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Volume 23 Issue 01 • October 07, 2019

cows in field

National Beef Industry Strategy 2020-2024 released

David Haywood-Farmer, President - Canadian Cattlemen’s Association speaks about the strategy in a posted video on Photo credit: CCA.

The Canadian Beef Advisors are pleased to release the 2020-24 National Beef Strategy. The strategy is designed to take advantage of the opportunities facing the industry while simultaneously addressing the challenges.
The development of the 2020-24 National Strategy has been a dynamic collaborative process engaging all industry sectors and national and provincial organizations. The Canadian Beef Advisors and provincial cattle associations believe a united industry is a stronger industry, and that a stronger industry benefits all those working in it today and into the future.
Substantial progress was made under the 2015-19 strategy and the intention is to continue building on the strengths of existing industry organizations. “The National Beef Strategy has provided real value for Canadian beef producers; it acts as a roadmap for the groups as they work together. We have set our industry up for success, now we just need to follow through.” said David Haywood-Farmer, Past Chair of the Beef Advisors.
The National Beef Strategy promotes a united approach to position the Canadian beef industry for greater profitability, growth and continued production of a high-quality beef product of choice in the world. The industry vision, mission and pillars remain unchanged from the 2015-19 strategy, but focus areas and tactics have been updated to reflect the current market and regulatory environment that producers face. The four pillars of Beef Demand, Competitiveness, Productivity and Connectivity provide a framework that supports producer viability.
Anne Wasko, Chair of the Beef Advisors notes “As global demand for all types of protein is growing there are opportunities for those with market access, supplies and a competitive cost of production.” There are exciting times ahead for agriculture as production adjusts to meet demand from a growing middle class in Asia.
The Canadian Beef Advisors consist of elected leaders and staff representation of the seven national beef organizations responsible for policy, marketing, research and sustainability. They are a diverse group of experienced industry representatives, who are responsible for advancing the strategy with the industry stakeholders, providing recommendations on future direction and reporting results against strategy goals and objectives.
Learn more about how stakeholders can achieve a dynamic and profitable Canadian cattle and beef industry at Here is the Full Report; a 6-page overview and, a 3-page summary in English and French

The National Beef Strategy is a collaborative effort by Canadian national beef sector organizations including the Beef Cattle Research Council, Canadian Beef Breeds Council, Canada Beef, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (and its provincial member associations), Canadian Meat Council, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, and the National Cattle Feeders’ Association.


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CCA Past President Dan Darling takes the helm of CAFTA

Dan Darling. Photo credit: CCA

At their recent annual general meeting earlier this month in Ottawa the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) elected Dan Darling, cow-calf producers and CCA's Past President from the Township of Cramahe of Northumberland Country ON, as their new president.

Darling works with his brother Van where they run 250 cows and background calves on 1,500 acres.They cash crop corn, soybeans and wheat for grain, as well as forages to feed the cowherd.

In a release CAFTA noted they look forward to advancing the alliance's trade priorities under Dan's leadership and are grateful to be able to benefit from his vast experience as a farmer, industry association executive and a committed free trader.

To learn more about CAFTA's agm and new board of directors go to

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CETA not delivering for Canadian agri-food exporters

