CCA is the national voice of Canada's 68,500 beef farms
In This Issue ...
CCA launches new website, new look
Readers of Action News may notice that this issue is sporting a bold new look. The new look corresponds with the new website the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) launched last week at www.cattle.ca. The new website captures the essence of the CCA and the high level work the association does on behalf of Canada’s beef cattle industry. There’s a new emphasis on sustainability and animal care, reflecting industry’s focus. It contains a wealth of information to keep producers up to speed on CCA activities as well as inform and educate consumers and the media about the beef cattle industry in general. The layout is easy to follow and navigate and the information presented in easy to read text. New features include a video gallery and a photo gallery and a real time update of the @Cdncattlemen Twitter feed. The navigation of the new website was inspired by the traffic data patterns from the old website as well as current website best practices and the latest technology. CCA Communications drew on all of this information to create a comprehensive new website that would act as a useful tool for its members and serve as a trusted source of industry information for the public and the media. But don’t just take our word for it – check it out for yourself on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. The website is designed with a responsive design feature which enables the text and menus to automatically adjust to various screen sizes. Drop us a line and let us know what you think of CCA’s new website. CCA Communications would like to thank Icona Inc. for their collaboration on this project, as well as Sam Wirzba of Last Light Photography for the many livestock images that anchor this website.Back to top
CCA supports Government of Canada in trade liberalization meetings in Bali and Singapore
Now that an agreement in principle has been reached to create significant new duty free access for Canadian beef into Europe under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the CCA wants to ensure that Canada’s other trade negotiations succeed in liberalizing trade opportunities for Canadian beef. In this regard, CCA’s Director of Government and International Relations, John Masswohl, travelled to Asia recently to represent cattle producers’ interests at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meetings.
The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference took place in Bali, Indonesia from Dec 3-6. International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz were there to push for a package of new trade liberalizing agreements, and they were successful in achieving a ‘Bali Package’. On the ground in Bali, Masswohl met with the Ministers. They stressed the importance of having the CCA attend such meetings to work with our industry partners within Canada and other countries to form a loud voice in favour of reaching these agreements.
We did that vocalizing in the Cairns Group Farm Leaders’ meeting that took place in Bali just prior to the WTO conference and we continued to work the hallways throughout the conference. As the WTO Conference came to its final scheduled hours, it was anybody’s guess whether the final package would succeed as some countries held out. In the end, the Ministers worked beyond the appointed closing time and through the night to reach a successful package.
Not everyone was pulling for this package to succeed as some would have been pleased to see it and the WTO fail to reach an agreement yet again. However, it was quite clear in the corridors that WTO Members finally realized that if they could not agree on this package, the WTO would lose any credibility it had left as a negotiating body. Failure to agree would have meant some countries abandoning WTO negotiations in favour of regional and bilateral agreements. It was a very real prospect that major economies such as the U.S. would secure their trade interests with future agreements with the EU and TPP on top of the agreements it already has with developed countries Korea, Australia and NAFTA. Indeed, as Masswohl worked the halls, he shared the view that if the Bali conference failed then the Doha round should be declared terminated. If this were to happen, many countries outside of bilateral or regional negotiations with developed countries would have much to fear from being excluded and it was this fear that was a major motivator in achieving the Bali Package. With this package under its belt, the WTO should be able to reset its sights on concluding a broader Doha Round agreement for the 10th Ministerial Conference, if not sooner. Stay tuned.
From Bali, Masswohl went on to Singapore where the TPP Trade Ministers met from Dec 7-9. The purpose of this meeting was to review the state of progress of the negotiations and to determine if Ministers could reach a final agreement by the often stated deadline of the end of 2013. While a final TPP agreement was not reached at Singapore, Masswohl witnessed that Ministers were certainly rolling up their sleeves and making a serious effort to get there as soon as possible. It appears that many of the ‘rules’ and the structure of the agreement are coming into place, but there remains quite a bit of work to do on negotiating the market access commitments. The CCA has joined with its Five Nations Beef Alliance partners in calling for the total elimination of all tariffs, quotas and safeguards amongst TPP partners on an equivalent basis and we will continue to work towards that outcome. Ministers concluded the meeting with a statement indicating they were very pleased with the progress of the negotiations and they plan to meet again within a month. The date and location are not yet confirmed at the time of writing this report.Back to top
Bill C-18 the Agricultural Growth Act
On December 9th, 2013 Bill C-18 was tabled in Parliament. The ‘Agricultural Growth Act’ will amend the Plant Breeders' Rights Act, the Feeds Act, the Fertilizers Act, the Seeds Act, the Health of Animals Act, the Plant Protection Act, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act and the Farm Debt Mediation Act.
This long list of Acts does not appear to reflect the amount of impact this Act will have on Canadian beef cattle producers. Early reads through the Act indicate that the main area to likely impact cattle producers will be in the area of the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act. This Act governs the Advance Payments Program which is often called the cash advance program. Early indications are that many of the changes will apply more to the relationships between Agriculture Canada and the program administrators. Some changes that might affect producers relate to administration, stays of default, related producers and security requirements. These will be part of discussions between the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and other stakeholders and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in the coming months.
An area that will likely see some debate in the agriculture press will be Plant Breeders’ Rights. This Act will bring Canada into alignment with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV-91). The Government of Canada committed to this regime in the early 1990s. Most of the countries Canada competes with in agriculture exports are under this regime. The increased protection for intellectual property is expected to increase the attractiveness of Canada for seed innovation investment. This is important to the cattle industry as the competitiveness of Canadian grain and forage production relates directly to the competitiveness of the livestock sector that consumes that production.
This Act aims to allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to consider data from other jurisdictions in evaluating new products for approval. It is not clear if this would apply to veterinary drugs approvals at Health Canada but if feed and other innovations are taking this step it is a good precedent. This should improve regulatory processes in Canada and bring in more innovation. This is something the CCA will continue to pursue and support.
There are other areas including licensing requirements for feed manufacturers. Those manufacturing for their own on farm use are not expected to be subject to this regime.
The CCA will be participating in numerous ways in the legislative process that is expected to conclude before the summer 2014 recess. The regulations that go along with the Act will also require active participation to ensure the Act and its regulations are a positive development for Canadian cattle producers.Back to top
Using new ideas and technology in the beef industry
Innovative ideas and technologies that can be used by beef producers are coming out all the time. Research is key to driving competitiveness so governments and industry groups make significant investments to continually find better and more efficient methods of producing high quality beef and cattle.
To fully realize the benefits of those research efforts, producers and other industry players must be aware and take advantage of the new knowledge and tools that make sense for their operations. Extension and technology transfer services are critically important. Being informed and adopting innovation improves production efficiencies and beef demand, helping to make individual farms and the industry as a whole more profitable.
In the latest episode of the Beef Research School video series, producers from across Canada discuss why it’s important to keep up to speed with the latest in beef research. They share their favorite sources of information, and how they make informed decisions that benefit their herds and land. Find the video hereBack to top
CCA thanks its Prime Partners
The CCA would like to recognize and thank its Prime Partners for their continued support of the Canadian cattle industry: Scotiabank, Merck Animal Health and Farm Credit Canada. For more information on the CCA Partners Program, visit www.cattle.ca/about-us/partners-program/.Back to top
Season's greetings from the CCA
“May the joy, wonder, and excitement of the holiday season be with you and your family and may you have a have a cheerful and prosperous new year,” CCA President, Martin Unrau.Back to top
Post Script: This is the last issue of Action News for 2013. Watch for the first issue of 2014 on January 6. Happy holidays.