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February 2021

BEEKEEPER: IMPROVING FRONTLINE EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS Beef Producers Make $2.9 Million Investment Olymel Announces Creation of 250 New Jobs in Production Capacity Family Farms Continue to Power U.S. Agriculture Why Food Sustainability Matters and How to Support It Celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day y meatbusinesspro.com


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FCC Providing $100,000 to 4-H Clubs in 2021 Beekeeper: Improving Frontline Employee Communications Beef Producers Make $2.9 Million Investment in Research and Technology Transfer r Olymel Announces Creation of 250 New Jobs in Production Capacity Canada’s Agriculture Day Celebrates Nation’s Trusted Food System Family Farms Continue to Power U.S. Agriculture

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New Tools Announced to Protect Ontario Turkey Producers

Uneven Recovery in U.S. Foodservice Sector Implies the Same for Animal Protein Why Food Sustainability Matters and How to Support It Winter Disease Surge Hampers China’s Hog Production Recovery February 23, 2021 Celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day




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February 2021 Volume 21 Number 4

PUBLISHER Ray Blumenfeld ray@meatbusiness.ca MANAGING EDITOR Scott Taylor publishing@meatbusiness.ca DIGITAL MEDIA EDITOR Cam Patterson cam@meatbusiness.ca CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Virginia Labbie, Tony Dorn, Dominique Patton, Cam Patterson

FCC PROVIDING $100,000 TO 4-H CLUBS IN 2021 4-H Canada has announced that the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) 4-H Club Fund will provide $100,000 to 203 4-H clubs, districts, and regions across Canada in 2021, to support local activities. A strong supporter of 4-H in Canada for over 25 years, FCC supports 4-H club initiatives each year by awarding up to $500 per club toward developing existing programs, covering costs associated with local events and exchanges, supporting volunteers, or purchasing resource materials. “By providing opportunities for young people to learn and grow, 4-H clubs across the country are preparing the next generation for success,” said Todd Klink, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at FCC. “FCC is proud to support these initiatives and the 4-H clubs that are helping develop our future leaders.”

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Patrick Cairns Meat Business Pro is published 12 times a year by We Communications West Inc.


We Communications West Inc. 106-530 Kenaston Boulevard Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3N 1Z4 Phone: 204.985.9502 Fax: 204.582.9800 Toll Free: 1.800.344.7055 E-mail: publishing@meatbusiness.ca Website: www.meatbusinesspro.com Meat Business Pro subscriptions are available for $28.00/year or $46.00/two years and includes the annual Buyers Guide issue. ©2020 We Communications West Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means in whole or in part, without prior written consent from the publisher. Printed in Canada. ISSN 1715-6726

The Club Fund is part of FCC’s commitment of $250,000 to 4-H Canada. In addition to supporting local 4-H club activities through the FCC 4-H Club Fund, this contribution supports national and provincial 4-H initiatives. “For over a quarter of a century, FCC has been a committed partner, helping 4-H Canada empower young leaders at the grassroots level in communities across the country,” said 4-H Canada CEO, Shannon Benner. “The FCC 4-H Club Fund helps build capacity for 4-H clubs and leaders to create programming that focuses on delivering world-class positive youth development in order to engage responsible, caring, and contributing youth leaders who effect positive change within their communities and in the world around them.” The next application period for the FCC 4-H Club Fund opens in August 2021. To view the list of recipients or for more information on the FCC 4-H Club Fund, visit 4-h-canada.ca/clubfunds.

ABOUT 4-H CANADA For over 100 years, 4-H Canada has been one of the most highly respected positive youth development organizations in Canada. 4-H in Canada has close to 23,500 members and more than 8,500 volunteer leaders. Our goal is to help young Canadians “Learn To Do By Doing” in a safe, inclusive and fun environment. We believe in nurturing responsible, caring and contributing youth leaders who are committed to positively impacting their communities across Canada and around the world. To learn more about 4-H Canada, please visit 4-h-canada.ca and follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

ABOUT FCC FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture and food lender, with a healthy loan portfolio of more than $41 billion. Our employees are dedicated to the future of Canadian agriculture and food. We provide flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge specifically designed for the agriculture and food industry. As a self-sustaining Crown corporation, we provide an appropriate return to our shareholder, and reinvest our profits back into the industry and communities we serve. For more information, visit fcc.ca. 100TH ISSUE | March/April 2019 February 2021 MEAT BUSINESS PRO 5

BEEKEEPER: IMPROVING FRONTLINE EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS By Cam Patterson We first became aware of Beekeeper at Meat Business Pro when we did a Q&A with Dennis Brewster from HyLife Foods some months ago. At the time, he discussed how implementing Beekeeper’s employee focused mobile communication platform changed the game for how HyLife was able to work with their employees to ensure workplace safety practices during the pandemic. Since that time, the world is now fighting against COVID-19. The meat processing industry, like all manufacturing and processing industries, is still working against the odds, but outbreaks are still happening in some plants regardless of PPE, sanitizing, and safe distancing measures. We reached out to Daniel Sztutwojner, Chief Customer Officer and co-founder of Beekeeper, based in Switzerland, for a more in-depth discussion about how Beekeeper’s communication solution software for frontline workers caught the attention of the meat processing industry around the world during the time of COVID-19.

we identified as not only beneficial for the hospitality industry, but for any industry that typically has a high number of frontline workers. MBP: HOW DID BEEKEEPER GET THE ATTENTION OF THE MEAT PROCESSING INDUSTRY? DS: We had been working with Smithfield for some time when an article from the CDC created a lot of awareness on the work we were doing with them. Now we're working with four of the major meat producers in the world. Our platform is particularly advantageous to meat processors. Many of their frontline employees are not working on a computer so they were needing a realtime connectivity solution that would digitally enable their employees.