The Canada and European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into force nearly two years ago and is one of Canada’s most ambitious trade initiatives. But the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) says CETA is not delivering for agri-food exporters.
In terms of overall agri-food trade with the EU, CAFTA highlights that since the entry into force of the agreement, EU exports to Canada have increased by over 10 per cent while Canadian agri-food exports have decreased by the same amount, increasing the trade deficit to $3.5 billion in favour of EU exporters. The EU market has the potential to result in significant benefits for agri-food exporters: the agreement could drive additional exports of $1.5 billion annually. And while increases are recorded for some grain exports to the EU from eastern Canada, overall durum wheat exports into Italy, one of Canada's top grain exports to the EU, have been cut in half since the introduction of Italian mandatory country of origin labelling regulations.
On the beef side, while the Canadian industry has achieved gains of 66% in value and 104% in volume for beef exports to the EU for May 2019 YTD versus the same period last year, the volume of Canada’s beef exports to the EU remains far below the potential. Beef exports to the EU are gaining traction, growing from 340 tonnes in 2016 to 1,059 tonnes in 2018, with 653 tonnes reported in the first five months of 2019. However, EU beef exports to Canada have grown from 1,719 tonnes in 2016 to 3,237 tonnes in 2018, and 2,641 tonnes for the first five months of 2019.
In order to utilize the 65,000 tonnes of duty free access obtained under CETA the beef sector must be able to satisfy the regulatory requirements of the European Union in a sustainable manner. In that regard, the most immediate challenge is establishing a supply chain of EU eligible animals. Furthermore, the current EU restrictions around the use of antimicrobial interventions present significant obstacles. Exports could be significantly increased by investing in the live animal supply chain, beef processing infrastructure, as well as expanding the options to certify the growth enhancing product (GEP) free status of various categories of Canadian cattle.
CAFTA echoes that more work remains to be done so Canadian agri-food exporters can take full advantage of the agreement. Such work includes achieving mutual recognition of meat processing systems, developing protocols to verify livestock production practices, addressing misaligned regulation of crop protection products, more predictable and timely review of seed technologies and ensuring country of origin labelling requirements are not applied in a trade restrictive manner.

“Mechanisms within CETA were supposed to prevent non-tariff barriers from stifling trade and ensure that parties abide by their commitment,” says CAFTA President Dan Darling. “Instead, with non-tariff barriers still in place, viable commercial access remains elusive. It is time for Canadian and EU lawmakers to honour the deal negotiated and deliver on the outcomes promised.”
For more information see the CAFTA release.

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Proposed amendment to beef, bison, and veal carcass grade requirements posted for public comment

The new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) have incorporated by reference the Beef, Bison and Veal Carcass Grades Requirements Document as opposed to housing them in a direct federal regulation.  This approach provides industry the opportunity to now manage the document through due process by the Canadian Beef Grading Agency (CBGA). The CBGA can now receive and process applications for amendments to this industry managed grade requirements document.

The first application for amendment proposed a change to the definition of veal.  Essentially veal is defined by weight and the proposal is to change the definition from having a maximum carcass weight of 180 kg to a maximum of 190 kg.   To ensure transparency and integrity of any proposed amendment, the public must be provided an opportunity for comment. Links to this particular amendment were posted to the CBGA website news page in English, and here in French, for a 60 day comment period commencing September 9, 2019.  Please go to the link to find full details of the proposed amendment and post your comments.

English link:  CBGA website news page in English
French Link: here in French!lang/fr/index.html#news

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#FairCattleMarkets & mCOOL

A recent social media movement, #FairCattleMarkets, originating in Kansas, has resurfaced concerns surrounding Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (mCOOL). The trending hashtag was taken over by groups such as Organization for Competitive Marketing (OCM) and Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), who are proposing a variety of measures they feel will rectify the discrepancy between primary producer and packer profit margins, including mCOOL. The movement planned a rally on October 2 in Omaha, Kansas to highlight these issues, on the same day the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the “Perspectives on the Livestock and Poultry Sectors” was underway.

Contrary to what this movement may suggest, past price changes in the U.S. were not related to mCOOL. From 2010 to 2015, U.S. beef production dropped 10%, mCOOL came into effect in 2010.   This decline in supplies, along with strong domestic and international demand, combined with the PED Virus, which saw U.S. pork production drop, all led to the spike in cattle/beef prices into 2014 and 2015. 

These developments come in the wake of an August fire at the Tyson Beef Plant in Holcomb, Kansas, which has impacted packer capacity in the region. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) policy staff is monitoring the situation and are continuing to engage with partners in the U.S. to maintain this vital trade relationship. CCA works closely with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, state cattle associations, the Canadian Embassy in the U.S. and government officials. CCA also maintains legal council in the U.S and has lobbied to retain retaliatory tariff rights should the U.S. ever reintroduce mCOOL.

