2015 REPORT TO MEMBERS INSIDE
Messages from the President and General Manager Committee Reports National Organization Reports
TABLE OF CONTENTS PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ............................................. PAGE 3 GENERAL MANAGER’S MESSAGE ............................. PAGE 4 ANIMAL HEALTH COMMITTEE .................................. PAGE 5 COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE ............................. PAGE 6 CROWN LANDS COMMITTEE .................................... PAGE 7 ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE ..................................... PAGE 8
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2015
2015 ANNUAL REPORT
President District 4
2nd Vice President District 13
Treasurer District 10
1st Vice President District 5
Secretary District 2
FEEDLOT COMMITTEE ............................................... PAGE 9 PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE .......... PAGE 10 RESEARCH COMMITTEE........................................... PAGE 11 CCA REPORT ............................................................. PAGE 12 NCFA REPORT ........................................................... PAGE 13 CANADA BEEF REPORT............................................ PAGE 14 CCIA REPORT ............................................................ PAGE 15 BCRC REPORT ........................................................... PAGE 16
COVER PHOTO CREDIT: JEANNETTE GREAVES 2
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THE PRESIDENT Heinz Reimer President
f the conditions are right there are substantial opportunities for renewal and growth in Manitoba’s beef industry. That’s why ensuring that beef producers have access to the right tools, programs, policies and business climate so their operations can succeed remained the focus of Manitoba Beef Producers’ (MBP) activities in 2015. In late 2014 and early 2015 MBP, with funds from Growing Forward 2 (GF2) engaged a consultant to survey our members to determine your priority areas, both for the association and for Manitoba’s beef industry in the years ahead. Producers and other allied stakeholders were asked about the challenges and risks facing Manitoba’s cattle industry, as well as the opportunities. The findings mirrored much of what MBP hears in its ongoing outreach to producers. Not surprisingly, a future border closure was deemed the biggest threat. Other concerns you raised included: the need for more effective Business Risk Management (BRM) programs; land costs, including land prices and rental costs (especially among young producers); government regulations and a lack of competitiveness with both the United States and other provinces; natural disasters; animal health considerations; livestock predation; the ability to access loans (especially for younger producers); the need for new management tools (like improved technology and research); Crown lands polices; and, succession planning. Information gleaned from this survey has proven very useful to MBP as we provide input to elected officials and policy makers on matters affecting the industry. For example, these types of concerns were taken forward as part of MBP’s submission to the province’s Agriculture Risk Management Review Task Force. We cited the importance of having access to sound business risk management (BRM) programs like forage insurance and the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program, as well as the need to revisit programs to ensure they are as responsive as needed. It is an extremely competitive environment out there and MBP wants to ensure beef producers can compete on a level playing field with other commodities. Although Manitoba’s weather was generally more forgiving in 2015 than 2014, MBP recognizes that events like flooding and droughts challenge the sustainability of our industry. Mitigation is key to managing these types of risks. In 2015 MBP continued to ask governments to upgrade water management infrastructure around the province to reduce the threats posed by these types of natural disasters. Unless producers can operate from some sense of confidence that they will not be subject to repeated water-related disasters they will be reluctant to grow their herds. Enhanced interjurisdictional cooperation on water management is also critical in MBP’s view. Maintaining the beef industry’s social license is also essential to its long-term success. Initiatives such as an enhanced Verified Beef Production (VBP) Program with new components related to animal care, the environment and biosecurity will be key to assuring our customers and the public
that Canada’s beef value chain is sustainable. MBP continues to be a member of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Looking ahead, MBP has requested support for the VBP Program and the Environmental Farm Plan Program in Growing Forward 3. These are just a few of the examples of MBP’s advocacy activities in 2015. Others included: providing input into the development of Growing Forward 3; animal diseases like bovine tuberculosis; finding effective strategies to reduce the risks of livestock predation; ensuring producers have
IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WHENEVER WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO LAY PEOPLE ABOUT AGRICULTURE WE SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. A LITTLE INFORMATION GOES A LONG WAY Heinz Reimer affordable access to agricultural Crown lands; the transition of the community pastures to management by the Association of Manitoba Community Pastures; labour shortages; workplace safety and health and more. Producers recognize that investments in research and development are also critical to the future success of our industry. MBP – through Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc. is working with several stakeholders, including Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association and Ducks Unlimited to develop a beef research and extension farm in the Brandon area. The federal and provincial governments are investing $3.1 million in this important initiative through GF2 funding. MBP is providing financial and in-kind support toward it. Other key partners include academic institutions. MBP believes it will provide substantial value to the beef and forage sectors and help build industry capacity and thanks all partners for their commitment to this worthy initiative. Another key finding in MBP’s member survey was
the importance of communications, both within the industry and with the general public. MBP uses many tools to communicate directly with our members, including Cattle Country, our electronic newsletter and social media channels, producer meetings and more. In 2015 we traveled to The Pas to learn about challenges faced by producers raising cattle in this more northerly region and it was a valuable experience. MBP communicates with the public through many different means, including radio advertising, the Great Tastes of Manitoba cooking show on CTV, trade shows, fairs and exhibitions, as well as events organized by Agriculture in the Classroom – Manitoba. We also promoted beef through Winnipeg Blue Bombers games, both as an association and through a partnership with Canada Beef. MBP also strongly encourages producers to help tell the story of how beef cattle are raised in Canada. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions out there about the industry, especially as society at large becomes increasingly disconnected from our farms and ranches. That is why it is so important that whenever we have the opportunity to talk to lay people about agriculture we should take advantage of it. A little information goes a long way when it comes to demonstrating the sustainability practices we use in our operations every day. There was considerable discussion in 2015 about the National Beef Strategy and a proposed increase to the National Check-Off (NCO) to help action the industry pillars and goals identified in it. They relate to connectivity, productivity, competitiveness and beef demand. MBP took part in many meetings related to both the strategy and the NCO. The vision of the strategy is to create “a dynamic profitable Canadian cattle and beef industry.” Although there may be differing views on how to accomplish that, I believe all the value chain members are committed to achieving this and creating a stronger industry for future generations. MBP was very pleased to host the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association Semi-Annual Meeting and Convention in Winnipeg in August. Thank you to the participants and sponsors for making it such a great success! The beef industry had some significant gains on the trade front in 2015 with the resolution of the longstanding Country of Origin Labeling dispute and Canada’s participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership. MBP’s fall 2015 district meetings were a tremendous success with the largest participation in many years and a good number of young producers in attendance. Factors like these should bode well for the future of our industry. In closing, I would like to thank my family for their ongoing support as I devote time away from home to my MBP activities. Thank you as well to my dedicated fellow directors and our hard working staff. You help lighten the load as we work on behalf of all Manitoba beef producers.
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GENERAL MANAGER Melinda German General Manager
nowledge is the key to success of any business, industry or association. To that end in late 2014 and early 2015 a Members’ Need Survey was conducted on behalf of Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP). The purpose was to hear from our members and allied industry stakeholders about the types of challenges they are facing and what types of advocacy work and services they need from MBP to help Manitoba’s beef industry thrive. I thank everyone who provided feedback and valuable advice. MBP will use the survey results to help guide our future activities.
