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Volume 22 Issue 04 • June 10, 2019

cows in field
 

Asia firmly at the forefront of future demand growth for the world’s agriculture products

With a federal election slated for October one of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA)’s market access recommendations is for the Government of Canada to maintain dialogue that progresses agriculture trade within Asia.
 
The CCA applauds the federal government for implementing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which has increased exports of Canadian beef to Japan. Asia will be the largest growth region for beef over the next 25 years.
 
Brazil announced last week that it had temporarily halted beef exports to China following an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Mato Grosso. As China is the largest importer of Brazil’s beef, the CCA will closely monitor any impact on Canadian exports of beef to China.
 
Also, as China deals with African Swine Fever in the pork sector, their demand for global protein to fill the shortfall is anticipated to be volatile. There remain many unknowns about how big the pork shortfall will be, although all indications are that it will be significant regardless of the exact amount, when that supply gap will hit the market - as larger pork production over the winter of 2018/19 along with ample supplies of pork in storage make this difficult to determine - and how much consumers will switch to available alternatives or reduce protein consumption. In all scenarios, China remains an important market.
 
Chinese authorities recently expressed intent to increase inspections of Canadian pork. We are confident in the quality and safety of Canadian beef and efforts to ensure compliance with all trading partners’ requirements. Canadian establishments continue to meet the importing countries requirements and constantly work to prevent such issues.

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Senate committee recommends repeal of water flow subsection of Bill C-68 (Fisheries Act)

The Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans wrapped up evidence gathering on Bill C-68, the Fisheries Act, on May 16, 2019 and subsequently, on May 27, 2019, Committee Chair Senator Fabian Manning tabled the committee's report at Senate, which then voted in favour of the report and messaged it onto the House of Commons. The report recommends several amendments. The good news is the committee wants Senate to repeal subsection 2(2), the 'Deeming Habitat' provision. The CCA, as well as a significant number of resource and agriculture associations, had lobbied vigorously to have 2(2) struck from the proposed legislation. At time of writing it was unclear when the House would message Senate on the amendments.

The CCA had recommended Senate remove subsection 2(2), a last-minute addition to the definition of fish habitat in the Fisheries Act that would make it nearly impossible for beef and agricultural producers to follow the proposed Act. Subsection 2(2) to Bill C-68 greatly expanded what can be deemed fish habitat and is problematic because it deems areas with the necessary water flow characteristics to sustain ecosystems of fish habitat to be fish habitat. This is the case even if there are no fish using the area for any life process. The expansion of fish habitat results in practically all water bodies being fish habitat or deemed fish habitat.

The committee also recommends amending the proposed definition of fish habitat by removing the words "waters frequented by fish." The CCA had also recommended Senate address the regulatory burden on agricultural sector by providing a streamlined process and approval exemption criteria for small and low risk activities and establish clear and enforceable guidelines for artificial infrastructures or exempt artificial infrastructures.

During the evidence session on May 14, 2019, Nicholas Winfield, Director General, Ecosystems Management, Fisheries and Oceans Canada was asked by Senator Thomas J. McInnes if Fisheries and Oceans would consult with the agricultural sector on developing codes of practice to address concerns about regulatory burden on producers and agricultural structures. He received a promise this would happen within 12 months of the Act coming into force.

"I take your word for that. We have you on the record as saying that...I’m not one for laying on extra laws when you don’t need them or when you already have them. You have the ability to do it. We’ll take your commitment that sometime over the next 12 months," said Senator McInnis

"Beyond my words, Minister LeBlanc has also said it, and Minister Wilkinson has gone on the record as stating this," Winfield replied.

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ICYMI – CCA welcomes funding to support strengthening Canada’s meat industry

Earlier this month, the Government of Canada announced $1 million in AgriMarketing support for Canada’s meat industry. The funding, allocated to the Canadian Meat Council (CMC), will enable the CMC, CCA and the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) to undertake collaborative and targeted activities to strengthen and pave the way for further diversification of markets for Canadian beef and pork products. Such activities will include strengthening international trade relationships with foreign industry partners, providing expertise for global trade missions, and inspection visits by international officials to Canadian processing facilities to demonstrate food safety requirements.