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Panel delves into the producer benefits from pending ecosystem markets

The Farm Foundation in the US held a panel discussion last month at the National Press Club in Washington on Incentivizing Conservation Agriculture through the development of ecosystem services markets (ESM). The aim is to determine the potential to develop protocols and market systems to incentivize conservation management practices on farms and ranches and establish mechanisms for direct payments to producers based on good environmental practices and tangible ecosystem outcomes.  It's a ways off, but it appears, in the US at least, that the demand exists at the corporate buying level to support such services.
Joseph Somers, Vice President at IHS Markit, presented the results of a major study his firm conducted for the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC), an organization dedicated to advancing ESM that incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health systems that benefit society. The study surveyed over 100 US companies along with significant research on the potential supply, value and demand for markets in carbon credits and water quality credits related to field crop and speciality crop lands and rangelands/grasslands across the US.
The study estimates the value of carbon and water quality credits totals US $13.9 billion (carbon at US $5.2 billion and water quality credits at US $8.7 billion). The carbon volume potential tops 189 MMt CO2eq, which is the equivalent of removing 40.7 million passenger cars from US roads in one year.
So there appears to be the supply and the value, but the big question is - who will buy? ­ A significant number of major corporations and industrial firms, apparently
Somers says some companies seek to buy credits to comply with regulation ­– they have to do it. But there are a lot of companies that have publically stated environmental goals to try and benefit the environment so they're proactively seeking options.
"Also, shareholders have environmental expectations and are increasingly committed to improving the environment," Somers adds.
The major sectors showing a keen desire to delve into the credit buying market are the food and beverage, industrial, utilities and energy sectors.
The ESMC has been working on carbon and water quality offset protocols since 2018 and expects to be market ready by 2022. To view and listen to all the panel presentations visit the Farm Foundation's Forums archive.
And coming this November 19-20 in Calgary a similar gathering with a Canadian perspective will occur at the Grassland Conservation Markets Symposium. For more information and to register go here.

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CRSB Certified train gaining momentum

Consumers are looking for assurances about how their beef is raised, and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) research shows consumers trust third party assurance systems.  As the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework enters its the second full year of operation, there is obvious momentum building for beef sustainability across the supply chain, and an opportunity to show why the industry is leading in sustainable beef production.

Evidence shows increasing demand from the retail and foodservice sector, but in order to meet that demand, increased supply from the beef production sector is needed. In other words, WE NEED YOU! Contact one of the CRSB Certification Bodies today to get started.

There has been significant uptake from beef producers like you, such as a 16% increase this past year in enrolment, who already employ sustainable practices in their operations every day.  If you haven’t already, we encourage you to get recognized for the responsible practices you have employed for generations. Become CRSB Certified. From land and water stewardship to supporting your local communities, animal care to innovations, you embody the definition of beef sustainability.

Figure: Snapshot of Certified Sustainable beef production capacity

Buyers are increasingly seeking cattle from farms and ranches certified to the standards. When you market your cattle this fall, make sure you promote your farm or ranch as a Certified Sustainable Operation, if you have already been certified (audited), contact one of the approved Certification Bodies if you want to get involved and reap the rewards.

Adoption of the framework far exceeded expectations in 2018-19 with McDonald’s being the first to launch a program sourcing a portion of the beef volume in their Angus burger line-up (August 2018), followed by Harvey’s (June 2019) in their Original Burger campaign. Both are highlighting their support of sustainable beef production in Canada by using the Mass Balance Certification Mark to market beef, a portion of which is sourced from CRSB Certified Sustainable Farms and Ranches. 

As of July 31, 2019 there are two processors (Cargill High River & Atlantic Beef Products Inc.) certified to the CRSB’s Sustainable Beef Processing Standard, and both are providing producer incentives for their investment in sustainability certification. Three further processors are also audited to meet the CRSB’s Chain of Custody requirements. The quick and early adoption by these processors, and those further down the supply chain, are clear market signals to producers of the real demand for beef raised according to the sustainability standards developed by the CRSB.

Check this video out:

We are excited with the progress made to date, and look forward to continuing to build this program, and to provide value for Canadian beef.

Check out the CRSB 2019 Annual Report, particularly pages 14-15, for all the details.

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Registration open for the 2019/20 BCRC webinar series

This year’s webinar series will cover a range of topics from feed testing to external parasites and other practical, science-based information for Canadian beef producers.