One of the key findings was the need for MBP to better communicate with our membership. You want to know more about the work we’re doing on behalf of Manitoba’s beef industry. You want us to continue our public outreach efforts and to build relationships to ensure the industry’s voice is heard by the public. As a result we have been diligently strengthening our communication strategies. We have made improvements to our main communications vehicle, Cattle Country. Published eight times annually we use this newspaper to inform you about key issues facing the beef sector, to talk about our advocacy efforts, to update you on research initiatives and, to increase overall awareness of the industry. MBP also produces a bi-weekly eNewsletter and is very active on social media. We make every effort to reach you in a timely manner. Our Communications Committee has made some bold steps forward in terms of how we connect with consumers and the public. Our Eat Like ant Athlete Campaign on TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg is a huge success. Advertising spots can be heard regularly on this station promoting the health attributes of beef using easy-to-prepare recipes. The promotion’s tag line is “If You Can’t Play Like An Athlete, You Can Still Eat Like One.” Listeners are driven to MBP’s website to learn more. This resonates with an important consumer demographic, allowing us to direct them where to find factual information on the beef they eat. As the exclusive voice of 7,000 beef producers in Manitoba communications is only one of MBP’s activities. Advocacy is a second key area of focus for MBP. Manitoba’s cattle producers are very fortunate to have extremely talented and dedicated staff and directors who work tirelessly on this front, both locally and nationally. Key advocacy areas in 2015 included extensive consultations with governments on matters such as business risk management programs, rural veterinary services, Crown lands,
bovine tuberculosis, labour shortages, traceability and, many more. As well, a tremendous amount of time and effort was dedicated to trade issues. We have been extremely fortunate to finally see the resolution of the Country of Origin Labelling dispute which had posed a major trade barrier with our largest export market, the United States. MBP worked with and supported our national partners to ensure this costly, long-standing issue was resolved. As an export country international trade is key to our success and this past year we have seen so much happen that will contribute to the Canadian beef industry’s stability, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. There is still much work to do on the advocacy side as MBP seeks meaningful solutions to major issues such as water management and predation. We will continue to work with governments to assist us in implementing permanent solutions to challenges like these that threaten growth and prosperity in our industry. MBP’s third key area of focus is research. We work with and support stakeholders to develop, guide and extend research aimed at advancing our industry. In 2015 we saw the gates open to the Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiative research and extension farm in southwestern Manitoba. This farm is designed to provide opportunities to conduct discovery research with academic institutions and to demonstrate how new and innovative production practices can enhance the profitability and sustainability of the industry. In addition to its involvement in this valuable research and demonstration farm, MBP supports research within and outside Manitoba when the results are important to the beef industry here at home. For example, a couple of years ago a resolution was passed at our AGM to support research around the development and use of needle-free technology. MBP has and will continue to support this and other research projects that investigate and test technologies and production practices that help keep our producers on the cutting edge. MBP budgets the check-off dollars collected on the marketing of beef cattle to help with our advocacy and communications efforts and to support research aimed at strengthening the industry. When compared to MBP’s 2013-2014 fiscal year the revenue from check-off collected by MBP in 2014-15 was up 25% but the number of head marketed was down by approximately 10%.
MBP’s overall revenue was up due to the increase in provincial check-off as MBP started collecting $3/head marketed effective July 1, 2014 compared to the previous $2/head. The result is that MBP had a surplus in revenue over what was budgeted for in the 2014-15 fiscal year based on average annual marketings. Those dollars are reinvested in the industry and the association as we continue to advocate on key issues, to communicate more effectively with our members, to make stronger connections with the public and, to support key research activities. At the same time MBP is being careful to plan for the future. The size of the provincial and national beef cattle inventories has declined in recent years, so we must be diligent in using your check-off dollars and be prepared for possible lean times until herd rebuilding is firmly established. I want to thank the staff and directors for their hard work and dedication once again this past year. The volume of work and issues that need to be addressed is never ending but their steadfast commitment and guidance ensures that we do make a difference. We are proud to represent the grassroots producers of this province and we will continue to work diligently on your behalf. In closing, I would ask that you the producer help us in advocating on your behalf. In particular, your voice is needed to reach out and build relationships with consumers and the public as our industry evolves. You are the best advocate and only you can tell your own personal story of the great care and pride you take in the raising of a high quality and nutritious product. There are many ways for you to tell your story, to family members, friends and neighborus, or even to a stranger you meet in a grocery store. There are many resources available to you to help tell that story such as Beef Advocacy Canada. I encourage you to look for ways to connect and let people know what you do and the role the beef industry plays in a sustainable economy. As your association we would be happy to provide ideas and information to help you be that advocate. I wish you all health and green lush pastures in 2016.
"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
S TA F F
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COMMITTEE REPORTS A N I M A L H E A LT H C O M M I T T E E
ovine tuberculosis initiatives, a review of the province’s rural veterinary services and pending changes to the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle were just some of the matters examined by the Animal Health Committee in 2015. MBP has long recognized the costly and disruptive impact bovine TB has exacted on beef producers in the Riding Mountain Eradication Area (RMEA). MBP has representatives on both the bTB Task Force Committee and the TB Policy Steering Committee. Working collaboratively with stakeholders including producers, the federal and provincial governments, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, First Nations and others, efforts continue to achieve two key goals. One is the ultimate eradication of this disease. The other is to achieve a state whereby surveillance of live cattle will end with a shift to slaughter surveillance. Work continued in 2015 on three initiatives aimed at achieving these goals. Funding has been secured from both the federal and provincial governments toward them and MBP is appreciative of this. Components include on-farm risk assessments (OFRAs) for producers in the RMEA. Two field staff began conducting the OFRAs in 2015. They are aimed at reducing the risk of interactions between wildlife and livestock. Support is available to producers in the RMEA seeking to install barrier fencing or to secure livestock guardian dogs. Another initiative is the creation of a scenario tree model which will examine the risk of bovine TB occurring. This will help allow management of lands to reduce potential interactions between wildlife and livestock thus minimizing the risk of disease spread. A third component involves premises identification and a linkage to the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency’s (CCIA) traceability system. This latter project will link to the work being done on a federal project so that if bovine TB is found at a slaughterhouse or abattoir as part of routine monitoring, it can then be traced back to an individual farm. The TB Coordinator plays a key role in keeping
