Budget 2010 is good news for Canada’s cattle producers

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) strongly supports measures contained in the 2010 Federal Budget aimed at ensuring producers have access to competitive cattle processing operations in Canada.

Of particular note is the $25 million in 2010–11 targeted at cattle processing plants that handle over thirty month (OTM) cattle. The funding will address costs associated with OTM slaughter, a measure requested by the CCA, the Beef Value Chain Round Table, the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Meat Council, and Quebec Beef Producers. The CCA is extremely pleased to see the issue addressed in Budget 2010.

It costs more to slaughter an OTM animal in Canada than in the United States, due to the different approaches the two countries take in disposing of Specified Risk Materials (SRM). The cost of collecting and disposing of SRM in Canada has been a major issue since 2007. Cattle processing plants have closed, scaled back or changed policy to deal with the added costs.

“The budget measure of $25 million to manage the cost of processing over thirty month cattle will help to address this issue in the short term,” said CCA President Brad Wildeman. “Long term change, including regulatory alignment with the U.S., also needs to occur.”

The CCA continues to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on this front.

The Government of Canada also announced that funding available under the Slaughter Improvement Program will be increased by $10 million in 2010–11 to support the introduction of new, cost-effective technologies. As well, $40 million will be provided over three years to support the development and commercialization of innovative technologies related to the removal and use of SRM to reduce handling costs and create potential revenue sources from these materials.

Wildeman noted the $40 million investment for new technology for managing SRM is welcome as well. 
“These measures address a real threat to the long term profitability of the Canadian cattle industry. We hope as we transition to a more North American regulatory environment this will help to keep Canadian cow processing in Canada.”

The CCA looks forward to details of implementation following passage of the budget. The CCA works continuously to improve the competitiveness of the industry and we look forward to working alongside the Government of Canada to ensure these projects work as intended.