Register here: 

You can register for as many (or all!) of the webinars you’re interested in at once. After you click the link above, be sure to scroll down to see and select for all eight (8).

2019/2020 BCRC Webinars

Does your feed pass the test? Making sense of feed test results - October 30, 2019, 7:00 PM MT.

Speakers:  Karin Schmid, Alberta Beef Producers and Megan Van Schaik, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

Do you ever look at a feed analysis report and think “huh?” Unsure of how to collect and send away feed samples for testing? Want to be sure you’re using feed wisely so your cattle perform as expected without wasting valuable feed? This webinar is for you.

Supplementing your cow herd: Managing the pregnant cow for better calf performance - November 21, 2019, 7:00 PM MT.

To see all of the topics and presenters view the BCRC webinars page here:

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CRSB AGM round-up

The CRSB held its Annual General Meeting and convention last month in beautiful Montreal Quebec. Once again, we had record attendance, with over 95 attendees and a sold-out industry tour.  Thank you to everyone who made the time to join the event and engage on beef sustainability in Canada.

We started off the event with a great tour including a feedlot operation and progressive dairy farm east of Montreal, and enjoyed a delicious lunch, wine tasting and tour at Vignoble Kobloth Winery. Thank you to Zoetis Canada for supporting this tour.
A reception hosted by Canada Beef, and featuring selections developed by the culinary team at the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence provided great networking opportunities for members and attendees. 

The agenda included something for everyone across the beef value chain and beyond:
  • National Beef Sustainability Strategy update - watch for an Interim Report coming in the new year
  • Project Spotlights showcasing continuous improvement in biodiversity, animal care, food waste and tools to increase productivity for beef producers
  • a Beef & Conservation Panel that explored the synergies and importance of beef production for conserving Canada's precious grasslands and biodiversity, role of beef production in carbon sequestration, and how we can share this story with the public.  The panel was moderated by Tim Hardman, World Wildlife Fund US, and featured:
    • Lara Ellis - ALUS Canada;
    • Kristine Tapley - Ducks Unlimited Canada, and
    • Bob Lowe - Canadian Cattlemen's Association
  • A Supply Chain Panel that discussed how the whole supply chain can better connect with consumers about beef sustainability.  The panel, sponsored by TrustBIX Inc. and moderated by Crystal Mackay, featured a powerhouse of panellists across the beef value chain:
    • Jean-Thomas Maltais - a Quebec beef producer and Chair of Les Producteurs de bovins du Quebec
    • Hubert Lau - President, TrustBIX Inc.
    • Bruce Andrews - Operations Manager, Atlantic Beef Products Inc.
    • Marcel Blais - President, CHOP Steakhouse
  • CRSB's 2019 Consumer Research results were presented, highlighting trends in beef sustainability, consumer perceptions about beef production and how this impacts their purchasing decisions, benchmarking / comparisons to our 2018 results, and key issues to watch and address in our communications strategy
  • A Consumer Insights Panel, presented by McDonald's, featured a fun, insightful range of consumers who provided their diverse perspectives on beef consumption, factors that affect purchasing decisions, what they think of beef and other protein alternatives, and more.
The membership adopted revised Bylaws, elected the 2019-2020 Council (see announcement here), and heard from each of CRSB's committees that guide its work.  We also had updates from the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops.

Throughout the meeting, a series of CRSB videos currently under development were shared, as we ramp up Communications this coming year.  Watch for an updated CRSBcertified website coming soon.

A key impact report for the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework was provided, highlighting the great work of our members and supply chain partners:

We are proud of the progress that has been made, and we see building demand and momentum for the certification program, thanks to our members and supply chain partners!

The day wrapped up with a banquet featuring beef provided by Cargill and a great keynote, presented by ATB Financial, from Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill Office for Science & Society, that separated fact from fiction, using science as the backbone + a little magic! Check out his new book "A Grain of Salt" coming out in October.

The CRSB's 2019 Annual Report was released - read it here.

For members interested in the convention proceedings, presentations and videos will be posted to MyCRSB by Friday, October 4.

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CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Brenna Grant, Stina Nagel, Andrea White, BCRC, CBGA, CANFAX.

Edited, compiled and/or written by: Larry Thomas

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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