MBP: PLEASE GIVE OUR READERS SOME BACKGROUND ON YOURSELF AND BEEKEEPER. DS: I'm one of the co-founders of Beekeeper and we started the company based on our experience in the hospitality sector, working with hotels in Switzerland. We realized that a major challenge in the industry was frontline employees not having access to corporatewide collaboration tools. When you have frontline staff distributed across multiple properties, it’s virtually impossible to share information with any kind of effectiveness. A communication tool that could unify everyone in the organization in real-time, across multiple disciplines and dialects, is something that 6


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It really comes down to increasing productivity efficiency and employee safety to ensure the highest product standards to the consumers. So, essentially, Beekeeper makes sure that everyone in the organization is digitally enabled to support these key areas of the business. This is particularly true for the meat processing industry. MBP: HOW CAN BEEKEEPER IMPROVE MACHINE MAINTENANCE AND PROCESSING WORKFLOWS WITHIN THE MEAT PROCESSING INDUSTRY? DS: For us, it's really how we can support the communication between the machines and the people that are operating the machines, so they can quickly identify when something is not working as planned. With Beekeeper they will get corresponding alerts so they can act in advance if a machine is not working up to speed. Where our program comes in is with the machine translated alert that is sent to an employee’s Beekeeper app on their phone. Because of the diversity in culture and languages so typical of the food processing industry, we are able to translate machine generated messages into their language in real time so they can respond more efficiently and avoid disruptions in the in the production line.




We definitely see that in the food and beverage industries there is a lot of automation. But where we see the big advantage is on automating the workers by making their flows much more efficient within the production workflow. So by digitally enabling all the employees with a digital identity, we can track processes and facilitate processing automation at a very high level. So, it’s not actually automation of the machine, but really automation on the employee side. MBP: WITH A REAL-TIME, TRANSLATABLE COMMUNICATION TOOL, THIS WOULD ALSO MEAN BEEKEEPER COULD REALLY IMPROVE FRONTLINE UPGRADING AND TRAINING OF EMPLOYEES WITH MULTIPLE DIALECTS. DS: We see a big opportunity for training frontline employees. The risk in any processing or manufacturing production line is employees being replaced with rapidly advancing automation technologies. So we definitely saw the need with Beekeeper in upgrading and training new and current employees with new skills in order to take advantage of new opportunities within the business. The goal with our technology for frontline workers was to always create a digital platform that will not only support workers, regardless of any language


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or location barriers, but also provide update “learning” access to develop new skills within the industry or company, so they can always stay relevant. MBP: CAN YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE? DS: Let’s say, for example, a new machine has been purchased that none of the frontline workers have used before. So now the company is faced with a massive upgrade and training program to get their employees up to speed. Down time costs money not only for the company but for frontline staff as well. But with Beekeeper, our platform provides the channel for management to roll out new training plans simultaneously to frontline workers, translated to their language. This all happens through the Beekeeper app. MBP: ARE YOU ALSO WORKING DIRECTLY WITH PROCESSING EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS AS WELL? DS: That is something we're looking into. We have built partnerships with a variety of vendors in the meat production industry. For example, we have partnerships with Kronos, which is a tool that is being used a lot in food production. We coordinate with the IT teams of our vendors to implement communication between their machine and the Beekeeper app. So if the machine spits out an error, in theory, our program is going to interpret that machine’s alert and translate it if necessary, so that the right person gets a real time directive from the machine. MBP: LET’S SHIFT OVER TO COVID-19 AND THE IMPACT BEEKEEPER HAD ON FRONTLINE EMPLOYEES WORKING IN THE PROCESSING PLANTS. DS: This year we had increased growth because meat producers had such a high infection rates of COVID-19. And this was not only our Canadian and U.S. customers, but our customers in Europe that were equally affected. What they realized is they needed an immediate channel to connect the employees that was beyond the bulletin board and the hope that their staff will read it. Things were changing so quickly. With food security being crucial, meat production had to keep going. Most processing plants had significant inefficiencies to communicate effectively. Individual text messages and emails were not the answer because there is no way to track whether employees received the message or provided feedback. But once your entire workforce is connected with a digital identity, now you can send them high-priority alerts and up-to-date training. We can digitize paper processes, and we all know there are a lot of paper processes in food production. 8 8

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Plus you cover the language barrier because the meat processing industry is a diverse, migrant based workforce. The ability to have real-time translation on a platform that can manage a collaborative, real time learning environment between staff, plus automated communication between machine, became hugely more important when the pandemic hit. The meat processing industry needed to update a lot of standard procedures with new safety measures and a new way of working. And if you don't have an effective way of rolling out new procedures to ensure the safety of the employees working on the farm, or in the barn, or on the processing floor, then this process is very lengthy and challenging. And let’s not forget that with new social distancing measures, you couldn’t have employees congregating around the bulletin boards. So by giving them the information digitally on their phones with Beekeeper, they didn't have to risk being too close together. They could work on their own and still be informed and connected, and aligned with last minute updates and company polices. Those are just some examples that Beekeeper was able to provide to improve frontline safety during COVID-19. MBP: HAS BEEKEEPER CREATED ANY SPECIFIC MODULES FOR THE APP THAT THAT ARE SPECIFIC TO HANDLING COVID-19? DS: We have specific templates - based on user cases from our customers - they can deploy throughout their organization. For example, forms, health and safety checkpoints that employees need to complete, ensuring they don't have any symptoms before they can start their shift. Business agility has been crucial during the pandemic. Making sure that every employee is connected and reachable, so companies can adjust quickly to ensure safety during production has been crucial. So, thankfully, this business agility was something that could be enabled through a platform like Beekeeper.