all the stakeholders focused on achieving the aforementioned goals. MBP thanks the federal government for funding this position and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association for its support of this position which is so crucial to this work. MBP continued to provide $1/head for producers required to participate in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) bovine TB surveillance program and to advocate for assistance to producers that is reflective of the costs they incur to present their cattle for surveillance. MBP raised several TBrelated concerns when it met with elected officials and representatives from the CFIA in Ottawa in May. The work being done in Manitoba is critical to Canada maintaining its TB free status. MBP appreciates the participation of affected producers in these initiatives and recognizes governments for their commitment to these important projects. In 2015 the provincial government launched the Rural Veterinary Task Force to review the current veterinary structure in the province, including existing and future client needs. Manitoba has a combination of private veterinary practices as well as Veterinary Service District clinics for which some provincial government support is provided. MBP provided two written submissions to the Task Force, and participated in several of its public meetings and focus groups. MBP noted the importance of beef producers having timely access to veterinary services for reasons ranging from protecting animal health, to biosecurity and trade considerations. As well, having an established Veterinary-Client Patient Relationship is critical for producers wishing to access some beneficial management practice (BMP) funds under the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) program. MBP regularly provides feedback about BMP offerings under the GF2 -- Growing Assurance – Food Safety On-Farm Program. Support for several new items was achieved in 2015 including tilt table and hoof trimming chutes, on-farm veterinary training for administration of pain blockers, calf catching pens and portable calf carts, remote surveillance of calving and calf pens and barns, and livestock guardian dogs for beef herds. Work continues at the national level to create an
enhanced Verified Beef Production (VBP) Program that will include components related not only to food safety, but also animal care, biosecurity and the environment. MBP, through its local VBP Program Coordinator, has provided feedback into this pilot process. The creation of the VBP+ Program is part of ongoing efforts to demonstrate to our customers and the public that Canada’s beef industry adheres to the principles of sustainability. Efforts have been undertaken to ensure the new VBP+ program is outcomes-based and scalable to different sizes of beef operations. Elements of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle dealing with pain management take effect in 2016. Specifically, effective January 1, 2016 producers will be required to use pain control when castrating bulls older than nine months of age and when dehorning calves after horn bud attachment. Producers are advised to consult with their veterinarian for more information. MBP will be holding some workshops on the Code of Practice in 2016 and we encourage producers to attend. MBP has an ongoing dialogue with provincial and federal officials about animal health and care. MBP also uses communications tools like Cattle Country, its electronic newsletter and its social media channels to raise producer awareness about animal health and care matters, including the Code of Practice, the VBP+ Program, research and emerging issues. Thank you to my fellow Committee members for their ongoing insights. Respectfully submitted, BEN FOX Animal Health Committee Chair Dianne Riding, Vice-Chair Stan Foster Caron Clarke Gord Adams
MA N I TO B A B E E F P R O D U C E R S
COMMITTEE REPORTS C O M M U N I C AT I O N S C O M M I T T E E
ommunications, be it with our members, industry, consumers, or the public, is a key area of focus for MBP and it took shape in a variety of ways in 2015. Speaking with consumers and promoting our great product was a prominent piece of the communications strategy. New this year was our Eat Like An Athlete promotion highlighting beef’s nutritional qualities. Beginning in the spring, MBP ran one-minute spots four times a week on TSN1290 Radio featuring an easy to make, nutritional recipe ideal for athletes or busy families wishing to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. As the promotion’s slogan states, “If You Can’t Eat Like An Athlete You Can Still Play Like One” The radio spots were hosted by Chef Daryl Crumb of CentrePlate Hospitality who works with the Winnipeg Jets and is a former junior hockey player. In the spots Crumb spoke about the recipe, provided information on the beef industry and directed listeners to mbbeef.ca for the full recipe. Response to the campaign has been positive. Aside from showcasing the nutritional aspects of beef at a time when it is sometimes under attack, Eat Like An Athlete has raised MBP’s overall profile. Since the spots began airing MBP has been approached about opportunities to promote beef and we will be exploring them. Eat Like An Athlete will resume airing on TSN1290 Radio in spring 2016 and we are looking at plans to take it beyond just radio. MBP continued its longstanding involvement with the popular Great Tastes of Manitoba (GTOM) program. Now in its 26th year on CTV Manitoba, GTOM provides MBP with another venue to showcase beef as our meat expert Adriana Findlay presents delicious, easy to make, practical meals. Two new episodes aired in the fall and are replayed in the spring. MBP has committed to GTOM for 2016 and we look forward to providing viewers with interesting ways to eat beef. Informing consumers about the safety of our product and dispelling myths was another component of MBP’s communications work. MBP invested in brochures on the use of hormones in cattle and has distributed thousands of them to Manitobans. We are also distributing brochures on the use of antibiotics in cattle and antimicrobial resistance. MBP engaged in considerable public outreach work in 2015. Among the highlights was Agriculture in the City held in March at The Forks Market in Winnipeg. Attended by an urban audience often unaware of modern agricultural practices, this event is a great opportunity to focus on the care our members take in producing a safe and delicious product. Along with information on beef’s nutritional qualities, MBP distributed hundreds of the hormones brochures to attendees. Other events attended by MBP in 2015 included: the Amazing Rangeland Adventure and Moo Mania held in conjunction with the Manitoba Livestock Expo in Brandon; Amazing Agriculture Adventure at the Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre; and, the Canadian Nutritionists’ Society National Conference in Winnipeg. MBP 6
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continued its longstanding presence at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon and Red River Ex in Winnipeg. Another highlight this year was MBP’s involvement with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In September, as part of Canada Beef’s sponsorship deal with the Canadian Football League, MBP was the host sponsor when the Bombers took on the Calgary Stampeders. Staff and directors manned a booth in the Tailgate Plaza prior to the game. During the game Kristine Blair and Graham Tapley, our 2015 winners of The Environmental Sustainability Awards (TESA), were recognized for their accomplishments. MBP also partnered with the Bombers as the official sponsor of the Family of the Game award. For all 10 Bombers’ home games four tickets were provided to deserving Manitoba families courtesy of MBP. The sponsorship was an excellent way for MBP to support the families who support our members by purchasing their product. Participation in trade shows and agriculturefocused events allowed MBP to meet with its members and to promote the industry. Staff and directors participated in the Manitoba Livestock Expo, Manitoba Ag Days, Southeast Beef and Forage Day, and Benchland Forage Symposium, among others. MBP will be very active on that front again in 2016. Aside from attending events and district meetings
for face-to-face contact with members, MBP’s primary communications tool is our newspaper, Cattle Country. Its focus remains on keeping members updated on MBP’s activities on their behalf and important industry news. Extension is a significant component of Cattle Country with our columnists and industry contributors providing information on everything from animal welfare to new technology to help producers improve the efficiency of their operations. To complement Cattle Country, we also distribute a bi-weekly electronic newsletter to update subscribers on MBP’s activities, coming events and other important industry news. Contact the office to sign up. Social media remains a major part of MBP’s communications strategy. Along with our website mbbeef.ca, MBP is very active on Twitter and Facebook. Our strong following on both platforms gives us an excellent way of immediately communicating with members on breaking industry news, MBP activities and articles of interest to producers. Respectfully submitted, DIANNE RIDING Communications Committee Chair Ramona Blyth, Vice-Chair Stan Foster Gord Adams
COMMITTEE REPORTS CROWN LANDS COMMITTEE
aving access to agricultural Crown lands is essential to many Manitoba beef producers’ operations and several familiar issues dominated the work of the Crown Lands Committee in 2015. MBP attended two meetings of the Agriculture Crown Lands Advisory Working Group in 2015 and also had contact with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development about a variety of Crown lands matters. One of the key items discussed at the Working Group and with the Minister was the triennial review of agricultural Crown land lease rates in Manitoba. A higher lease rate is expected to take effect for the period 2016-18. MBP has expressed concern that if producers are going to be asked to pay more to lease Crown lands then some outstanding concerns related to these lands must be addressed. Key among these is the issue of informed access. It remains MBP’s steadfast position that beef producers should have the right to know when someone intends to access their leased agricultural Crown lands. This is necessary for several reasons including biosecurity, to protect the safety of livestock and people and, to reduce the risk of property damage and losses. Producers go to great lengths to protect their livestock and their operations and they would like the public to play a role in this as well by informing producers of their movements on Crown lands. Changes MBP continues to seek around agricultural Crown lands policies include: notice to the lessee is required before public access; permission from the lessee is required before public
