markets. Knowing your target consumer and how demographics (social structure, ethnic mix) influence demand for protein were highlighted as important factors by the group.

The IMS workshop took place in Kilkenny, Ireland where the average farm size is 32 hectares and there are more producers over 70 years old than under 30 years old. The average beef herd is less than 20 head. They see opportunity in greater farm efficiencies, technology development and greater market access as the majority of their beef production is exported to other European countries.


Province supports B.C. beef producers

July 24 was the fourth annual B.C. Beef Day proclaimed by the B.C. government. The day was celebrated with a barbecue on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria, while provincial government ministers met privately with B.C. Cattlemen's Association (BCCA) to discuss industry issues. BCCA reports that the day was very successful. More than 500 people attended the barbecue to enjoy steak slices served on a bun and a ton of media showed up.

While the B.C. provincial government supports beef and beef producers, word is still out on where Vancouver City Council stands. Earlier this summer, Vancouver City Council became Canada's first city to adopt the anti-animal agriculture campaign, Meatless Monday. The CCA supported BCCA's effort to have Vancouver City Council revisit its decision to support the campaign.

The Meatless Monday campaign contains falsehoods that eating meat damages the environment and negatively affects health. The so-called studies the campaign relies on to support its premise have been refuted by numerous experts.

BCCA had urged Vancouver City Council to attend its B.C. Beef Days celebrations in Victoria and meet the B.C. ranching families impacted by its decision and take the opportunity to become more informed about ranchers' commitment to environmental stewardship. At time of writing, the CCA and BCCA had yet to receive a response from Vancouver City Council about reversing its decision.


TESA 2013 fast approaching

tesa logoThe Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) will be presented at the CCA national convention and semi-annual meeting in London, Ontario in August. TESA is a national award presented annually by the CCA to a cattle producer who goes above and beyond standard industry conservation practices, setting a positive example for fellow producers and the general public. The CCA has recognized innovation in conservation and stewardship practices through TESA since 1996.

The award is presented to one recipient each year and recognizes that many producers across Canada are undertaking important and innovative stewardship initiatives. Check out the provincial nominees vying for the 2013 TESA here. The CCA will announce the recipient of the 2013 TESA on August 14. Watch for the news release on Twitter @cdncattlemen and the story in the August 19 edition of Action News.


Optimizing protein levels in diets containing distillers' grains

Optimizing protein formulation in the diet of growing beef cattle is one of the most effective and practical methods of improving feed conversion efficiency and growth performance. Many protein feeds are commercially available for cattle, including soybean meal, canola meal and distillers' grains (DG). Canola meal is a common protein feed in western Canada and its production is expected to increase. However, canola meal protein is degraded more readily in the rumen. DG, a by-product from the process of grain-based ethanol production, is used in beef cattle diets depending on its availability and price relative to the cost of cereal grains. Chemical composition and feeding value of DG vary with grain source and milling process.

A recently-completed research project, funded by the National Check-off and Canada's Beef Science Cluster, found that the chemical composition, rumen degradability of protein, amino acid profiles and intestinal absorption vary among different protein supplements. This affects the growth performance of backgrounded cattle. To learn more about this research, view the BCRC fact sheet: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/optimizing-protein-levels-in-feedlot-diets-containing-ddgs-74


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Ryder Lee, Fawn Jackson, Brenna Grant, 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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