The CCA thanks the Government of Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau for the funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriMarketing program. The ability to sell beef and beef by-products into the markets willing to pay the most for them is crucial to maximizing the value of each animal produced in Canada.

To read the CCA News Release in full, click here:

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Celebrating Environmental Stewardship

The CCA is pleased to feature the provincial stewardship award recipients in the running for the 2019 The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA). The recipient of the CCA’s national award will be announced at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August. As always, a common theme among recipients is a profound sense of obligation to care for land and animals. Through sharing their stories, insights, beliefs and values, readers can gain perspective about the relationship between stewardship and cattle production and the benefits of conservation to society. 

In this issue, we feature B.C. Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA) 2019 Ranch Sustainability Award recipient, Clifton Ranch, Wade and Sandra Clifton and Brad and Dianne Clifton.

Clifton Ranch (left) strives to protect the grasslands and the species that thrive there; stewardship that helps make the environment better. Existing water sources (right) are successfully managed with a creative series of about 100 water troughs.Photos: submitted

Clifton Ranch, B.C. Cattlemen’s Association 2019 Ranch Sustainability Award recipient

By Janet Kanters

U.S. Senator Ed Markey once said: “Education is not only a ladder of opportunity, but it is also an investment in our future.”

Nowhere is that truer than in today’s beef cattle sector. It’s one thing to go about your everyday life, raising cattle as best you can. It’s another to take the knowledge you’ve developed over a lifetime and share it with those not familiar with the industry.
 
Such is the life of Wade Clifton and his family near Keremeos, in B.C.’s Similkameen Valley. Clifton learned early about the benefits of environmental stewardship, and today, he is sharing that with others.
 
The Clifton family have been ranching in the Keremeos area since 1916, and the current ranch was purchased about 50 years ago by Wade’s father, Wilson Clifton. Clifton Ranch is a family operation, with Wade and wife Sandra and their children Cassie, Trisha and Megan; Wade’s sister-in-law Dianne Clifton and her late husband Brad, and their children John Ross and Maria; and Brad’s and Wade’s parents Wilson and June. The family all know what’s going on, but they all have their own areas of responsibility and expertise.
 
“Working in partnership with nature helps us keep the landscape as natural as possible,” said Wade Clifton. “When we have people here, they can see the grasslands are still being protected, the species are still being protected. We explain how it works and people get excited when they see we’re helping to make the environment better.”
 
Indeed, making the environment “better” is a long-term goal of Clifton Ranch which utilizes three ranges in the Princeton, Shuttle Creek and White Lake areas. Rotational pasture grazing is managed with the use of multiple float troughs and range fencing, and thousands of feet of pipe.
 
Range fencing in particular is an important management tool for the Cliftons. Unfortunately, significant fencing was lost to the 2018 wildfires and that has resulted in extra work to keep the cattle out. Despite the recent setback, Clifton shares the ranch’s range grazing best practices with fellow ranchers and government staff. As well, education is ongoing with the public and non-ranching community about the importance of range health, which includes invasive plant management and protection of habitat.
 
“It’s important for us to get that knowledge out to people on how grasslands work and the benefits of rotational grazing,” said Clifton.
 
Clifton Ranch is the recipient of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association 2019 Ranch Sustainability Award. Presented annually, the award takes into consideration livestock management, land stewardship, animal care, benefit to the environment and contributions to industry or community.
 
With 500 cow-calf pairs plus 50-70 bulls on test along with beef sales, Clifton Ranch is a busy place, complete with calving ground, feedlot, riparian areas and irrigated hay land. The cattle are grazed on owned, leased and crown grazing lands – in total about 60,000 acres.
 
The Clifton’s maximize their feed production on-farm by growing forage varieties suited to the Keremeos climate with the help of irrigation. They cut hay three times per year, allowing for the removal of the forage crop and resumption of irrigation and plant growth which, in turn, minimizes drought stress and maximizes growing potential.
 
The hot, dry and mainly sunny climate of the Similkameen Valley means challenges for beef producers. Wilson Clifton recognized early on that running cattle would require ingenuity. They drilled wells and seeded fields to forage. The ranch was one of the first in the area to own a bale wagon, and one of the first ranches in B.C. to start bagging silage. One of the main challenges is steep terrain and lack of water sources. However, they have successfully managed their existing water with a creative series of about 100 water troughs.
 