access; and, lessees should be given the ability to discourage public access where there is high risk to public safety. MBP will continue to seek these changes with the Manitoba government, noting that producers in some other provinces already have the right of informed access. MBP raised several other matters with the Agriculture Crown Lands Advisory Working Group in 2015. Some related to concerns raised by producers whose leased Crown land and associated improvements have been impacted by flooding. MBP asked that consideration be given to providing producers who leased agricultural Crown land a reduced lease rate on a temporary basis when the land is compromised due to flooding or excess moisture conditions, both during the disaster as well as the associated recovery period. The Working Group also discussed the 4800 animal unit month limit for eligibility for the agricultural Crown land leasing program and whether this limit should be increased to reflect the larger size of modern livestock operations. Further discussion around this is expected in 2016 taking into consideration factors such as attracting new entrants to the beef industry and allowing existing operations to expand. Other matters discussed at the Working Group included: eligibility criteria for leasing agricultural Crown lands in Manitoba; how to increase productivity on leased lands; unit transfers and family transfers; advertising of lands available for lease; the ecological goods and services provided by beef production on Crown lands; policies around accessing agricultural Crown lands to remove
gravel; and, the Treaty Land Entitlement process, among others. MBP is also working with provincial agricultural Crown lands staff to raise awareness of Crown lands policies through venues such as articles in MBP’s newspaper Cattle Country. In 2015 MBP provided feedback to the provincial government on the creation of an alvar Ecosystem Protection Zone (EPZ) that would involve some agricultural Crown lands being used by beef producers in the Interlake. MBP sought confirmation that agricultural Crown land lease holders will be allowed to continue to use these lands for all the activities outlined in their leases and permits once the EPZ is created and that no leases will be cancelled. Further, if leases are surrendered by existing producers in the EPZ, MBP requested that they remain available to beef producers for future leasing and permitting purposes. It is MBP’s position that the ability to use Crown lands is essential to future growth in Manitoba’s cattle industry. Thank you to the Committee members for their work on the aforementioned issues in 2015. Respectfully submitted, BILL MURRAY Crown Lands Committee Chair Ben Fox, Vice-Chair Theresa Zuk Stan Foster
MBP IS YOUR ORGANIZATION Manitoba Beef Producers promotes and defends beef producers’ livelihoods through a united effort. Your membership furthers our opportunities to achieve this goal.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY Contact MBP with issues that affect your operation. Make your voice heard at district meetings. Vote on issues by attending the annual general meeting.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. Please contact us today with your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-772-0458.
MA N I TO B A B E E F P R O D U C E R S
COMMITTEE REPORTS ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
ater quantity and quality, recycling and land use policies were just a few of the topics examined by the Environment Committee in 2015. Although Manitoba’s beef industry was not affected by a major flood event in 2015, MBP provided extensive feedback to provincial and federal officials on water management policies and strategies. This included providing a submission as part of the second round of consultations on the Assiniboine River and Lake Manitoba Basins Flood Mitigation Study. MBP reiterated its position that there needs to be the swift construction of a second channel to draw down Lake Manitoba to reduce the threat of flooding of livestock operations and the associated negative economic and environmental effects. MBP also sought clarification as to whether the benefit-cost analysis being undertaken on various proposed flood protection works takes into account the full economic losses incurred by Manitoba’s agricultural commodities each time there is a disaster. MBP stated that the long-term economic cost of the contraction experienced in Manitoba’s beef industry due to these types of repeated events over recent years must be taken into consideration. Additionally, MBP provided input to the Provincial Flood Control Infrastructure Review of Operating Guidelines which was examining the operation of the Portage Diversion, Red River Floodway and Fairford River Water Control Structure. MBP also noted the importance of resolving outstanding concerns around the operation of the Shellmouth Dam, as well as compensation mechanisms with respect to artificial flooding. It is MBP’s hope that the creation of a more effective water management plan throughout the Assiniboine River and Lake Manitoba basins will help reduce the likelihood of future flooding and the associated negative effects. MBP strongly suggests that the net effect of the proposed flood mitigation and protection initiatives should be to provide Lake Manitoba, Lake St. Martin and the surrounding areas, as well as other hard hit regions of Manitoba with better protection from future flood events. Working collaboratively on water management issues is very important. MBP is actively involved with the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative (ARBI). ARBI is working to bring together an array of stakeholders from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota affected by how water
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is managed in the Assiniboine, Qu’Appelle and Souris river basins. It has also provided input into the proposed Aquanty HydroGeoSphere modelling project for the Assiniboine River Basin and its three major sub-basins. In 2015 MBP continued to be represented on both the Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee and the Southwest Flood Strategy Committee. Drought also poses a threat to the beef industry. MBP provided feedback to the provincial government as it works to create a drought management strategy. MBP supports the principle there should be a formal, clear, science-based process for the declaration of and response to droughts. MBP said any drought strategy should provide the framework for an integrated and proactive approach to both drought management and fostering adaptation and resilience. Collaborative advanced planning between jurisdictions and an array of stakeholders will be critical, as will cooperation during such a disaster. Looking at water quality issues is another area of work for the Environment Committee. MBP participates in the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance, a provincial initiative bringing together a wide range of stakeholders committed to finding ways to reduce nutrient loading and improve water quality across the Lake Winnipeg Basin. In late 2015 the Manitoba government introduced Bill 5 – The Surface Water Management Act (Amendments to Various Acts to Protect Lakes and Wetlands). Key components include: strengthened protection of wetlands (no net loss of wetland benefits); setting nutrient targets to improve water quality, with reporting requirements; and, streamlining drainage licensing requirements with enhanced inspection and enforcement efforts. MBP expects to provide feedback on this legislation in 2016. MBP is represented on the board of the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative. Comprised of representatives from government, industry, commodity groups and academia it looks at matters related to the sustainable management of manure. The Manitoba government is creating an alvar ecosystem protection zone (EPZ) that will entail some agricultural Crown lands being used by beef producers in the Interlake. MBP requested confirmation from the government that agricultural Crown land lease holders will be allowed to continue to use these lands for all the activities outlined in their leases and permits once the
