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Volume 23 Issue 08 • January 20, 2020

cows in field

Two-Year Transition-Period granted under Transportation Regulations for Livestock Sector

In December 2019, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie Claude Bibeau addressed beef cattle producers regarding livestock transportation regulations at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association BBQ on Parliament Hill. While the Minister indicated regulations would still come into force on February 20th, 2020, there will be a 2-year “transition period” on the feed, water, and rest interval provisions for the livestock sector. 
Below is the communique released by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) outlining the 2-year transition period details:
Graduated enforcement of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) Part XII (transport of animals) coming in to force as of February 20, 2020.
The CFIA has a mandate to enforce Canada's Health of Animals legislation, including updates made to the Transport of Animals provisions in Part XII of the HAR.   While ensuring the well-being of animals during transport remains our highest priority, we recognize that in some industry sectors significant adjustments are needed in order to meet the new transport of animal requirements as of February 20, 2020.  
How will CFIA enforce the regulations?
CFIA’s enforcement approach will balance the need to ensure the well-being of animals during the entire transportation process while supporting the different industry sectors in complying with the regulations.
Enforcement actions, where applicable, will be proportionate to the animal welfare situation and the seriousness of the non-compliance and may include notices (verbal or written) or a notice of violation (with warning or with monetary penalty). Factors such as potential or actual harm, compliance history and intent are also taken into consideration. 
CFIA will implement a transition period for the feed, water and rest time interval provisions for bovine and other sectors. 
Will CFIA take enforcement action with respect to the prescriptive feed, water, rest time interval provisions in the amended regulations?
The CFIA understands the challenges faced by some sectors in meeting the new requirements for feed, water and rest times, which could include a need for new infrastructure to be put in place or changes to marketing practices in order to meet the reduced times for feed, water and rest.
As industry transitions and adapts from the old regulations’ transport times to the new regulations’, the CFIA will focus its activities for feed water and rest times on compliance promotion through education and awareness measures for the first two years.  This is part of the CFIA’s compliance continuum.  This education approach will allow the CFIA and industry to continue to work together on effective solutions to identified issues and for livestock sectors to implement any adjustments.
Based on our initial interpretation, the CCA is pleased with the announcement and are hopeful a willingness exists on behalf of CFIA to pause and take into account ongoing government funded livestock transportation research. It is imperative that we get the regulations right and ensure the highest number of positive outcomes for transported animals.   
CCA is currently participating in a joint CFIA/industry working group tasked with identifying potential challenges with the regulations and develop solutions to these issues.  A main focus of the working group is to refine the CFIA’s current regulatory interpretive guidance document
With the February 20th implementation date approaching, we encourage cattle producers to contact the CCA with any questions about the regulations, which can be found online here.  CCA will continue to work closely with the CFIA over the two-year transition period to mitigate potential negative impacts from the regulations and maintain cattle producers’ strong track record of transporting cattle successfully in Canada. 

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Veal definition changes – Maximum carcass weight increased to 190kg

The new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) have incorporated by reference the Beef, Bison and Veal Carcass Grade Requirements Document as opposed to housing them in a direct federal regulation. This approach has provided the opportunity for industry 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 amendment has been a change to the definition of veal. Essentially veal is defined by weight and a change to the definition has been made; the maximum carcass weight is now 190 kg (changed from 180 kg). To ensure transparency and integrity of any amendment, the public must be provided an opportunity for comment. This particular amendment was posted for comment commencing September 9, 2019 and ending December 20, 2019, with three public comments received, all in favour of the proposed amendment. This change to the Beef, Bison and Veal Carcass Grade Requirements came into force Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
Link to Official Announcement:  (English Version)!lang/fr/index.html#news   (French Version) 

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Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association and Alberta Beef Producers release competitiveness study

Collaboratively, the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA) and the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) conducted an industry competitiveness study to determine the ability to profitably maintain or enhance market share of the Alberta beef industry in relation to its American counterparts.

The report established that the industry is and has been competitive and remains capable of maintaining competitiveness into the future. There are, however, factors and trends that have the potential to decrease competitiveness if they continue.

One concern is that in recent years, there have been added costs and regulatory measures imposed on the industry from the three levels of government.

“For the fed cattle industry, the most significant operating cost is feed,” says Janice Tranberg, CEO of ACFA. “Alberta has had a historical advantage due to barley, but with recent weather impacts, will that advantage remain in our favour? Then, after stripping away feed costs, the long-term margins in the industry are near breakeven. If pending taxes and regulatory policies are put into place in the next year, they translate into loses and potential downsizing of the whole industry.”

The report includes these factors as: labour, utilities, fuel, taxes, insurance and other supplies. These costs are relatively small compared to the feed costs but in a competitive narrow margin business, they are critical. 

“The big question for the cow-calf producer is why is the herd not growing in Alberta? Opportunities for higher returns in other sectors, farmland prices, and the cost of equipment and labour make entering the industry more difficult,” says Rich Smith, Executive Director of ABP. “ABP and ACFA are continually working with governments on producers’ behalf to reduce regulatory burden to keep them profitable and the industry not only viable, but growing.”

