Volume 10 Issue 8 • December 2nd, 2013

In This Issue ...

 

Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement talks resume

Canadian negotiators were in Seoul, South Korea from November 25-29 for the first full negotiating round for a Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since last year. The talks have been stalled since January 2013. With a new chief negotiator having been appointed since the last meeting, it appears that Korea may be prepared to work quickly to finalize an agreement.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) continues to encourage the Government of Canada to achieve an FTA with Korea as soon as possible so that we can restore our position in the Korean market. Canadian beef regained access to Korea in January 2012 following a nearly nine year BSE prohibition. When the Korea-U.S. FTA (KORUS) came into effect less than two months later, it put Canadian beef at an immediate tariff disadvantage to U.S. beef. Under the KORUS the Korean tariff on U.S. beef imports is decreasing by 2.7 percentage points per year until U.S. beef is duty free in 2026. Canadian beef (as well as Australian and New Zealand beef) will remain subject to the full 40 per cent tariff when entering Korea until Canada and Korea reach an agreement to improve access.

Korea has also been floating publically its interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). To join the TPP, Korea will have to be accepted by all of the existing partners, a list which includes Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We believe that Korea may be highly motivated to conclude bilateral agreements with Canada, Australia and New Zealand in order to pave their way into the TPP. Our view is that we should seize the opportunity to secure favourable access for Canadian beef into that important market.

Prior to BSE, Korea was Canada's fourth largest export market, with 14,400 tonnes of Canadian beef valued at nearly $50 million exported to Korea in 2002. Canadian beef access was restored to Korea in January 2012 and the first shipments resumed in May 2012. Total shipments for the eight months of 2012 were just over 2,000 tonnes with a value of just under $10 million.  Almost all of the shipments in 2012 were frozen beef.  Monthly shipments throughout 2013 have steadily declined.

Korea remains an important market for Canadian beef and the CCA will continue to work with the Government of Canada to achieve a deal that benefits Canada's beef producers.

 

CCA Fall Picnic enjoys excellent turnout during lobbying roundup

Cattle producers from across Canada gathered in Ottawa on November 19 and 20 for an executive meeting of the CCA, an Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) 'Fly-In' lobby day and an alternate format for the annual CCA Fall Picnic on Parliament Hill.

Producers took the opportunity in meetings with Ministers and their staff, Members of Parliament and their staff, and officials from different departments to communicate key points on pressing issues in Canada's beef cattle industry. Among the industry needs are to build and maintain market access for Canadian beef, increase the supply of people able to work in the beef cattle production and processing sectors, improve business risk management programming, and invest in research and innovation including regulatory oversight and approval processes.

The proroguing of Parliament has compressed the lobbying calendar in Ottawa this fall. As a result, the CCA Ottawa office adjusted the annual Parliament Hill Fall Picnic. This is normally an outdoor event but with Parliament returning in late October instead of mid-September the chances of a balmy mid-day picnic were too low to risk. The event was moved to an indoor reception on November 20 in the Government Conference Centre.

The second effect of the compressed fall sitting is that many more events are going on concurrently than in other years. ABP sent four cattle producers to Ottawa for the latest "Fly-In" lobby days on November 19. The CCA took the opportunity to hold its quarterly executive meeting the following day so committee members could attend the evening Fall Picnic event.

Despite the different time frame and a high number of competing events, the new evening format reception was successful.  Many MPs, Senators, Ministers and staff attended.  Most notable was International Trade Minister Ed Fast who delivered comments of appreciation for the CCA's continuing work in helping the Government of Canada to gain and defend market access for Canadian beef and cattle.

MPs conveyed their appreciation of being updated on the issues and ways they can help advance opportunities for beef cattle farmers, ranchers and feeders.  All voiced a strong commitment to continue communicating Canada's resolve to retaliate against United States Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) as the World Trade Organization (WTO) process allows.  Understanding was also built around what is needed to take the Canada-EU Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) agreement in principle to a meaningful final agreement for the Canadian beef cattle industry.  Cattle producers left Ottawa knowing MPs and others better understood the need to level the playing field in business risk management between provinces and between annual crop production and livestock production.  Finally, conversations that conveyed the needs of agriculture for an increase in available workers able and willing to live in rural Canada and to work with livestock and machinery were well received.  The need to improve the flow and the programs available for accessing livestock workers is increasingly well understood.

Another reception is planned for early March during the CCA's annual meeting in Ottawa.  Between now and then there will also be some more "Fly-In" days to continue the momentum of this and past events.

 

CCA joins Minister Ritz in D.C. to push for quick end to COOL

CCA President Martin Unrau, Vice President Dave Solverson and Executive Vice President Dennis Laycraft were in Washington, D.C. recently for a Canada-U.S. mandatory COOL Roundtable with packers, processors and industry.

The CCA trip coincided with meetings Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Alberta Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson had in D.C. to push for a quick end to the COOL dispute. The D.C. trip marked the Minister's second stateside meeting in November to advocate for remedying the COOL dispute through legislative changes to the current U.S. Farm Bill.

COOL negatively impacts industry on both sides of the border. A Farm Bill fix is viewed as the quickest resolution to COOL and one that could occur without Canada imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports including beef and pork once it receives authorization from the WTO to do so. The retaliation amount is based on the current impairment of $1.1 billion annually to the Canadian livestock sector, but CCA expects this amount to increase under the modified COOL, now in effect. The Government of Canada released the list of commodities being considered for retaliation in June 2013.