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BEEF PRODUCERS MAKE $2.9 MILLION INVESTMENT IN RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER More than $2.9 million dollars will be invested by beef producers into new research and technology transfer projects in 2021 through the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off. Proposals for twenty-nine more projects have been approved for funding by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) to advance Canada’s beef sector.

gaps,” he said. “The BCRC doesn’t have the capacity to provide the needed one-on-one consultation for beef producers, but we can support or lead projects that make meaningful science-based information freely available on beefresearch.ca in numerous formats that are helpful in making informed decisions.” Newly funded technology transfer projects include an expansion of the Forage U-Pick tool to include Eastern Canada, and creation of additional resources on beefresearch.ca applicable to producers in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Another project will collaborate with practicing veterinarians across Canada to develop decision making tools for their beef clients that help improve herd health and profitability. There is no cost to subscribe to be notified by email of new research results or seasonal, science-based production information and decision-making tools.

Matt Bowman, BCRC Chair and a producer from Thornloe, Ontario, said the new projects add to the Council’s portfolio of research investments. “We are supporting more work focused on achieving specific priority outcomes in the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy related to animal health and welfare, feed production and utilization, food safety and environmental stewardship,” said Bowman. “For example, new studies to quantify soil carbon sequestration through different grazing and intercropping systems, and others looking into causes and prevention of issues like scours and itchy cattle.” BCRC Vice-Chair Craig Lehr, a producer from Medicine Hat, Alberta, said knowledge translation and technology transfer is also a priority for the Council. “As provincial governments continue to cut valuable extension services, we do what we can to help fill the 10 10


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The recent increase in Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off in most provinces enabled annual competitive calls for proposals for research and technology transfer projects to address critically underfunded priorities. The increase also resulted in the launch of a new BCRC program that funds short-term proof of concept and validation trials.

Researchers are required to procure matching funds that leverage BCRC funding on a 1:2 or higher basis. Industry investment through check-off sends a clear message to governments about priorities and helps to procure investment by governments to multiply the impacts of producer dollars. The BCRC is Canada's industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. It is funded through a portion of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off as well as government and industry funding and is directed by a committee of beef producers from across the country. This announcement adds to the 86 projects co-funded by the BCRC that are currently underway at 30 Canadian institutions.


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OLYMEL ANNOUNCES CREATION OF 250 NEW JOBS IN PRODUCTION CAPACITY Olymel has announced an investment of $9 million to set up a second shift at its Ange-Gardien (formerly F.Ménard) hog slaughtering, cutting and deboning plant in Montérégie-Est, Quebec. This investment and the new evening shift will create more than 250 new jobs and should be in operation by next September. The plant, which already employs a total of 680 people, will see that number grow to more than 900, making it one of the largest employers in the region. "This announcement is in line with Olymel's development strategy and growth objectives. Olymel is capitalizing on synergies from the January 2020 acquisition of F.Ménard, one of the leaders of the Quebec pork industry. With this investment, our company will have the opportunity to devote a greater part of its activities to value-added products and will be able to consolidate its position in its domestic and international markets. With the completion of this project, Olymel remains a major player in the agrifood processing industry in Quebec and Canada and is helping create stable jobs that are revitalizing our regions, in this case, Montérégie," said Olymel President and CEO Réjean Nadeau.

and the market needs, this plant should be able to reach a slaughter capacity of 50,000 hogs per week. The Olymel Ange-Gardien plant will continue to be supplied by the privately owned farms acquired from F.Ménard, those of its associated breeders and those in the central Quebec hog-producing region. ABOUT OLYMEL

Olymel is Canada's leader in the production, processing and distribution of pork and poultry meats. The company employs over 15,000 people and has production and processing facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. The company markets its products mainly under the Olymel, Lafleur, Flamingo, Pinty's, Tour Eiffel and F. Ménard brands.


Renovations have already begun to accommodate this second shift. They include the addition of freezing capacity and the expansion of the cafeteria and employee parking areas. The plant has also undertaken work to upgrade its wastewater treatment equipment. Once this work is completed, this second shift will allow the Ange-Gardien facility to gradually increase its weekly slaughter capacity from 25,000 to 35,000 in the first phase. Depending on the availability in deliveries 12 12


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https://www.beaconmetals.com 100TH ISSUE | March/April 2019 April 2020



Red meat is often wrongly portrayed as being unhealthy. Even chicken has been getting attacked by some in the media as unhealthy or not environmentally friendly. Vegan, fish and other non-meat diets have been proposed as healthier alternatives. The result of this onslaught of negative meat messages has influenced many families to cut back on their meat and poultry purchases. Perceptions may reality but truth trumps misinformation. Parents and other consumers want what is best for their health and that of their families. They arewill also that a lotisofannual false information out there Canada beaware celebrating Ag Day onisFebruary and as such, are open to scientific facts that can correct 23. This year the day will bring together leaders fromtheir misconceptions.

liver, 625 grams of cooked beef or an astounding 2.4 kg of spinach.

