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Volume 21 Issue 04 • December 10, 2018

cows in field

Action News final issue for 2018

Welcome to the final edition of Action News for 2018. A big thank you to our readers for their continued support, and we look forward to another great year of bringing you the news when we resume publication on January 7, 2019. Action News is the go-to resource for the latest information on the ongoing efforts of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and industry news. Our popular free bi-weekly newsletter is available via email blast and CCA Twitter and Facebook. Have a safe and happy holiday season and we’ll see you in 2019.

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CCA promotes Canadian beef in Japan ahead of CPTPP

CCA Executive Vice President Dennis Laycraft was in Tokyo, Japan last week with Chef Mathieu Paré of the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence to promote and demonstrate the high quality goodness and versatility of Canadian Beef at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. The effort to drive interest comes ahead of the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which comes into effect on December 30, 2018.

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CUSMA aka NAFTA 2 update

On November 30, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Canada, United States and Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) along with President Donald Trump and Mexico’s outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto. CUSMA is what the Government of Canada will be calling the updated, modernized agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The United States will continue to call the new agreement the USMCA while Mexico refers to it as T-MEC.

Originally agreed to September 30, the timing of the ‘NAFTA 2’ trade pact was meaningful for cattle producers as they entered the fall run. The CCA actively pressed for a timely agreement with government officials, including staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, to provide certainty and help cattle buyers feel confident about the long-term stability of the market.
The CUSMA is essential to Canada’s beef industry. Canada and the U.S. share the largest trade between two countries and two-way trade of beef and live cattle in the world. The agreement preserves and will secure the duty-free access upon which the Canadian beef cattle sector has been built over the past quarter century. The CCA attended every round of discussions and provided key advice at critical points of negotiations. We are pleased CCA objectives were met, including leaving the terms of trade for beef alone and commitments to streamline regulatory cooperation and specific exclusion of U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) provisions in USMCA.
Now that the CUSMA has been signed, each of the three countries will commence its domestic legislative process to ratify and implement the new agreement. The CUSMA will come into force the 1st day of the third month of all countries completing their respective ratification process. Mid-March has been the popular estimate of the earliest that the U.S. Congress could approve the Agreement. In early December, President Trump triggered the six month notice for the U.S. to withdraw from the old NAFTA as a means to gain leverage over Congress to move diligently in approving the new Agreement.  The CCA will be keeping a close eye on how both the Congressional approval and the withdrawal timelines converge and provide predictable continuity.

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Sustainable beef part of the discussion in and around COP 24 Poland

The CCA was in Poland for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24). Our industry continually strives to be a global leader in sustainable beef production and a partner in dually achieving Canada’s economic and environmental targets.

Within the global beef industry there is a large variance in the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of beef production with Canada having one of the lowest in the world. Canadian beef producers have achieved this through investment and application of research and continue to drive towards further improvement and sharing of best practices through engaging in forums such as the COP 24.
  CCA Senior Manager, Government and International Relations Fawn Jackson also attended the European Beef Forum 2018 that was held just prior to COP 24 in Warsaw. One highlight of the forum was the indication that Poland will be moving forward with their own sustainable beef initiative. Canada has been a leading force in the sustainable beef conversation through the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. The CCA is pleased to see this important conversation and actions continue to grow globally.

Jackson also attended a COP 24 side event on sustainable landscapes. The workshop confirmed what Canada’s sustainable beef industry already knows – that high biodiversity is highly correlated to climate resilience. This is yet another reason it’s so important to keep native grasslands and the agriculture system that keeps grasslands healthy, she said.


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CCA hosts ABP, SCA Fly-in Days

CCA hosted ABP reps including Charlie Christie, Kelly Fraser, Cathy Sharp, and Brad Osadczuk
Osadczuk and Fraser with MP Martin Sheilds 
Osadczuk, Fraser and CCA's Brady Stadnicki with MP Glen Motz
CCA hosted SCA reps Levi Hull and Dean Moore.
Hull with MP Robert Kitchen
Hull with MP Tom Lukiwski
Photo credits: CCA, submitted

CCA held two ‘Fly-In Days’ recently with Alberta Beef Producers (November 27) and Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (December 4) representatives. The groups raised a number of important industry issues with policymakers in Ottawa that impact the productivity and competitiveness of the sector right across Canada. Topics included concerns regarding the proposed Transportation of Animals regulations and chronic shortages in the agriculture and beef processing workforce. The need to amend Bill C-68 to protect fish habitat without undermining farmers' ability to produce food in a sustainable manner was raised, as was the need for the continuation of the registered use of liquid strychnine for pest management control until an effective alternative is in place. Ensuring beef’s rightful place in the Canada Food Guide and Front of Package Labelling implications to ground beef were also top of mind. The groups thanked officials for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement, which will replace NAFTA. These and other market access opportunities will help the sector achieve Canada’s export targets – provided producers have the business and regulatory environment to allow them to reach their potential. 

These are just the latest groups CCA has hosted on Fly-In Days during the Fall Session, with Beef Farmers of Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, collectively representing the Maritime Beef Council, also participating. CCA hosted a total of 10 Fly-In Days in 2018 and looks forward to continuing to bring regional concerns to the nation’s capital in 2019.


