Volume 10 Issue 1 • August 26th, 2013

In This Issue ...

 

COOL update

In a move fully supported by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA), the Government of Canada last week requested that the World Trade Organization (WTO) establish a compliance panel in the ongoing U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute.

The Government of Canada's request will be considered by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on August 30. The CCA anticipates that the U.S. will exercise its right to block that request at the August 30 DSB meeting and that a second request will be made for consideration at the September 25 DSB meeting.  The second request cannot be blocked and the panel will be established at that time. Of course, it is possible, although unlikely, that the U.S. may choose not to block the panel request at the August 30 meeting.

Canada is asking the WTO to determine if the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) May 23 COOL amendment complies with the U.S.'s WTO obligations. The U.S. alleges the amendment addresses the July 2012 WTO DSB finding of non-compliance.  However, the Government of Canada and the CCA share the position that the U.S. amendment has done nothing to correct the WTO's finding that COOL causes discrimination against imported cattle in the U.S. marketplace and therefore remains in non-compliance with the WTO. A compliance panel and appeal process is expected to take until late 2014.

A WTO compliance panel ruling in Canada's favour would allow the Government of Canada to seek WTO authority to apply retaliatory tariffs on approximately $1.1 billion on U.S. commodities. The Government of Canada released the list of commodities being considered for retaliation in June.  The $1.1 billion figure is based on the annual impairment suffered under the 2009 final COOL rule.  We expect that the additional damage caused by the May 23, 2013 COOL amendment will increase the amount.

This WTO proceeding will move forward independently of the U.S. based litigation initiated last month by a coalition of meat and livestock organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The CCA is a plaintiff in the case, along with 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, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico's National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.

The coalition recently filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent implementation of the amended U.S. COOL regulation pending resolution of the coalition lawsuit filed July 8. CCA representatives will attend the oral hearing for the preliminary injunction in Washington, D.C. on August 27.

The CCA's position remains that the only outcome that would bring the U.S. into compliance with the WTO ruling of July 2012 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 CCA has to date spent in excess of $2 million in legal and advocacy expenses to fight COOL.

 

Beef Science Cluster receives $14 million from Government of Canada

CCA President Martin Unrau was in Airdrie, Alberta last week for Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz's announcement of $14 million in funding for the Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster under Growing Forward 2.

Total funding for this Cluster is $20 million, with the additional contributions coming from industry and other stakeholders. Industry's $5 million contribution to the Cluster is largely from the Beef Cattle Research Council's (BCRC) National Check-off research allocation, as well as direct investments from provincial beef industry groups including Alberta Beef Producers, Manitoba Beef Producers, Ontario Cattlemen's Association, and the Quebec Beef Producers Federation. Provincial governments will also contribute approximately $1 million to this Cluster.

During his turn at the podium, Unrau spoke about the relationship between research and the competitiveness of Canada's beef cattle industry. "Research drives the production enhancements and efficiencies that enable cattle producers to produce more beef using fewer resources," he said.

The research in this second Cluster ensures continued science-based progress in the broad categories of beef quality and safety, animal health and animal care, feed production, and environmental sustainability. The largest proportion of the funding under this Cluster is dedicated to supporting existing and new forage breeding, management and utilization research programs across Canada.

The Cluster is an example of the benefit of industry and government working together to ensure the research is on-target with identified industry needs.

 

CCA 2013 semi-annual a wrap

Canfax Market Briefs

Plenty of work was accomplished at the CCA 2013 Semi-Annual Meeting in London, Ontario. The producer representatives at our board table and various industry stakeholders are always on the lookout for opportunities for synergies with the CCA. In this regard we welcomed representation from Canada Beef Inc. at the CCA Foreign Trade Committee. This decision enables intelligence sharing between the CCA's advocacy team and Canada Beef Inc.'s marketing team with a goal to enhancing Canada Beef Inc.'s efforts to market beef internationally and reduce in-house redundancies.

The conversation continues around ongoing issues including tag retention and skilled labour shortages and the need to find sound solutions as quickly as possible. We continue to push our efforts to improve efficiencies to ensure we have the key pieces in place to enhance competitiveness for the long term. A national basis price insurance program, effective business risk management programming and enhanced food safety for beef are all areas of discussion.

This year, the CCA presented a town hall meeting for the convention portion of the semi-annual, which was well-received. The first official meeting of the Young Cattlemen's Council (YCC) took place followed by a formal election for board member representation. Read the full results here. The Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) program hosted a meet and greet and participants took part in a new initiative focussed on business skills development and governance training. CYL also announced new partners. The President's Reception was well-attended, with CCA Past Presidents and directors in attendance. The auction raised $5,640 in support of 4-H. The CCA thanks OCA for their help with organizing the event procuring items for the auction.

The CCA congratulates Allen and Lillian Patkau of Sandy Arrow Ranch in Saskatchewan, the recipients of the 2013 The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) .The Patkau's have done a tremendous amount of work to improve challenging conditions and turn them into productive land for their cattle operation and have set an example for us all.

 

CCA career opportunity

The CCA is looking for a communications coordinator with strong writing, editing and organizational skills to assist in its ongoing national communications. The ideal candidate should be detail-oriented and have the ability to manage multiple tasks and deadlines and consistently produce high quality, accurate written material. Candidates should have a degree or diploma in public relations, communications or a related field with a minimum of three years related experience. Click here to read the full job description and for details on how to apply.

 

How forage finishing affects product quality

In Canada, most cattle are raised on forages then finished on a high grain diet at under 20 months of age. Grain-finishing is typical because grains like barley and corn generally contain more energy than forages, and Canada's relatively short growing season means that forage-finished cattle require stored forage in addition to pasture.

Forage-finished beef contains more omega-3 fatty acids and may contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-finished beef, which has sparked interest among some health conscious consumers. However, current levels of omega-3 fatty acid and CLA in beef do not consistently meet Health Canada labeling requirements and research has found that increasing the levels of these unsaturated fats while maintaining meat quality is challenging. Oxidation of unsaturated fats in forage-finished beef may negatively impact flavor and odor. This has led to concerns that some forage-finishing methods may yield a premium-priced product that does not deliver on the perceived quality or potential health benefits to the consumer.

A recently-completed research project funded by the National Check-off and Canada's Beef Science Cluster studied the effect of forage-finishing methods on growth performance, carcass traits, eating quality and nutrient composition of beef relative to grain-finished beef. The study also evaluated breed differences in the aforementioned traits and examined how fatty acid composition of forages affected eating quality and nutrient composition of beef when the method of forage finishing was varied.

The study found that growth performance, feed efficiency and quality grades were lower with forage-finished cattle. Omega-3 was higher in forage-finished than corn-finished beef, but levels were too low to attain a Health Canada label claim for omega-3 content. To learn more about this research, view the BCRC fact sheet here: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/how-does-forage-finishing-affect-product-quality-86

 

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Tracy Sakatch
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel


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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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