CANADA’S AGRICULTURE DAY CELEBRATES Iron found in vegetables is harder to absorb than the iron found in meat asSYSTEM it is attached to fibre which inhibits its NATION’S TRUSTED FOOD

major food and agriculture companies in a fireside chat Thiswill provides foron retail departments that push an theopportunity boundaries themeat opportunities to implement an instore ‘Healthy Meat Facts’ nutritional available for agriculture and food and Canada’s campaign to set the record straight and convince their potential asthat a global foodpoultry supplier. customers meat and are actually good for one’s

health and that they should increase rather than decrease The also offers chance to beoutlined a part of a national theirday purchases of it.aThe campaign below can have a direct impact on sales: celebration of the industry on social media. Start by displaying instore posters promoting the nutritional

value of meat. They should eye catching “Canada’s Agriculture Daybe is ainnovative, perfect time to thankand the be designed to specifically any meat myths. The women and men who arecontradict the backbone of growing, commentsand should all be literaturefood based quoting producing manufacturing across ourresearch country,” papers or MDs for maximum effect. Various posters should said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and be made - each with a brief but powerful message covering Agri-Food one theme.Canada, in announcing the fifth anniversary of Canada’s Agriculture Day on February 23. Posters can convey the following healthy meat fact messages:

“Farmers and food businesses across Canada have 1. Let’s IRON out the Truth on Meat! stepped up this year despiteamount all theofchallenges “You would needpast to eat a massive spinach to thrown their by COVID-19. us evenGolden, more equal (the ironway content) in a steak,”This saysgives Christopher reason to celebrate Canadian agriculture and everyone an ecologist and epidemiologist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. quoted by nature.com in the who is working hard to keep(Asour grocery store shelves article ‘Brain clever eating’.)food,” Minister Bibeau stocked with foodquality Canadian For a woman to receive her recommended daily intake of 18 said. mg of iron, she would need just 300 grams of cooked bovine


Eat Meat for Healthier Brain! “I2.encourage allaCanadians to join in the celebrations Being deficient in the micronutrients found in meat have been and engage whatever way you can. Just as Canadians linked with low IQ, autism, depression and dementia says have celebrated the efforts of health workers this Dr. Charlotte Neumann, a paediatrician atcare the University of past year, together, can create a chorus of love and California, as quoted we in the article ‘Brain food- clever eating’. thanks for ourfor farm families and foodVitamin businesses.” Zinc is crucial learning and memory. B12 preserves the sheaths that protect nerves.

The COVID-19 pandemic keeps us from experiencing 3. Boost Your Immunity with Meat! in-person events, so powers, the fifthzinc edition of Canada’s Due to its antioxidant is involved in creating Agriculture a virtual event inour place antibodies toDay fightincludes free radicals that increase risk of forthe chronic diseases. traditional conference in Ottawa that brought together industry as well as students from 4. Powerand Yourpolitical Muscleleaders, Growth with Meat! The protein in meat helps build and This repairyear body tissues. across the country in years past. industry leaders will celebrate the day with a fireside Muscles are made of protein. That is why athleteschat who are focused on the strength opportunities ahead for Canadian building muscle increase their meat consumption. The protein and found in meat are important for muscle agriculture and zinc food.  growth and repair. 5. Meat is the Complete Protein! Meat contains all of the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make by itself. Say ‘hello’ to histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lycine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, and valine. That is why meat is called a complete protein. 6. Eat Meat for a Healthy Heart! Meat contains lots of the B vitamins needed for the production of hormones, red blood cells and for the proper functioning of your nervous system. Say ‘hello’ to niacin, folic acid, thiamine, biotin, panthothenic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. They are all found in meat. The line that ‘the best defense is a good offense’ does not only apply to sports. It also applies to countering negative meat health myths. Implementing an instore ‘Healthy Meat Facts’ nutritional campaign to set the record straight on meat and poultry. It is a good way to go on the offensive by using education your customers and increasing your sales.. Ronnie P. Cons is CEO of C&C Packing Inc., a leading Canadian distributor of meat and poultry. He can be reached at RCons@CCpacking.com.


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meatbusiness.ca meatbusinesspro.com

Farm Credit Ccanada (FCC) President and CEO, Michael Hoffort and Canada’s Ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, will discuss how Canada can live into its potential as a global food supplier. The virtual event will also feature a panel discussion with thought leaders Chantelle Donahue from Cargill, Daniel Vielfaure from Bonduelle and Murad Al-Katib from AGT Foods.

LeClair said Canadians can show their support by sharing their favourite food or agriculture photo, or even by trying a favourite recipe with all Canadian ingredients. “There are so many easy ways to show appreciation and celebrate. Don’t forget to take a photo as you raise your fork to our great Canadian food system, then share it on social media using #CdnAgDay.”   During the 90-minute program, the panel will focus LeClair encourages producers and processors in every on global growth prospects in food and how the sector of Canada’s agriculture and food industry to agriculture and food industry can be a powerful tool in show their pride and passion by engaging consumers in Global public health showcases services for Canada’s growing and fast-changing the economic recovery of theorganization nation. positive conversations online or in person, showcasing food industry the ways they see growth and contributions to the Additionally, whether you are a producer or a industry we International all rely on.   Association for Continuing NSF International in Canada recently launched a new accredited consumer, you are invited to raise your fork and share   website - www.nsfcanada.ca - to give Canada’s growing Education and Training (IACET) site. Topics include HACCP, yourand Canadian on socialindustry media. easy access Last year, #CdnAgDay reached millions of Canadians complexfood foodstory and beverage food safety and quality, GFSI benchmarked standards, on regulations   to the global public health organization’s expertise and social media.(including FSMA), food science, food packaging, services in Canada. combines and information food microbiology and ISO standards. Training modalities “Each year on Canada’sThe Agwebsite Day, consumers on the depth, experience and capabilities of the NSF on-site, customized and open enrolment. producers alike share common positivity around Forinclude moreeLearning, ideas on how to celebrate Canada’s International Canadian office with access to NSF Additionally, the website includes information about agriculture and food, and this year we are seeing that Agriculture Day, visit AgDay.ca.  International’s global services dedicated to food safety management system registrations for the food, automotive, moreand than ever,” said Isaac LeClair, spokesperson for quality. environmental, information security, medical devices, Agriculture More Than Ever, one of the driving forces Evolving regulations across countries and increasing aerospace and chemical industries, as well as for Ontario behind Canada’s Agriculture Day. “The people behind complexities associated with a globalized food supply drinking water programs. the ag and food industry havefor adapted in remarkable network present challenges NSF International clients in Visit the new Canadian website at www.nsfcanada.ca to review the food waysCanada in the and pastaround year, and Canadians noticed and website the world. The new Canadian safety services capabilities video, find a list of Canadian food experts, learn appreciated their efforts.” about upcoming events and global news releases, a question offers expertise and services to help companies navigate YesGroup_CanadianMeatBusiness-Qtr-pg.pdf 1 submit 2014-05-16 1:20:17 PMor read


these challenges, including certification and auditing, technical training and education, The consulting, Canadian Centre forservices, Food Integrity’s 2020 Public food and label compliance, packaging, and product and Trust Research Report shows Canadians are optimistic process development.