EPZ is created and that no leases will be cancelled. MBP noted that Manitoba’s farmers and ranchers provide valuable ecosystem services as they manage tens of thousands of acres of working landscapes, including both privately-owned and Crown lands. MBP provided input as part of the environmental assessment process for Manitoba Hydro’s proposed transmission line in southeastern Manitoba -- the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project. Ensuring biosecurity practices are followed on projects like these is paramount. MBP reinforced that contractors and permanent Manitoba Hydro staff must be well versed in industry-specific biosecurity concerns and how to minimize the threat of spreading animal diseases, invasive species or weeds from one operation to another. MBP has also had discussions with officials from provincial departments whose staff interact with producers on their operations about the importance of biosecurity. Feedback was provided to Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship on its recycling and waste reduction discussion paper which is examining strategies to more effectively manage waste including agricultural plastics (grain bags, bale wrap, twine and netting) and veterinary products and sharps. In late 2015 the Manitoba government unveiled its Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan and pledged to cut greenhouse gases by one-third by 2030. The province wants to look at ways to continue expanding markets and adopting sustainable farming practices to reduce GHG emissions. It will introduce a Climate Friendly Agricultural Practices Program. MBP is awaiting full details and will provide feedback as the plan is rolled out to ensure the important role beef producers play in managing the environment is recognized. Thank you to my fellow Committee members for their work on these varied issues. Respectfully submitted, CARON CLARKE Environment Committee Chair Heinz Reimer, Vice-Chair Bill Murray Larry Gerelus Stan Foster
COMMITTEE REPORTS FEEDLOT COMMIT TEE
mproved market access, the need to resolve the dispute over United States mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), regulatory issues and labour challenges were just a few of the issues on MBP’s Feedlot Committee agenda in 2015. Manitoba’s feeder/feedlot sector is represented locally by MBP and nationally through the National Cattle Feeder Association (NCFA). MBP supports the NCFA through an annual membership as well as providing staff support through General Manager Melinda German. The NCFA has adopted a threepronged strategy focused on research, growth and sustainability for cattle feeding in Canada to improve the competitiveness of the industry. Working collaboratively the NCFA and member provincial cattle associations try to effect change on issues and policies affecting this important sector of the cattle industry. There was considerable activity on trade-related files in 2015. Key among them is Canada agreeing to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the world’s most comprehensive trade agreement. Under the agreement Canadian beef producers will see improved market access in Japan and other markets in Asia, helping to ensure Canadian beef competes on a level playing field in these key markets. This will include over time a reduction in or elimination of tariffs applied on Canadian fresh/chilled and frozen beef, processed beef and other beef products in countries like Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia. Some estimate Canada could double or triple its annual beef exports to Japan alone. Thanks go out to federal negotiators and elected officials who worked to achieve this agreement and the opportunities that should come with it for Canada’s beef industry. Ratification of the TPP was still pending at year’s end. Since 2008 United States COOL has proven to be very detrimental to the Canadian beef industry. In early December the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) arbitration panel determined that Canadian livestock producers had suffered $1.055 billion Canadian in annual damages and that Canada could pursue retaliatory tariffs if the United States did not move to resolve the issue. Days later the US repealed COOL on beef and pork, finally putting an end to the dispute. Thanks go out to the current and former federal governments, provincial governments, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Meat Council, the Canadian Pork Council and other provincial cattle associations for their unified and determined efforts on this key trade file. Work continued in 2015 to ensure there is an adequate supply of workers for farms, ranches and packing plants. Some progress was made in 2014 in having the livestock sector added to the agriculture stream under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, making it eligible to secure workers through this initiative. However, packing plants remain outside the program and need workers. Efforts continue with the federal government to rectify this. It is essential that this important part of the value chain
has a stable workforce and can remain competitive. Regulatory issues affecting the feeder/feedlot sector are an ongoing area of concern. MBP provided input to the NCFA as it offered feedback as part of the Canadian Grain Commission’s consultations around the licensing of feed mills and the potential impact on the feeding sector. MBP and the NCFA also participated in CFIA consultations around potential changes to livestock movement reporting. Any such changes must be practical to implement and not create undue costs to industry. MBP gives feedback to the NCFA as it continues to meet with federal officials about potential changes by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to animal transportation regulations. The health and welfare of our livestock is our primary concern. When making any changes, we are strongly encouraging the government to make informed decisions based on sound science and to consult with industry about their potential impact before implementing them. MBP was pleased to participate in consultations organized by the NCFA on the subject of competitiveness and the feedlot sector. Participants were asked to identify and prioritize regulations and/ or practices impeding the competitiveness of the feedlot sector, and to provide feedback on the economic impact of the regulatory requirements. Information gleaned through this process will be used by the NCFA in its talks with governments aimed at easing regulatory burdens affecting the feedlot sector, thereby enhancing competitiveness. Concerns raised in the consultations covered topics such as traceability, transportation, export requirements, la-
bour shortages and, the need for harmonized policies around animal health products, among others. Looking ahead, there is considerable optimism in the Canadian beef industry, with opportunities to access new markets and to send more cattle into traditional markets like the United States now that barriers such as COOL have been removed. It is important that we have a business and regulatory climate that allows our feeding sector to be competitive and to grow and prosper in the future. In February I was elected chair of the NCFA and I would like to thank my fellow NCFA board members and industry stakeholders for the support they have shown me throughout what has been a very interesting year for our sector. Thank you as well to the members of MBP’s Feedlot Committee for your ongoing insights and ideas. Respectfully submitted, LARRY SCHWEITZER Feedlot Committee Chair Ben Fox Larry Gerelus Harry Dalke Claire Scott
MA N I TO B A B E E F P R O D U C E R S
COMMITTEE REPORTS PRODUC TION MANAGEMENT COMMIT TEE
n 2015 MBP combined its former Domestic Agriculture Programs Committee and its Production Management Committee into a single Production Management Committee due to significant overlap in the issues and policies being examined. The thrust of the Committee’s work is on ensuring there are effective programs and services to help Manitoba’s cattle producers better manage risk and that there is a business and regulatory climate that will encourage growth in the beef industry. The residual effects of the 2014 flooding and excess moisture conditions continued to be felt in early 2015 as some producers faced feed challenges. Some, but not all, were able to use the Canada-Manitoba Forage Shortfall and Transportation Assistance Initiative under AgriRecovery. MBP provided feedback to federal and provincial officials about issues producers faced in trying to access AgriRecovery programming, as well as challenges related to forage insurance and other business risk management (BRM) programs that have arisen from repeated disasters like flooding. Work also continues to find ways to ensure BRM programs are responsive to producers’ varied needs. MBP also sought the use of the Livestock Tax Deferral Provision to assist producers forced to downsize their breeding herd due to feed concerns arising from the 2014 flood. In December 2014 the federal government released a list of eligible municipalities. MBP continued to hear from producers that the list was not extensive enough and MBP sought an expansion to it. Several more municipalities were added in May 2015. The Livestock Tax Deferral Provision was also made available in 2015 to producers in several Manitoba municipalities affected by drought. MBP appreciates the federal government making this tool available. The Production Management Committee worked closely with MBP’s Environment Committee on a number of issues. For example, throughout 2015 MBP provided feedback to governments about the importance of effective water management during both floods and droughts. MBP continued to advocate for the swift construction of a second outlet out of Lake Manitoba to help draw down the lake and reduce the risk of future flooding. MBP also believes it is important that cattle producers receive fair compensation if their lands are flooded to help protect other Manitobans. MBP regularly raises concerns about water management issues in other areas of the province including the Shoal Lakes, Whitewater Lake and the Assiniboine Valley. It remains involved with groups such as the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative. In January 2015 the Manitoba government announced an Agriculture Risk Management Review Task Force. It is studying whether the current suite of BRM programs is effective in helping producers manage and recover from climate-related challenges. MBP provided extensive feedback to the Task Force on the BRM tools beef producers use, including both government BRM programs and self-insurance activities. Information gleaned from MBP’s member survey about the types of risks producers face and the tools needed to mitigate risk was particularly valuable to this process. MBP has long sought bankable, predictable BRM pro10