In 2000, the Nature Trust of British Columbia first partnered with Clifton Ranch with the establishment of the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch. The aim of the program was to showcase species at risk management by conserving and restoring natural grassland and associated ecosystems. Born from the program, the Keremeos Creek Fencing Project included fence installation along two kilometres of Keremeos Creek and development of alternate cattle watering facilities, thus protecting sensitive spawning habitat for Rainbow and Brook trout and enabling recovery of habitat for yellow-breasted chat, a songbird.
 
Wade Clifton said water developments paired with strategic fences is a good alternative to using fences to protect riparian zones. In his experience, he said cattle often prefer to use well-placed man-made watering systems.
 
“Putting in a water project rather than a fence to me is more beneficial for everybody,” he noted. “But putting water in more places, it actually enhances the ecosystems instead of depleting them.”
 
Clifton said he owes a lot of his values related to environmental stewardship to his father who “was always forward-thinking” of how to do it. “Over the years, if there was something that looked like it was going to improve things, then we went forward. Today we continue with that same mentality – making sure the grasslands are going to be there is part of ranching.”
 
For more information on all the provincial nominees in the running for the 2019 TESA to date, visit: http://www.cattle.ca/sustainability/the-environmental-stewardship-award/how-to-nominate/

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CCA Fly-In Day with SCA

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA) was in Ottawa June 4 for the final CCA Fly-In day with members this spring session. During Fly-In days, cattle producers representing CCA’s provincial member organizations travel to the nation’s capital to raise awareness on key beef industry issues provincially and federally with policy makers on Parliament Hill.

This spring CCA held five Fly-In days between January and June with Beef Farmers of Ontario, Manitoba Beef Producers, Alberta Beef Producers, Quebec Beef Producers and SCA. Key points during discussion included increasing market access for Canadian beef, ratification of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), transportation regulations, Bill C-68, the act to amend the Fisheries Act, risk management, expansion of price insurance and labour shortages in the primary agriculture and meat processing sectors.
 
CCA leadership and senior staff will be in Ottawa in June to discuss the beef cattle sector’s federal election priorities before the House adjourns for the summer.
 
CCA thanks all the ranchers and farmers across the country who take the time away from their operations to speak with MPs about what will make the Canadian beef industry stronger.

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Western farmers and ranchers needed for conservation survey

The CCA is collaborating with Dr. Jeremy Pittman from the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning (Canada) on a research project seeking ranchers’ and farmers’ preferences for species-at-risk and endangered species conservation programs in Western Canada (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). Specifically, the survey will gather participant insights into what conservation programs are desirable and best suited for their operations. It will also help Environment and Climate Change Canada evolve programs like SARPAL (Species At Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands) to align with the needs and preferences of western Canadian beef operations.
 
Participation in this study involves completing a 15-minute online survey found here: https://uwaterloo.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bw7CeipWl5yTg69
 
This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee.
 
Please direct any questions to Dr. Pittman at 1-519-888-4567 ext. 31544 or jpittman@uwaterloo.ca

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Bov-Innovation is happening in Calgary, AB on August 14

The Beef Cattle Research Council’s (BCRC) Bov-Innovation 2019 series will take place on August 14, 2019 as part of the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC). The 2019 CBIC is being held August 13-15 at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park in Calgary, AB.

Bov-Innovation features producer-focused sessions designed to highlight practical ideas that are rooted in research. Speakers will share their perspectives along with tried-and-true tips that beef farmers can implement immediately. This year features two sessions:
  • Bov-Innovation 1.0 Alternatives to Antibiotics is a timely take on practices producers can adopt that may prevent the need for antimicrobials. While not every illness or infection can be avoided, Steve Hendrick, DVM, a Coaldale, AB veterinarian, will explain some preventative methods farmers can adopt. Producer Stephen Hughes will share some of the benefits he has found with reduced antibiotic use.
  • Bov-Innovation 2.0 Dealing with Drought, John McKinnon, PhD, and Alberta producer Graeme Finn will provide their insight on making things work in less than ideal conditions. 
Learn more about the 2019 Bov-Innovation Sessions

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CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Larry Thomas, Brady Stadnicki, Fawn Jackson, Brenna Grant, 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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