an FAQ.

about their food supply, even as Canada’s food NSFfaces International’s Canadian website information system exceptional pressure and provides public scrutiny on the following services: due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian food Certification & auditing: food safety audits system’s pandemic responseThird-party has earned high praise by and certifications, which are integral components of consumers. Nearly nine in 10 respondents (87%) said supplier selection and regulatory compliance. Accurate they trust the food system will ensure the availability of audits are the first step toward successful verification healthy for Canadians. of a food company’s food safety system, providing improved brand protection and customer confidence. Certifications and audits are available for animal and produce in the agriculture industry, GFSI certification and management system registration. Consulting: A full-service team approach providing technical resources, expertise and insight for a wide range of food safety and quality services. NSF International provides finished product inspection testing for food, packaging and non-food testing for rapid analysis and insight to protect the brand, technical support services from on-site temporary or permanent technical staffing placements, and various types of consulting. Technical services: A one-stop solution for food product compliance and formulation, from concept to finished product, including food and label compliance, packaging, product and process development, and shelf-life and product evaluation.


Training and education: Training for the global food and beverage industry across the supply chain as an meatbusinesspro.com meatbusiness.ca

February 2021 MEAT BUSINESS PRO 15 100TH ISSUE | March/April 2017 2019 September/October CANADIAN MEAT BUSINESS 23 15

FAMILY FARMS CONTINUE TO POWER U.S. AGRICULTURE By Tony Dorn, Environmental, Economics, and Demographics Branch Chief, USDA

What do you think of when you hear the phrase familyowned business? You may not immediately think of the family farm, but they are just as important to our economy and communities. In fact, family farms account for 96% of all U.S. farms, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture Farm Typology report released in late January 2021 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). These farms – 1,789,439 small family farms, 108,304 mid-size family farms, and 52,592 largescale family farms – collectively produced $318 billion worth of agricultural products in 2017. Typology classifies all farms into categories based on two criteria – who owns the operation and gross cash farm income (GCFI). GCFI includes the farm producer’s sales of crops and livestock, fees for delivering commodities under production contracts, government payments, and farm-related income. USDA defines small family farms as those with a GCFI of less than $350,000; mid-size farms have a GCFI of $350,000 to $999,999; and large-scale farms are those with a GCFI of $1 million or more. The typology report focuses primarily on the family farm. Why are typology data important? Because supporting U.S. agriculture – the farms that feed our country and the world – requires understanding its diversity. America’s 2 million farms range from operations that can produce and sell $1,000 of agricultural products in a year to multimilliondollar enterprises. Trying to pinpoint meaningful characteristics of the “average” U.S. farm from this alone would be misleading; important differences based on farm size and type might be overlooked. Typology allows us to better assess the health of U.S. farms, the farmers who live and work on them, and the impact of policies by grouping operations into more homogenous categories. 16 16


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These data show that family farms, defined as any farm where the majority of the business is owned by the operator and individuals related to the operator, remain the beating heart of American agriculture. The report also found small family farms account for 88% of all farms in the United States. Small family-owned farms accounted for 19% of the value of all agricultural products sold in 2017, including 45% of direct-to-consumer sales, according to the report. To continue supporting the small farms that give so much to our country and the world, it’s critical to have accurate data that are put into proper context to identify meaningful trends. That’s where typology comes in.

More information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture Farm Typology report, including additional resources, such as Highlights and maps, are available on the NASS website. Visit nass.usda.gov/AgCensus to learn more about the Census of Agriculture.

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NEW TOOLS ANNOUNCED TO PROTECT ONTARIO TURKEY PRODUCERS Canada’s turkey industry generates products worth $382.6 million, and up to $42.6 million in exports to 37 countries. Outbreaks of infectious diseases like avian influenza can impact producers’ ability to maintain operations and resume normal business practices, resulting in significant economic losses. The Government of Canada is committed to working with industry partners to develop tools that help farmers manage this risk. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Neil Ellis and Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga Tim Louis, on behalf of Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau, has announced funding of up to $559,285 to help Turkey Farmers of Ontario finalize and launch a new insurance product to protect Ontario turkey producers from losses associated with outbreaks of avian influenza. “Ontario’s turkey farmers are a vital part of our communities,” stated Neil Ellis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “The development of this new risk management product is another example of how the Government of Canada and Turkey Farmers of Ontario are working together to keep the industry on even footing through challenges.”

“Disease outbreaks can have a big impact on producers and our Government is working hard to support them when they face these challenges. This new insurance product will help Ontario turkey farmers in their efforts to protect their businesses and return to production following a sudden outbreak of avian influenza,” stated Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and AgriFood. This innovative product will help the turkey industry improve its resiliency and ensure Ontario producers are able to resume production as soon as possible when disaster strikes. Brian Ricker, Chair, Turkey Farmers of Ontario said, “The turkey industry has encountered numerous challenges over the past few years and this funding is very important for the implementation of an Avian Influenza Insurance Program. This will protect not only turkey producers but by extension the poultry industry in Ontario.”