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grams as producers need tools that are responsive to their unique needs. MBP also cited the importance of all commodities having access to a level playing field in terms of the types of BRM tools available to them. MBP’s representatives on the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s Domestic Agriculture Committee have also been providing input on BRM programs to federal officials. Livestock predation remains a major concern for beef producers. MBP co-chairs the Livestock Predation Protection Working Group (LPPWG). It includes representatives from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Development, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, livestock commodity groups and the Manitoba Trappers Association. The LPPWG’s purpose is to review existing predator management initiatives and provide recommendations to the Manitoba government around improved strategies and tools to help deal with it. MBP is looking into a potential pilot project around predation challenges that would include components such as: on-farm mitigation strategies; financial assistance/compensation; and, problem predator management strategies. Key goals include reducing risk and ensuring producers are fairly compensated for losses. MBP has also asked that consideration be given to compensating producers for labour costs associated with treating animals injured by predators. MBP, through its involvement with the LPPWG, participated in four workshops around Manitoba focused on reducing the risk of predation. They included demonstrations of trapping techniques and advice about how to reduce the risk of cattle and predators coming into contact, such as the use of guardian dogs, deterrents and proper deadstock management. MBP provides feedback about beneficial management practice offerings under Manitoba’s Growing
Forward 2 (GF2) Growing Assurance – Food Safety OnFarm Program. Delivery of the Verified Beef Production (VBP) Program by MBP is ongoing and there is strong producer interest. Work continued nationally on the expansion of the VBP Program to include modules related to animal care, the environment and biosecurity. This is key to demonstrating to our customers and the public the sustainability of the Canadian beef industry. MBP is a member of the Canadian Roundtable on Sustainable Beef. Committee member Theresa Zuk is MBP’s representative to the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency. She sits on committees that examine matters such as traceability, premises identification, movement reporting, tag retention challenges, tag sales and more. Other issues examined by the Committee in 2015 included: the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program; what Growing Forward 3 could entail; the ongoing transition of the former federal community pastures to management by the Association of Manitoba Community Pastures; workplace safety and health matters; labour shortages; ensuring the Advance Payments Program is readily accessible to beef producers; trade issues; manure management and many more. Thank you to my fellow Committee members for their work on such a broad range of topics. Respectfully submitted, TOM TEICHROEB Production Management Committee Chair Larry Gerelus, Vice-Chair Ramona Blyth Caron Clarke Theresa Zuk Gord Adams
COMMITTEE REPORTS RESEARCH COMMIT TEE
t has been a very exciting year on the research front with key investments in both foundational and applied research aimed at building a stronger Manitoba beef industry. Research is key to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of our industry. Two MBP committees have been working on research-related matters: the Research Committee and the Beef-Forage Research Farm Committee. The latter is comprised of chair Ramona Blyth, vice-chair Larry Wegner and members Dave Koslowsky, Peter Penner and Gord Adams. At its fall 2014 district meetings MBP conducted a short survey with producers asking them to identify their research priorities. This information is being used by MBP in research priority development and during project planning. MBP has deemed its top three priority research areas to be economics and profitability, nutrition and feed efficiency and, animal health and welfare. Examples of research projects in which MBP was involved in 2015 include: the effect of transport conditions on indicators of animal welfare for fat cattle and market cows; the impact of cow-calf feeding and vaccination strategies on carcass outcomes; building long-term capacity for resilient cow-calf production systems through the creation of a forage industry chair at the University of Manitoba; and, initiatives related to bovine tuberculosis. At MBP’s annual meeting in February 2015 provincial Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced $3.1 million dollars in funding for the new Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc. (MBFI). This is being provided by the federal and provincial governments through Growing Forward 2. There are four core MBFI partners: MBP, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
The purpose of MBFI is to provide a venue for evaluation of foundational and applied research in Manitoba. Knowledge transfer is a key component, both to producers to help build industry capacity, as well as to the general public, policy makers and the media. The ultimate goal is to increase awareness of beef and forage production and support the uptake of new, improved or innovative ranch management strategies. MBFI has three Brandon-area sites. The Brookdale site will feature a learning centre and a cattle handling facility with demonstration capabilities. Research there will focus on high intensity grazing and focusing on management practices to extend the grazing season using novel plant and forage varieties. The Johnson site is on the northeast side of Brandon and will have a mobile research lab to support foundational research projects. The First Street pasture is alongside the Johnson site and is the site of a multi-faceted rotational grazing project. Some MBFI research undertaken in 2015 looked at energy dense annual forages; how rotational grazing strategies affect forage health, soil health and cattle production; and, pest management strategies. Future research will include forage evaluation work and cow nutrition and needle-free vaccinations. Valued research partnerships are being created with entities such as the University of Manitoba, Alberta Beef Producers, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Western Beef Development Centre, Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College, and the University of Winnipeg. MBP also continues to enjoy a strong level of collaboration with the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and is represented on that board by Caron Clarke. The BCRC and provincial associations work closely together to ensure maximum benefits are achieved from producer investments in research. The importance of investing a portion of Manitoba producers’ check-off dollars into research at the local
and national levels cannot be understated. Research provides tangible benefits to producers, delivering enhanced production and management practices. This helps to improve the beef industry’s long-term viability, profitability and competitiveness. There are other benefits from research. Our customers and the public sometimes have questions about the beef industry’s social license, such as its environmental benefits, its production and animal care practices or about food safety. Researchers can provide a wealth of useful information in these areas, helping ensure public confidence. Further, it is essential regulations and policies affecting the beef industry are science-based. Research findings are very important when public policy is being developed in areas such as transportation regulations, animal health surveillance, water quality or nutrient management regulations, animal welfare and more. Thank you to my fellow Research Committee members, and the members of the Beef-Forage Research Farm Committee for the considerable work that has been undertaken on industry-related research in 2015. Thank you as well to the academic institutions, to provincial and federal government staff and elected officials and to non-government organizations for your continued interest in and support for beef and forage research in Manitoba. The industry’s success is due in no small part to your ongoing dedication and commitment. Respectfully submitted, LARRY GERELUS Research Committee Chair Caron Clarke, Vice-Chair Larry Wegner Peter Penner
