Ottawa, ON - The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is pleased to announce Jim Clark, executive director, Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA) and the Ontario Corn Fed Beef (OCFB) Program as recipients of the 2016 Beef Industry Innovation and Sustainability Award (BIISA). Clark was selected to receive the 2016 BIISA for the development of OCFB, a producer-led branded beef program with a strong emphasis on sustainability and beef quality.
Managed by the OCFA, the OCFB program has grown into the largest producer-owned branded beef program in Canada, providing high quality beef for consumers and value for producers. The OCFB program utilizes cattle fed a specified corn-based ration on Ontario feeding operations using animals sourced from across Canada. The program communicates the core attributes of the Canadian Beef Advantage as part of the OCFB brand promise to promote the benefits of choosing Canadian beef from farm to fork. The value proposition includes good production practices, environmental stewardship, beef quality as well as Canada’s national animal health and food safety system, creating consumer awareness.
Today, OCFB is featured in more than 360 grocery and retail outlets across Ontario, and distributed to fine restaurants through major restaurant and food service providers. To maximize carcass value and utilization, the brand recently expanded into Japan with product featured as premium imported beef in more than 40 stores in Osaka, and is also making significant inroads as Canada Corn Fed Beef into the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
“Ontario Corn Fed Beef is a success story that could serve as a blueprint for branded programs across Canada that promote the Canadian Beef Advantage,” said CCA President Dave Solverson.
The OCFB program uses cattle produced under a documented Quality Assurance Program (QAP) that integrates food safety and quality management. The QAP was created by the OCFA to enable practical approaches to record keeping and good production practices to achieve the outcomes described in Canada's National Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle.
Solverson said the success of the OCFB brand is also due to enhanced communication between the sectors and everyone in the value chain involved with the brand. OCFB quality grade and source specifications are certified by the Canadian Beef Grading Agency and ensure that only beef with a grade of Canada AA or higher can qualify as OCFB product. OCFB partners with Ontario meat processors who share the vision of branded beef produced in accordance with defined quality standards.
Clark, who accepted the award during the CCA Annual General Meeting Reception in Ottawa, has led the program since its launch in 2001. “The OCFA set out to create a producer-owned branded beef program that would be recognized for producing a consistent, high quality product and for adding value to Canadian cattle,” he said.
“We appreciate the support of cattle producers across the country, our industry partners, processing partners - Cargill, St Helen’s, Ryding-Regency and Norwich Packers, our retail and distribution partners - Loblaws and Sysco, and most importantly, consumers who purchase our products. We are continuing to develop the Ontario Corn Fed Beef program with a focus on providing consumers around the world with a unique brand of great tasting Canadian beef,” Clark said.
The BIISA is awarded to any value chain partner in the beef cattle industry who successfully implements innovation that clearly demonstrates a contribution to industry competitiveness and sustainability.
In the beef cattle industry, innovation that contributes to industry sustainability can include improvements to practices, systems and products, and increased efficiencies in services or processes, on-farm and off-farm. Innovation can also apply to promotional or marketing campaigns, outreach efforts, research, and product development. Innovation occurs throughout the value chain and eligibility for the award is correspondingly broad.
For more information on the BIISA, and to download an application form for the 2017 award, please visit: http://www.cattle.ca/sustainability/contributors-to-sustainability/beef-industry-innovation-and-sustainability-award-biisa/