When fully implemented, this product will help bridge the gap in existing coverage. Specifically, it will cover economic losses resulting from the difference between compensation through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for animals ordered destroyed and their full market value. This may include incremental costs such as cleaning and disinfection, veterinary services, the disposal of feed, and other costs related to the resumption of operations.

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DF: I don’t think being on the island has really impacted us negatively one way or the other. We’ve traveled a lot, met a lot of other farmers and livestock • The AgriRisk Initiatives: producers in other Administrative parts of Canada, and Capacity Building Stream provides we all seem to have the samefunding issues and same concerns. to implement and test new financial tools

which allow producers to manage defined CMB: I understand that your afarm business risk. was the first in Atlantic Canada to be involved in the TESA program.

• Although avian can the affect DF: Yes, Iinfluenza think we were first all farm types of poultry, turkeys to be more east of Ontario asappear far as I understand. I’mthan not sure whypoultry the eastern susceptible other groups. associations wouldn’t have previously anybody because there are • This newnominated insurance product will be many farms here on PEI doing every mandatory for all turkey farmers in Ontario bit as much as we are as to attain a and, oncehigh launched, will be administered level of sustainability. Anyway, by the Poultry Insurance Exchange we were very surprised when the PEI ReciprocalCattleman’s of Canada. Association nominated our farm.

• Established inAnd 1965, Farmers CMB: thenTurkey you were attending the of OntarioCanadian is a producer organization Beef conference in Calgary representing turkey farmers across the and 176 you won. province. DF: Yeah! That was a very nice moment for us. But I don’t like to use the word win actually. However, being recognized for our commitment was a real honour. If you want to know the truth, it was a pretty humbling experience. As I said to CBC when they phoned me after the conference, I was just floored, really couldn’t believe it. CMB: So now that you have been recognized, do you think that will draw more attention and garner more nominations out of Atlantic Canada going forward? DF: Absolutely. We’ve gotten a lot of good press highlighting the island cattle industry. I’m positive you’ll see more farms in our neck of the woods nominated next year. And I have to give the Canadian Cattleman’s Association recognition for choosing a farm from Prince Edward Island. We are small players in the national beef industry and I think it was a real credit to their organization to recognize us. They treated all the nominees royally and it was a real class act. It was a wonderful experience.



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100TH ISSUE | March/April 20192020 CANADIAN MEAT BUSINESS 1919 November

UNEVEN RECOVERY IN U.S. FOODSERVICE SECTOR IMPLIES THE SAME FOR ANIMAL PROTEIN Flexibility remains critical for animal protein industry, as foodservice sales not likely to reach pre-pandemic levels before mid-2022 As COVID-19 spread across the country last year, it spurred the “great grocery grab of 2020” - a shift to athome food consumption not seen since the early 1980s. The abrupt change also forced the most significant shift in meat supplies the industry has experienced, diverting massive volumes of meat and other food originally intended for restaurants into retail distribution channels and grocery stores.

The importance of individual foodservice channels varies significantly by animal protein species and by producer. Some foodservice channels have rebounded to achieve sales growth, as evidenced by the quickservice (QSR) and fast casual restaurant concepts that have recorded positive comparable-store sales since the summer.

U.S. animal protein supplies have returned to normal and foodservice sales have improved since the onset of the pandemic but may not return to pre-pandemic levels until the second half of 2022, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. “Trends in consumer demand for at-home and awayfrom-home consumption are central to the profitability and viability of the U.S. animal protein supply chain,” said Will Sawyer, lead animal protein economist with CoBank. “As the U.S. foodservice sector climbs out of the hole left by 2020, the animal protein sector will not only need to realign itself with the survivors of the last year, but also remain flexible.”

Full-service restaurants however continue to face double-digit declines in sales. In November, fullservice restaurant sales were down 36% compared to last year while total foodservice sales were down 17%. In-restaurant dining will be vulnerable as long as consumers remain wary of dining indoors and COVID-19 cases remain elevated. Varying performance of the different foodservice channels is especially evident in U.S. beef consumption. While ground beef makes up a majority of beef volume through foodservice, it represents only about one-third of the value due to its low price point.

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In the limited-service restaurant channels, ground beef has performed quite well, but the beef sector continues to be hurt by the depressed full-service restaurants, hotels, and education channels. High-value steaks and roasts that are primarily sold in these channels only make up a quarter of the volume of beef sold through foodservice but account for nearly half of beef sales.


The beef and pork sectors have some flexibility to adapt, as major packers sell their products to a variety of retail, foodservice and export customers. In the poultry sector, however, many integrators and poultry plants focus either on retail or foodservice, but not necessarily both. Poultry producers that focus on retail and fast-food chains have fared reasonably well during the pandemic. Others will need to continue their focus on cost and supply reduction until foodservice demand normalizes which could easily be one or two years away. Proposed 30,000-square-foot beef abattoir in Cloverdale would be B.C.’s largest such facility By Amy Reid, Peace Arch News A federally licensed beef processing facility is in the works in Surrey, BC. “There’s a new building coming forward, a new abattoir, I think that’s the French pronunciation of slaughterhouse,” said Councillor Mike Starchuk. “So Surrey will have a newer facility with a better capacity so people will have the ability to not have to ship an animal to Alberta to have it processed. The applications have gone through the Agricultural and Food Sustainability Advisory Committee.”

so as to not emit odours. And while there is an operational 6,000-square-foot abattoir on the property now, it’s can only process a limited number of cattle. Chris Les is general manager of Meadow Valley Meats, the company behind the project. Meadow Valley Meats is seeking a Canadian Food Inspection Agency license for Read the report, The Great aGrocery Grab of 2020 the proposed abattoir, to become federally registered establishment and expand operation. This would themeat Ongoing Impact to U.S.theAnimal Protein. allow the meat products to be transported beyond B.C.’s boundaries.

