Executive Vice President’s Message



Canadian Cattle Association

Our theme this year focuses on sustainability and the growing export demand for our high-quality beef.

In 2014 we set out to be a global leader in sustainably raised beef and expanded our market opportunities around the world. Today we are leaders, and we are enjoying record export values and growing demand.

The investments that our industry has made in research, adoption, quality assurance, beef safety, marketing and promotion, and market access have positioned our industry as a trusted leader and reliable producer of some of the world’s finest beef. Both our national and provincial check-offs have funded this work, and our National Beef Strategy has brought us together.

Getting the product right and getting the right product to the right customer has been our strategy for years – distributing value more equally through the entire carcass. We now estimate that export sales increase the value of every fed animal we sell by over $1,150 by getting premium prices for products that we do not value as highly in Canada.

Even with the best-laid plans, Mother Nature still rules. 2023 could have been one of our best years with strong beef demand and record export values topping $6.7 billion. We set new record prices for calves, feeders, and fed cattle. Unfortunately, another year of drought in many parts of Western Canada and too much rain in Eastern Canada affected both pasture rates and feed availability and cost. Although the price signals were to grow our herd, drought forced further contraction.

Our export volumes were down but in direct relation to our reduced fed cattle production. When we have favorable conditions to restock and produce more cattle, we have a strong and diverse base of customers for our product. I am confident in saying our export markets are looking for more Canadian beef. In our largest market here at home, Canadians increasingly understand the nutritional benefits of Canadian beef and the environmental benefits of raising cattle in Canada.

On the policy front, our campaign to increase the recognition of our industry’s great environment story and sustainability leadership is one of our growing successes. We are increasingly being viewed as an important part of the solution to climate change, preserving biodiversity, reducing food waste, managing fire risk, and feeding the world.

We are on track to meet the ambitious goals we set out in the National Beef Strategy, particularly on reducing emissions confirmed that the recently completed Sustainability Assessment shows another 15 percent since 2014 and on track to meet the 33% goal by 2030, All of our reductions to date have been achieved by increasing efficiency,

We are now part of the Canadian delegations and the narrative at global forums – the world needs more Canada when it comes to cattle and beef.

On the market access side, we see Asia as being our great opportunity of the future and fully support the “Indo-Pacific” initiative that Canada is pursuing. We did push back on allowing the United Kingdom into the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) until our market access issues are addressed and our food safety system is fully accepted. The TPP is built on a high level of ambition and strong science-based principles. Any new entrant must fully meet those requirements. We have more to say on this and another access discussion in our Foreign Trade report.

2023 was also the year of Private Members’ bills. I have never seen so many bills receiving serious attention and potentially being passed – some are useful while others have become a platform for activists or political posturing. These will be covered in other parts of our annual report but is a concerning trend in Federal policymaking.

Overall, I remain excited about the future of our industry and optimistic about strong prices in 2024 and beyond. Hopefully, with better weather, we can restock our cow herds.

Dennis Laycraft


Canadian Cattle Association