Volume 10 Issue 5 • October 21st, 2013

In This Issue ...

 

Historic CETA agreement a boon for Canada's beef cattle industry

On Friday, the Government of Canada and the EU announced an agreement in principle had been reached regarding a Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The long-awaited CETA provides new duty-free access for 64,950 tonnes of Canadian beef valued at nearly $600 million, with the lion's share of the quota reserved for Canada alone. This breakthrough agreement will be a boon for Canada's beef cattle industry. See the CCA's release here.

CCA Director of International and Governmental Affairs John Masswohl and Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) Executive Director Kathleen Sullivan represented the Canadian agriculture sector on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's delegation to Brussels for the signing of the declaration. Following the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Harper called the CETA agreement the biggest deal Canada has ever made and said he anticipates the CETA will be in force by the next federal election – just two years away.

Being on hand for the signing of this historic agreement is an experience Masswohl said he will never forget. "We have worked so hard for the four and half years of these negotiations to ensure it would be a result that Canadian beef producers could support enthusiastically. The end product is exactly that - an outstanding agreement for Canadian beef. The Prime Minister hung in there to get us this outcome and I was so proud to be there to tell him personally what a great deal it is for Canadian ranchers," Masswohl said.

The CCA has been working on the CETA from the outset of negotiations in 2009, engaging with the Canadian negotiating team and conducting advocacy with key EU and Member State officials and industry representatives. CCA representatives attended numerous negotiating rounds in Brussels and Ottawa and met regularly with the Canadian negotiators of CETA to ensure they clearly understood the needs of Canada's beef sector. The beef access achieved for Canada is a reflection of the CCA's unwavering work, and that of International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and of course Prime Minister Harper.

The long awaited CETA deal attracted major media attention, and CCA President Martin Unrau, Vice President Dave Solverson and Past-President Travis Toews handled the onslaught of media calls in Canada, while Masswohl worked from the scene in Brussels.

Solverson spent a good portion of the day in TV studios in Edmonton, appearing on BNN, Power Play with Don Martin (click on the 'Where's the Beef' link on the right side), CTV National and local news. All told, more than 20 television, radio and print/web media interviews were completed Friday and the perspective of Canada's beef cattle industry on CETA well-positioned.

A day prior to the CETA announcement, Unrau and CCA Executive Vice President Dennis Laycraft attended the Throne Speech in Ottawa at the invitation of the Prime Minister, and then participated in a CAFTA meeting with Minister Fast. At that meeting, Minister Fast thanked CAFTA and CCA for their efforts through the negotiations. Producers should take comfort in the positive working relationships CCA officials have with the Government of Canada.

 

What the CETA means in practical terms

It didn't take long for producers to start looking at the CETA deal from the perspective of what it means for them. The CCA calculates that Canadian producers will have to raise 500,000 head annually under the EU hormone/beta-agonist free protocols to use up the CETA duty free quotas. Moving forward, individual producers will be assessing if the protocol requirements make economic sense for their operation and enable them to produce beef profitably. Price signals will also be a major factor in decision making as well as herd expansion considerations. Throughout the CETA negotiations the CCA had insisted that the access granted and the conditions of access would have to be sufficient to encourage both producers to raise the cattle under EU requirements and for packers to develop the EU market.

For beef to be eligible for shipment to the EU, it must come from cattle raised and documented in a particular manner. For some of the quotas, the beef must grade either Prime, AAA, AA or A and the cattle must have been fed a grain diet for a certain number of days. For some of the quotas, all grades or ungraded beef is eligible, including veal. Bison meat will have its own separate 3,000 tonne quota, so will not use the beef quotas.

Watch the next issue of Action News for further details on this and other preparation information.

 

CYL Update

Canfax Market Briefs

Two Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) were selected to attend the AgriFuture Conference in Laramie, Wyoming, from October 8-10. Erika Strande, a 2013 CYL Graduate from Merritt, B.C., and Andrea Bertholet, current year CYL from Hartney, Manitoba, travelled to Wyoming on Oct. 6 to partake in pre-conference agricultural tours. The Ag Education Coordinator from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture toured the group through the state's Wheatland, Cheyenne and Laramie areas. The tour was comprised of a variety of stops including a research facility, a mixed farming and ranching operation, a feedlot and the meat science lab of the University of Wyoming.

The conference focused on the future of the agriculture industry. It brought together young producers, industry and government for frank discussions on the challenges the industry is facing and to brainstorm action items to overcome these challenges. The tour and conference provided venues for thought-provoking conversation and networking opportunities, and participants came away with a better understanding of the Wyoming agriculture industry.

"AgriFuture was a great opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities in the agriculture industry with young people in Wyoming and the surrounding states. It was surprising to learn that we are more similar than we might think," said Bertholet.

 

CYL 2014-15 program accepting applications November 1

It's that time of year – CYL applications open November 1. The CYL program is a unique mentorship program that provides participants with a combination of formal and informal opportunities to learn from existing beef cattle industry leaders and other youth organizations undertaking mentorship opportunities. Young producers between the ages of 18 and 35 years have a chance to participate in provincial, national and international high level discussions that define the direction and future of the Canadian cattle and beef industry. CYL provides participants with a chance to explore a potential career choice or rewarding provincial/national producer organization involvement, while gaining essential business connections and learning tools along the way.

Kerry Hyatt, 2013 CYL Graduate, encouraged young producers to apply. "The program is much more than a mentorship with a key leader in the beef industry, it is a career and life changing opportunity," she said.

Applications will close in January. Please visit the CYL website for more information and to access the application form at www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com.

 

The science that informed the updated Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle

Avid readers of Action News and informed producers in general followed with interest the extensive three-year renewal process leading up to the release of the renewed Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle last month.

The new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle is an important tool for the Canadian beef cattle industry. The Code is a set of science-informed and expert-vetted guidelines for everyday practices used in the raising of beef cattle, including priority animal care issues like painful procedures, feedlot health, housing/shelter and weaning strategies. Code guidelines are not regulation, they are recommended practices put forth by industry experts as science-informed proper animal care. Producers can defer to the Code knowing the recommended guidelines are based on the latest knowledge and science. The Code will also help consumers better understand the practices used in beef cattle production and provide assurances that all guidelines are rooted in proper animal care.

Much of the important work in this area fell to the Scientific Committee of the Code development process. The committee developed a report on the results of research relating to key animal welfare issues. The scientific report was used by the Code Development Committee to ensure the Code was informed by relevant science.

To learn more about the science that informed the renewed beef code, BeefResearch.ca contacted some of the Code development committee members: two researchers, a veterinarian, a technical expert and a cow-calf producer. Find their answers to questions like "Is more research needed to study painful procedures in beef cattle?", "Are the scientifically-informed requirements and recommendations practical for Canadian cattle producers?" and "What do you anticipate for the future of the Beef Code?" at http://www.beefresearch.ca/blog/science-informed-beef-care-code.

 

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Jolene Noble, 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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