The facility is proposed on a 25-acre property within the ABOUT COBANK “Our focus is on trying to bring a more efficient, sustainable Agricultural Land Reserve at 5175 184th St. The planned local product to the market, realizing we can do that now 30,000-square foot abattoir in Cloverdale would process up in a veryislimited sense,” said cautionCredit people when to 100 head of cattle per day. CoBank a member of Les. the“IFarm System, talking to them and they say, ‘What a big plant, that’s going According to a city report, that would make it larger than a nationwide network of banks and retail lending to go allow you to go mainstream.’ Well, yes, if you look any other processing facility in B.C.. But it would still be associations toissupport the borrowing in the context chartered of B.C., but this still a very niche plant small by industry standards, compared to the largest meat and we’ll serve agriculture, a niche industry for producers and for the and needs of U.S. rural infrastructure processing plants in Alberta that process 3,000 heads of market. It’s certainly not going to be a monstrosity of a plant cattle per day. communities but it’ll be a big upgrade from the site currently.” The proposed facility would be fully enclosed and designed



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WHY FOOD SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS AND HOW TO SUPPORT IT The word “sustainable” has several definitions; however, the most substantial one was put forth in 1987 by the United Nations’ Commission on sustainable development: “Sustainable development [meets] the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” With the world population predicted to grow up to 10 billion people by 2050, sustainable strategies must be explored and implemented now, and fortunately, this process has already started. To shape the global direction towards sustainability, in 2015, the UN established 17 core goals that recognize that ending poverty and inequality must go handin-hand with improving health and education while tackling climate challenges. One of the goals is to promote sustainable agriculture; in this blog, we will look at the meaning of “sustainable food” and why it matters.  

labels do legitimately support the fact of sustainable production, others just tell that there are no dangerous additives. You can always refer to the list of all ecolabels used for items that can be sold in Canada. Sustainability means adopting the practices that address the fundamental needs of society while protecting the environment. Sustainable agrifood development encompasses adjustments and improvements in food production, farm work, processing and distribution, consumption, and waste management. We cannot have a secure food supply unless that food supply is sustainable.

THE COMPONENTS DEFINING FOOD SUSTAINABILITY Sustainability is a multifaceted issue, and depending on the sector (education, economics, environment, etc.), the components of it will be different. One might think that if some food items are labelled as “bio,” “organic,” or “local,” it is an indicator of sustainability. However, this is not always the case. Depending on the label you see, it can mean different things, and while some 22 22


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WHAT CAN WE DO TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT? As individuals, we can treat grocery shopping more consciously by supporting local farmers and businesses, reducing household food waste, and referring to science-based evidence for food-related issues. According to public trust research conducted by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, Canadians are already headed in the right direction, because they actively seek out food items that use less packaging or have a minimal environmental impact. WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY MEAN FOR THE AGRI-FOOD SECTOR? Living in the 21st century, we find it hard to deny human activity’s effects on the environment. Ten years ago, food production was at the same time one of many of the drivers of global climatic changes as well as the victim of shifting environmental changes. Today, professionals across the industry do their best to reach the sustainability goals by putting considerable effort into six key processes: climate change (based on greenhouse gas emissions), land system change (based on cropland use), use of fresh water, biodiversity loss (based on extinction rate), and nitrogen and phosphorus cycling (based on the application of these fertilizers), unfortunately the production of food animals and benefits were largely ignored.

As a company, TrustBIX offers solutions for food producers, processors, and consumers to provide transparency and build trust by collecting data from all supply chain links. We support Canadian companies in responding to the main challenge of the 2020s: operating the business in ways that are sustainable - good for the planet, good for society, and are economically viable. For more information, visit https://www.trustbix.com/ meatbusinesspro.com

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WINTER DISEASE SURGE HAMPERS CHINA’S HOG PRODUCTION RECOVERY By Dominique Patton, Reuters A surge in hog disease outbreaks this winter in China, the world’s biggest pork producer, will slow the industry’s rapid recovery since the African swine fever contagion three years ago, according to industry participants and analysts. China’s pig herd rose 31% in 2020, according to official data, as the industry rebuilt. But more frequent outbreaks of swine fever are occurring in northeast and northern provinces along with a worse-than-usual rise in Porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), said a manager at a pig farm supply company. “The disease challenge right now is bad,” said the manager, who declined to be identified because he is not allowed to talk to media. The government reports little data on disease outbreaks on Chinese farms but analysts and industry participants note a surge in outbreaks of various diseases. As the world’s biggest pork consumer, Beijing is under pressure to restore its hog supply and lower meat prices that remain at high levels, pushing up inflation and drawing in record imports.

“(African swine fever) never stopped but recently there’s been even more, and more other disease,” said Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank in Beijing, referring to outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and PED. “The high price in December was at least partly driven by disease,” she said, as well as rising demand ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. That month, live hog prices in northeastern China’s Shandong province, a major pork producer, rose to 36 yuan ($5.57) per kg, the highest since August and about three times prices before African swine fever arrived in 2018. JCI-HOG-SHOUGN PED is not usually fatal to grown pigs but can kill piglets. It is also more likely to infect young sows without immunity to it, said a veterinarian with a pig producer in southern China currently dealing with PED outbreaks. That has increased the intensity of this winter’s outbreak because so many new farms, built to replace the swine fever-reduced herds, are stocked with young females that have passed the virus to their offspring, he said.