In D.C. Minister Ritz met with members of the U.S. Congress, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and continued to pressure key members of the U.S. Government to put an end to mandatory COOL. He met with U.S. and Canadian industry representatives, the latter including CCA and Martin Rice, Executive Director of the Canadian Pork Council, on COOL.

The Minister reiterated Canada's position that COOL has significantly disrupted the North American supply chain, imposed additional costs on producers on both sides of the border, and unfairly discriminates against imported cattle and hogs. Canada's position remains that the U.S. has completely failed to bring COOL into conformity with its WTO obligations.

These meetings build upon Minister Ritz's speech to the U.S. livestock sector at the North American Meat Association's (NAMA) Outlook Conference in Chicago, IL, and discussions with NAMA members on the negative impacts of COOL and the importance of resolving COOL, now, through legislative changes in the Farm Bill.  The CCA and CPC were part of that delegation, along with Alberta Agriculture Minister Olson.

The CCA thanks Minister Ritz and Minister Olson for their dedicated efforts as we continue to try to resolve the issue.

Another important advocacy element is the work that CCA does with U.S. state cattle associations. CCA Director, Government and International Relations, John Masswohl provided updates on the COOL WTO process and pending retaliation at the recent annual meetings of the Washington Cattlemen's Association and the North Dakota Stockmen. These organizations initially had policy supporting mandatory COOL, but have since changed their policy so that they now oppose mandatory COOL in favour of free market oriented labelling. The policy direction these organizations provide to their Congressmen and Senators is vital to CCA's efforts in D.C.

 

CYL update

The Cattlemen's Young Leaders (CYL) Fall Forum was held in conjunction with the Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) in Regina, SK on November 12th. Twenty CYLs both past and present attended the event alongside representatives from government and industry from Canada and the U.S. The Forum was a mixture of speakers, panel discussion and round table breakout sessions designed to provide both information and stimulate discussion. Bob Ehr, Beef and Dairy Business Manager with Elanco, and Lyndon Carlson, Sr. Vice President of Marketing with Farm Credit Canada, were keynote speakers for the event. Those in attendance also heard from Annemarie Pederson of Canada Beef Inc. on the new Beef Advocacy Canada Program and received greetings from Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart, Wyoming Director of Agriculture Jason Fearneyhough, CWA CEO Marty Seymour, and the emcee for the day, CCA President Martin Unrau. The afternoon session was focused around discussion and was kicked off by a CYL Feature Panel that included CYLs from different areas of the beef industry. This panel described their mentorship experience and the events they have attended as a CYL participant as well as answered questions pertaining to youth in the beef industry. The roundtable breakout sessions split the audience into smaller groups to brainstorm ideas focused around advocacy. The group was tasked with developing material to share via the social media tool, Twitter, and to brainstorm future project ideas for CYL to work on with McDonald's. Current CYL Austen Anderson and his mentor Heather Travis with Canada Beef Inc. shared their mentorship experience along with the start of a series of educational videos on the basics of farming and ranching. The day was rounded out by announcing the CYLs that were selected to attend the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO and the National Cattlemens' Beef Associations (NCBA) Convention in Nashville, TN in the new year. The following CYLs will be taking in these opportunities:

National Western Stock Show:

NCBA Convention:

The CYL Fall Forum was a successful event with many insightful discussions and meaningful connections made between CYLs, government, industry and producers from both Canada and the U.S. Representatives from each of the organizations that support the CYL program attended the Fall Forum and helped to make it the successful event that it was. Thank you to CYL Foundation Partners: Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), CCA, UFA, Cargill and MNP; and Gold Sponsors Farm Credit Canada and New Holland, along with CYL Fall Forum Sponsor, the Government of Saskatchewan for their support.

Applications for the next CYL program year are now being accepted. Apply online here.

 

Drought tolerant forage mixtures

Because native species may increase carbon sequestration, improve wildlife habitat, lower agronomic inputs, and extend the grazing season, there is a growing interest in the use of native perennial species for seeded rangeland and reclamation following disturbance. Diverse forage swards composed of native species have the potential to be as productive as tame monocultures in a greater range of environmental conditions. Unfortunately the information for the right combination of species is very limited.

A recently-completed research project funded by the National Check-off and Canada's Beef Science Cluster tested mixtures of native warm and cool-season grasses, and legume species that could be seeded in former cropland and could provide a sustainable, drought tolerant, non-invasive, productive rangeland for pasture use in the Mixed Grassland of the Canadian Prairies.

The study found that forage yield and crude protein differed between the forage swards. Monocultures and combinations of the legumes and warm-season grasses ranked low (may be due to the exceptionally high precipitation during the study), while forage swards containing Western Wheatgrass ranked high. Less productive species can have beneficial traits such as increasing nitrogen availability and drought resistance to the restored forage sward, carry little penalty under good growing conditions, and provide 'insurance' for less optimal years.

To learn more about this research, view the BCRC fact sheet here: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/breeding-drought-tolerant-forages-55

 

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Ryder Lee, Jolene Noble, Tracy Sakatch
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel, Anthony Murdoch


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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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