The comprehensive final report, completed by Serecon Inc. can be found here.

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Alberta rancher is McDonald's Canada's first Flagship Farmer

Photo Credit: McDonald's Canada.

Last month McDonald's Canada announced that Stephen Hughes, who ranches near Longview Alberta, is their first Canadian Flagship Farmer. The announcement took place at the 2019 Western Canada Soil Health and Grazing Conference in Edmonton.
The Hughes family have been operating the 2,200-hectare Chinook Ranch since 1950. Stephen partnered with his father aligning the operation towards sustainable viable beef production. There's a strong edict of sound year-round rotational grazing with a key to improving soil health and carbon sequestration on the ranch.
While Hughes is the first-ever Canadian Flagship farmer, the program is a global initiative of McDonald's. The purpose of the program is to enable and encourage farmer-to-farmer sharing of sustainable practices and the experiences around implementing those practices on farms and ranches. By sharing the successes and failures, the program helps producers help each other to determine what sustainability can mean on their operations and how it impacts producer's businesses and why it's important for the agricultural industry.
To learn more about the US program go here and to learn more about Hughes and the McDonald's Canada's Flagship Farmers go here.

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Canada-South Korea trade agreement anniversary

January 2020 marks the five-year anniversary of the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement and the sixth of fifteen annual tariff reductions. Prior to the entry into force of the CKFTA, Korean duties on Canadian exports of fresh, chilled and frozen beef cuts were 40%.  For 2020, the beef tariff for Canada is down to 24% and will be eliminated by 2029. For beef offal, tariffs of 18% will be eliminated by 2026 and are reduced to 8.2% for Canada in 2020. All beef and offals must be from animals under thirty months of age. Beef exports from Canada to South Korea increased to $38 million (year to date November, 2019), which was a 75% increase over 2014.

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Filing a food labelling product complaint – here's how

The effort to stop food producers and marketers from labelling vegetarian-based alternative protein food products as meat in Canada is part of an international movement towards achieving a common nomenclature for meat derived from animal-based proteins. Canada has its own regulatory requirements in this area, which should be respected. The use of health and environmental claims related to these products is also an area requiring enforcement. CCA has put together a document explaining how to file a food product complaint with the Government of Canada, regarding misleading labels.

To download a PDF version of the document go here

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Videos – Producers weigh in on their sustainability “WHY”

When defining sustainability and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) certification process

It's widely recognized that everyone may have a different definition of what sustainability means to him or her, from environmental practices to the importance of participating in and supporting community, and animal care to the all-important economics of beef production.  Check out the latest in the CRSB’s series of videos, where we ask Canadian beef producers across the country for their own personal definitions. Producers and processors also talk about the CRSB certification process, the benefit to their own operations, and the opportunities the process presents, for the operation, the beef industry, and for building public trust for beef sustainable production in Canada.

CRSB Certified: 3rd part audit process:

What does beef sustainability mean on the farm?

Check out the CRSB’s YouTube channel today!

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Canada’s Agriculture Day is coming up!

Let’s raise a fork to the food we love and the people who produce it! This February, celebrate Canadian agriculture and food both online and with friends, family and co-workers, and let everyone know how you feel about this awesome industry.

Looking for an idea on how to celebrate?

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BCRC 2019 highlights and deliverables

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is Canada’s industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. Our mandate is to:
  • Determine and communicate the Canadian beef cattle industry’s research and development priorities, and,
  • Administer the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds that have been assigned by producers to research.
The BCRC invites and funds projects and initiatives that have the greatest potential to benefit the sustainability and competitiveness of Canada’s beef industry. A committee of beef producers who proportionally represent each province’s research allocation of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off leads the BCRC.

2018 was a transition year for the BCRC in terms of both funding and program administration. An increase in the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off from $1 to $2.50 per head in most provinces and revised allocations to research has grown the BCRC’s research budget from approximately 15 cents to approximately 75 cents per head, allowing for continued advancements and expanded programming in 2019.

To read the complete blog post addressing the National Beef Strategy, Beef Cattle Industry Science Clusters, advancements with the Verified Beef Production Plus program and more, go here.

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Save the Date! CRSB Semi-Annual Meeting to be held March 31-April 1 in Calgary, AB

Registration details coming soon!

This year’s Semi-Annual Meeting will provide an opportunity for all of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef  (CRSB) committees and Council to meet to discuss progress, opportunities and challenges, as well as open discussion on the hot topics of sustainability for the CRSB this year.

All are welcome to attend and participate in the discussions as we continue our journey of continuous improvement and building trust in the sustainability of Canadian beef.

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep in the loop.

Photo Credit: CRSB.

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CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Jennifer Babcock, Fawn Jackson, Stina Nagel, Amie Peck, Brady Stadnicki, Andrea White, Canfax, BCRC.

Edited, compiled and/or written by: Larry Thomas
Platinum Partner of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association TESA program and Foundation Partner of the CYL Program

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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