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aVACCINE VIRUS “It can kill one month of suckling pigs just like that,” he s New strains of swine fever, likely caused by use of unapproved vaccines, are causing a chronic but difficultto-detect form of the disease. This “vaccine virus” and a higher density of pigs this year is also contributing to more African swine fever cases, said Shandong-based Yongyi Consulting in a note last week. “This time last year it was mostly in the north, while this year the impact of the vaccine virus problem is unusually common in the south. The whole country’s production capacity was damaged in January,” said Yongyi. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs did not respond to a request for comment on an increase in disease recently. China unusually reported a swine fever case in the southern province of Guangdong province in January, the first confirmed case on a farm since June.

In December, Beijing said its pig and sow herds would fully recover by the first half of 2021 and in November had reached more than 90% of their levels prior to the first swine fever outbreaks. But rising piglet prices suggests there is a growing shortage, which will hit pork output later this year. Prices for 6-kg pigs in Shandong have risen from 750 yuan in October to around 1,200 yuan ($185.79) this month, said a manager with a Shandong-based producer who declined to be identified. Prices reached 1,400 yuan in Jiangsu, a southern province. “Why is there so much demand? A lot of half-finished pigs went to packing plants because of disease,” he said. Data compiled by Yongyi shows that 17% of pigs sent to slaughter last week were under 90 kg, below the typical 120 to 140 kg. “Currently farmers are panic slaughtering and concentrated selling is common,” Yongyi said.


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FEBRUARY 23, 2021 - CELEBRATING CANADA’S AGRICULTURE DAY A CHANCE TO REFLECT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF CANADIAN AGRICULTURE AND GOOD GOVERNMENT POLICY TOO. By Virginia Labbie This year, Canada’s Agriculture Day is set for February 23rd. Canada’s Agriculture Day was the brainchild of Ag More than Ever and was initiated as a way to celebrate agriculture and foster a closer connection between consumers and those in the farming and food sectors. A lot has changed since last year’s Agriculture Day and I can’t think of a better time than now to celebrate the important contributions of those who work in Canadian agriculture. We all know the challenges that COVID-19 created for everyone in the supply chain. 2020 was difficult for many in the agriculture sector and shone a light on our food supply system. Remarkably, our food supply chain adapted fairly well during this very difficult time and Canadian consumers have recognized the importance of our safe and reliable food system.

After the year we’ve had, who is not ready for some positive news and to celebrate the importance of our farmers and food producers? I can’t tell you how proud I am to work in the agriculture industry and advocate on behalf of our agri-business members for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). I have been amazed at the stories of how many of our agriculture members have persevered through this unprecedented global pandemic. The challenge is that things are not back to normal quite yet and the reality is that many small businesses across Canada are struggling to survive. It is hard not to forget that due to public health restrictions, many of our restaurant and hospitality businesses are contemplating permanent closure or are struggling to keep their doors open. According to CFIB’s latest dashboard for the hospitality sector, only 11 per cent of small businesses are fully open, 10 per cent are fully staffed and only 9 per cent are making normal sales.


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These are important parts of our food industry and a reminder that there is much more work to be done to get our economy back on track.

CFIB farm members have told us they can not pass these additional costs on to their customers. We know farmers care about the environment – their livelihood depends on it. However, given most farmers are price takers, the magnitude of these increases in federal carbon taxes will hamstring farmers’ ability to compete and invest in their business and new technology.

The good news is that agriculture can play a key role in Canada’s economic recovery, but the right policy environment must be in place so the industry can perform to its potential. Interestingly enough, Canada’s Agriculture Day currently coincides with the next reading of a Private Members’ Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel). As you probably know, the federal government recently announced that the federal carbon tax is scheduled to rise to $170 per tonne by 2030- an increase of more than 467 per cent in 10 years. Last year, CFIB surveyed our farm members and on average, farmers estimated they paid almost $14,000 in federal carbon taxes in the first year it applied to them (April 1st, 2019 to March 31, 2020). Can you imagine what their costs will balloon to in 2030?

The good news is that Bill C-206 aims to provide carbon tax relief for farmers and would extend the exemption for qualifying farming fuel to include natural gas and propane from the federal carbon tax (e.g. fuels used for drying grain and heating on farms). Some exemptions already apply to greenhouses, so fully exempting all farms just makes sense. CFIB views this bill as a positive first step in addressing the unfairness of the federal carbon tax on farmers. February 23rd is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the men and women who work in the agriculture sector. It is also an opportunity for Members of Parliament of all political stripes to help farmers and protect Canada’s food supply by passing Bill C-206. SO ON THIS CANADA’S AGRICULTURE DAY, DO WHAT YOU CAN TO HELP OUT!

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Professor in Food Distribution and Policy at Dalhousie University recently penned a column and said “For some farmers, a tax of $170 per tonne is a game-changer. By 2030, a typical 5,000-acre farm would have to shell out more than $150,000 in new tax, based on some estimates, without any compensation. That’s enough to compromise any farm’s ability to make a profit.”

• Raise a fork to the food we love and the people who produce it- visit Ag More Than Ever https:// agriculturemorethanever.ca/cdn-ag-day/ • Do what you can to shop local and support a small business or restaurant – they need our help now more than ever! Visit www. smallbusinesseveryday.ca for more info. • Get involved in CFIB’s campaign to support Bill C-206 and Sign our new online Petition “Help defend farmers & protect our food supply. Expand carbon tax exemptions for farmers!” Feel free to share the online petition with other farmers.

Virginia Labbie is the Senior Policy Analyst, Agri-business for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). CFIB has 110,000 small and medium-sized member businesses (7,200 agri-business members) across Canada. To find out more about how to support local business go to www.smallbusinesseveryday.ca.

These are eye-popping figures and ones that should be a wake-up call for all Canadians. How will farmers survive with these massive costs coming right out of their bottom line?


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