MA N I TO B A B E E F P R O D U C E R S
CANADIAN CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION Dave Solverson President Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
his has been a remarkable year for Canada’s beef industry. Many events throughout 2015 have transformed the industry but the most significant of these occurred in December with the repeal of U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef and pork. The December 18 repeal marked the historic and successful conclusion of a legal battle initiated by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) more than seven years ago. Then, on the last day of the year, South Korea lifted the temporary restrictions it imposed following the February 2015 case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). With the implementation of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement in late 2014, the CCA believes Canadian beef exports to Korea have the potential to exceed $50 million per year. The repeal of COOL for beef and pork, which officially became law when U.S. President Barack Obama signed the omnibus appropriations bill, is a huge achievement and represents the culmination of years of hard work by CCA executive vice president Dennis Laycraft and John Masswohl and many other industry and government allies along the way. I’d like to personally thank Laycraft and Masswohl for their leadership and guidance throughout my term as President and also on behalf of the CCA presidents before me, whose persistent advocacy work on the COOL file contributed greatly to its successful conclusion. I’d also like to recognize CCA Officers and Directors for making themselves available, often at short-notice, to support the advocacy effort. Indeed the repeal of COOL is an accomplishment driven by collaboration and persistence. I’d like to thank all the producers who supported us with their check-off dollars to make this historic event possible. Fighting COOL has been a long and arduous battle, and a costly one with legal fees nearing $4 million. However, that amount – paid by beef producers through their provincial checkoff -- is eclipsed by the cost of COOL discrimination inflicted on Canadian and Mexican producers. COOL repeal is an excellent example of provincial check-off dollars at work and I thank producers for directing their dollars towards the file. The CCA thanks Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, for standing firm on retaliation if COOL was not repealed. The omnibus bill repealing COOL was passed into law on the same day that Canada received authority from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose retaliatory tariffs of more than $1 billion on U.S. products if COOL was not repealed. We also thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for personally weighing in on the issue with President Obama at just the right time, as the effort clearly helped the CCA achieve its top priority of resolving the WTO dispute with the U.S. over COOL. I’d also like to acknowledge former Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast for their outstanding efforts on the COOL file over the years. In particular I would like to acknowledge them for supporting producers by taking the very serious step of reporting the U.S. – Canada’s most important trading partner -- to the WTO. At every step of the process, the WTO repeatedly found that the U.S. was in breach of its WTO obligations. The final ruling from the Appellate 12
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Body of the WTO on May 18 confirming that U.S. COOL discriminates against live imports of Canadian cattle and hogs was another decisive victory. The CCA initiated the fight in 2008 because the U.S. failed to live up to its international trade obligations. In the seven years since U.S. COOL has been in effect, the cumulative losses for the Canadian beef and pork sectors have been staggering. Many people and organizations have been involved in the effort to repeal COOL over the years. Close collaboration with the CCA’s U.S. counterpart, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and many state cattle producer organizations ensured the implications of COOL on the U.S. industry were well-understood by beef producers. Strong alliances were forged with the U.S. livestock industry through the ‘barnyard coalition’ and also the COOL Reform Coalition, which represents a diverse group of associations and companies in the U.S. food, agriculture and manufacturing industries. It was a very unique trade dispute, as industry on both sides of the border were in agreement and wanted COOL for beef and pork repealed. I’d also like to thank U.S. Senator Pat Roberts for his tireless efforts to repeal COOL. Of course, much appreciation goes out to our Mexican counterparts, the Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, and the Mexican Government, who fought COOL alongside us. The relationships CCA established and in many cases strengthened throughout this process reflect the integrated nature of the North American beef industry and will serve the industry well going forward. The resumption of access to South Korea is another important development for Canada’s beef producers. South Korea holds huge potential for beef and especially cuts and offals that are underutilized here at home and is a market that will pay more for those select items, helping to increase the overall value of the animal for producers. Exports to South Korea were 1 per cent of Canadian beef exports in 2014 -- or 3,200 tonnes for $25.8 million, making it the sixth largest export destination by volume. With the implementation of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement in late 2014, the CCA believes Canadian beef exports to Korea have the potential to exceed $50 million per year. The action taken by South Korea follows the recent release of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) final report on the investigation into BSE case #19. Per the protocol between Canada and South Korea reached in 2012, in the event of confirmed BSE cases in Canada, South Korea can temporarily suspend importation of Canadian beef, pending provision of further information on the case. The CFIA final report on case #19 found that the most likely cause was the presence of a very small level of residual contaminated feed at the farm – a conclusion consistent with investigations conducted by other countries who have had BSE cases born after enhanced feed bans were implemented. It’s important to note that prices for all cattle types remained very strong (and even strengthened) following the temporary suspensions over case #19 which is a good indication of a rational response from the market. Indeed 2015 was another year of new highs for the Canadian cattle market. In spite of a significant market correction at the end of the fourth quarter, average cattle
MBP members of CCA board: Heinz Reimer Tom Teichroeb Ramona Blyth prices in 2015 were at record highs. The CCA will continue its work to address the factors that may be preventing some producers from expanding their herds to take advantage of current market opportunities. Issues here include fully funding programs that help producers manage risk, investing in infrastructure, secure access to high value and growing markets, policies that ensure the competitiveness of Canadian producers, investment in research and sustainable practices and access to sufficient labour. Throughout the year I attended various government and producer meetings. I’ve noticed there’s a general approval of CCA policy and our interactions with government and trading partners. There’s widespread support for the National Beef Strategy and an understanding that implementing the strategic plan successfully will require more producer investment with an increase in National Check-off. Positioning Canadian beef as the best in the world is part of the collaborative effort of the National Beef Strategy. I’ve been using the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to help demonstrate the power of large-scale collaboration. The outcome of the TPP is good for beef producing nations, including Canada, precisely because each country at the TPP negotiating table received a consistent message from the beef industry, represented by the International Beef Alliance, about what was required. Once the TPP is enacted, Canada’s beef producers will receive the same preferential access to Japan and other key markets in Asia as its competitors. While the TPP will level the playing field for Canadian producers, there will be strong competition as beef supplying countries become more commercially viable with lower tariffs. As a result, maintaining and increasing Canada’s market share in these key markets will require a major step up in Canadian branding, marketing and differentiation efforts in order to compete effectively with the U.S. and Australia. The National Beef Strategy intends to complement existing work through achieving the industry goals identified in the Strategic Plan, which are estimated to require a projected National Check-off investment of approximately $19 million, or around $2.50 per head (a $1.50 increase from the current $1 national check-off ). Most provincial associations have endorsed the idea of a $1.50 increase in support of these goals. Significant progress was achieved this year on the sustainability front. Both the CCA Environmental Committee and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which is staffed by the CCA, made great strides in progressing this file, which seems to attract more and more attention from consumers and media. It is crucial that the beef industry is well represented in these areas of interest as they continue to evolve. Finally, I am confident that the industry is in fine shape and that 2016 will be another year of achievement for the CCA. My appreciation goes out to CCA staff for their fine work in 2015. Respectfully submitted, Dave Solverson