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CBGA’s five yield grade readiness checklist

With the season of making last minute preparations and lists upon us, the Canadian Beef Grading Agency (CBGA) is embracing the spirit as it pertains to readiness for the Safe Foods for Canadians Act that will come into force on January 15, 2019.
The Act coming into force is linked to the much-anticipated adaptation of the U.S. equivalent five yield classes that was requested by the industry back in 2011. This made for a long list of items the CBGA and the packing industry needed to accomplish to ensure readiness for the transition.
To ensure consistent delivery across Canada, the CBGA has:  

  • Run validation trails and analyzed data to ensure appropriate assessment of five U.S. yield classes on Canada’s current fed cattle (completed mid 2018);
  • With the research expertise of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Lacombe, designed a new ruler based on validation trials and data analysis (completed mid 2018);
  • Manufactured a new grading ruler to facilitate objective assessment of the yield (delivery to graders mid Dec. 2018);
  • Created a training video to help train all graders on the use of the new ruler (scheduled for completion mid Dec.);
  • Ensured all grading team members are ready to identify and capture five yield classes effective January 15, 2019 (CBGA is on track).
To ensure compliance with the five yield classes, the packing industry has:
  • Participated in validation trials performed in mid 2018 and the packers supplied all the supporting data on the trials for analysis;
  • Adjusted their in-house data reporting systems to capture the five yield classes (ongoing at present);
  • Report grade and slaughter information to the CBGA starting the week of January 15, 2019 to reflect the yield changes.
With all these preparations in hand, the only ‘to-do’ item on the list is for the cow-calf, background and feedlot industry to:
  • Watch carcass data reporting closely to realize the value of five U.S. yield classes to facilitate management decisions for efficiency.

The CBGA wishes everyone the best of the holiday season and hopes the five yield classes will be greeted with the joy of knowing a long-awaited beef industry request will be delivered on as we move into the new year.

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How to raise beef eligible for the European Union

The year 2018 has shown positive development of demand for Canadian beef in Europe and, even with some hoops to jump through, there is money to be made raising beef that is eligible to be exported to Europe. The number of Canadian producers raising EU-eligible beef is growing, however there remains plenty of room for more to join the program. The CCA’s best estimate is that there are currently more than 100 producers enrolled in the Canadian Program for Certifying Freedom from Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) for Export of Beef to the EU compared with 35 last year. The CCA estimates about 5,000 producers are needed to maximize the potential of the Canada- EU Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).

Producers interested in learning more about the program can start by viewing the video and documents CCA has produced at

The next step is to arrange to meet with a veterinarian trained and authorized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to oversee the GEP-free program for the EU. The CFIA has been training additional vets to perform this function and provided CCA with a list of those vets, which is now available on the CCA website. We expect that the list will remain a work in progress as CFIA trains and authorizes more vets to provide this service. Indeed, CFIA has told CCA that they are eager to train and authorize more vets. Any veterinarian wishing to provide this service is encouraged to advise CFIA of their interest.

As mentioned in the last Action News, the two-way reciprocal trade relationship envisioned under the CETA is in its infancy but showing signs of growth. The latest trade data shows that trend continues. In 2018, from January to October, 264 tonnes of veal from the EU was imported into Canada, with the majority coming from the Netherlands, along with 2,536 tonnes of beef valued at $14.8 million. Exports of Canadian beef alone to the EU for the same period reached 771 tonnes valued at $11.3 million, representing a 87 per cent increase in volume and a 70 per cent increase in value compared to a year earlier.

Interest in Canadian beef in EU countries continues to grow and is an opportunity for Canadian producers to produce more EU beef.  In December, International Trade officials with the Canadian Embassy - The Hague helped organize a local Alberta beef event in the Netherlands. The distributor De Zeeuw’s (Rotterdam) decided to promote Alberta beef just a month earlier after getting good responses from their clients.

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How much do Canadians enjoy their home-cooked steaks?

To understand the satisfaction of Canadian beef consumers, a Retail Beef Satisfaction Benchmark was completed as part of the 2014-18 National Beef Quality Audit.

Consumer satisfaction with retail beef in Canada was assessed using four cuts of steak (boneless cross rib, top sirloin, inside round, or strip loin) from 75 stores across Canada. A total of 1,200 randomly selected consumers were provided with one cut of steak, instructed to prepare it at home and to provide a score out of 10 for juiciness, flavour, tenderness and overall rating. Consumers were screened to ensure they had some experience in preparing beef products and had consumed beef in the past year. The same retailers also provided 680 steaks which were tested for tenderness using a common technique called the Warner-Bratzler method at the Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) laboratory in Lacombe, AB.

The consumer satisfaction assessment revealed that 79 per cent of the test consumers gave an overall score of 7/10 or higher. Of the 1,200 consumers, 288 gave their steak a perfect rating (10/10). When the rest of the consumers were asked, “Why wasn’t it perfect?”, approximately 12 per cent of study consumers felt their cooking methods were solely or partially responsible. The consumers’ main concern (46%) was with the texture (tenderness and juiciness) of their steak. Flavour and fat content were least often noted as a concern (9% and 6% respectively).

As found in past studies, consumer satisfaction continues to be driven by tenderness. Laboratory results indicated that steak tenderness had improved slightly from previous testing in 2009.

Watch the related two-minute video at and learn more at

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BCRC webinar – using nasal vaccines effectively


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Season’s greeting from CCA President David Haywood-Farmer


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CCA Action News

Staff Contributors:  John Masswohl, Brady Stadnicki, Fawn Jackson, Beef Cattle Research Council, Canfax

Edited, compiled and/or written by: Gina Teel

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for Canada's beef cattle industry representing 60,000 beef farms and feedlots.

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