NATIONAL CATTLE FEEDERS’ ASSOCIATION Larry Schweitzer NCFA Chair and Director from the Manitoba Cattle Feeders’ Association
he National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) was created in 2007 to represent Canadian cattle feeders on national policy and regulatory issues, and to collaborate with other cattle organizations to strengthen Canada’s beef industry. Through NCFA, the country’s cattle feeders speak with one voice on the opportunities and challenges facing the fed cattle production chain. NCFA membership is comprised of provincial beef organizations from the major cattle feeding regions of Canada, each of which contributes funding based on provincial fed cattle populations. NCFA membership includes the British Columbia Association of Cattle Feeders, the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, Manitoba Beef Producers, and la Fédération des producteurs de bovins du Québec. I am pleased to report on a very active and exciting year in 2015. During the recent federal election, NCFA engaged candidates across Canada and all political parties on our policy priorities. We also continued the implementation of key parts of our new strategic plan. A number of important developments also rolled across the industry in 2015, including the successful conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations and the repeal of mandatory “country-of-origin” labelling (COOL) legislation in the U.S. Through all of these developments, NCFA was there playing an active role—funding advocacy efforts, advising and informing governments, supporting producers, and working with industry stakeholders to effectively manage the issues and capture benefits for our members. NCFA’s ongoing suite of activities is guided by our strategic plan, which is built upon three pillars—growth and sustainability, competitiveness, and industry leadership. Report on Strategic Pillar #1: Growth and Sustainability Throughout 2015, NCFA partnered with key industry stakeholders and advocated with government policymakers and regulators to create a business environment more conducive to long-term growth of the cattle feeding sector by expanding export opportunities through new trade agreements and investing in important research and development projects. • Trans-Pacific Partnership: NCFA membership in the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CFTA) and our engagement with the Market Access Secretariat (MAS), the Beef Cattle Trade Advisory Group (BCTAG), the Beef Cattle Policy Advisory Committee (BCPAC), the Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) and officials at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and International Trade proved highly valuable in 2015 with the successful conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Capturing 40% of the global economy, the TPP will create the world’s largest international free trade zone and provide market access to some of the fastest growing economies. NCFA will continue these partnerships and advocate vigorously for final parliamentary approval of the TPP through activities like the opinion editorial penned by NCFA trade consultant John Weekes that appeared in the October 1, 2015 edition of the Globe and Mail. • Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade
Agreement: Final implementation of the new CETA is still pending as technical details continue to be worked out. In 2015, NCFA urged federal policy makers to ensure that the CETA’s system of important licenses does not impede real access. We also encouraged the federal government to be more aggressive in securing signed side letters affirming EU approval of Canadian food safety practices in our processing facilities. • Country-of-Origin Labelling: In 2015, the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its fourth and final ruling on mandatory COOL in the U.S., deciding once again in favour of Canada. NCFA consistently urged the federal government to remain firm on retaliation and to reject any compromise—voluntary or otherwise—that would require segregation of Canadian cattle in U.S. plants. This strategy proved successful in December 2015 when the U.S. issued a full repeal of all COOL provisions for beef and pork. • Research and Development Projects: Strategic investments to improve the profitability, efficiency, and sustainability of beef production are critical to longterm growth of Canada’s beef industry. In 2015, NCFA continued work on its Feedlot Animal Care Assessment Tool (FLAT) by refining and then piloting the program at feedlots in every province across Canada. The program, funded by a $35,000 contribution from NCFA that levered an additional $290,000 in government and industry funding, has received PAACO certification and will serve as a single animal care protocol for all Canadian feedlots, beef processors, and retailers. In 2015, a new Feedlot Emergency Preparedness Plan was also developed for our sector in Alberta. NCFA hosted a webinar on the plan and has offered it as a template for cattle feedlots in other provinces. Other projects and initiatives supported and funded by NCFA include a $20,000 contribution to a regulatory modernization initiative at the Canadian Beef Grading Agency and $7,000 contributed to the new Barley Council of Canada. Report on Strategic Pillar #2: Competitiveness A key goal of NCFA is to enhance the competitiveness of the cattle feeding sector by ensuring that federal decision-makers and regulators understand the business realities and key priorities of cattle feeders, and that Canada’s policy and regulatory regime “works” for cattle feeders. • Regulatory Reform Initiative: In 2015, NCFA began work on a new $120,000 project to identify the most problematic regulations facing cattle feeders, measure the costs to industry of those regulations, and build the business case for reform. Focus groups were convened in every province to prioritize the regulations needing reform, and work continues on measuring the economic impact. The project is expected to wrap up in 2016, and with the costs in hand, NCFA will be well positioned to make the case for change with federal regulators. • NCFA Submissions: Throughout 2015, NCFA staff and consultants made numerous submissions to federal authorities and agencies on a wide range of regulatory issues and concerns. Examples include submissions on the new federal proposals for enhanced traceability, CFIA’s feed regulatory modernization initiative and proposals for alternative service delivery, and a proposal by the Canadian Grain Commission requiring all feed mills to be licensed and bonded. Given the recent rise
in cattle prices, NCFA also requested and secured an increase in the CFIA’s compensation maximums for fed cattle under federal regulation. NCFA also responded to the 2015 report of the Auditor General on antimicrobial resistance by highlighting our commitment to the prudent use of antibiotics and our support for the CFIA’s proposed framework for the use of antimicrobials in agriculture. Report on Strategic Pillar #3: Industry Leadership NCFA meets regularly with government officials to build bridges, strengthen relationships, and build champions for the cattle feeding sector. We also work with other industry associations to develop strategies to advance the industry such as the new National Beef Strategy. • Building Relationships: In 2015, NCFA continued to build a positive working relationship with our most important government regulators. NCFA board, staff, and consultants held meetings in Ottawa with official at the CFIA on issues of mutual interest, such as the recent BSE case in Alberta and proposed changes in maximum transportation times for cattle. NCFA also continues to support the efforts of the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to better align Canadian and U.S. regulations and speed the pace of commerce. • 2015 Federal Election: Duringvv the recent federal election, NCFA developed a series of policy statements on international trade, labour, regulation, and COOL that were posted on our website and communicated throughout the campaign. NCFA also wrote to the leaders of each political party asking for their positions on various issues, and advised the Minister and all Agriculture Critics on our priority concerns in advance of the special agricultural debate held in Ottawa during the election. With a new government now in place, NCFA is focusing on refreshing our government relations program and working to cultivate new champions for our sector. • Labour: A shortage of labour in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industries is a key policy priority of NCFA. As such, we are working closely with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC) to secure federal and provincial support for the recommendations contained in the Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan. • National Beef Strategy: NCFA was actively involved in the development of the new National Beef Strategy, serving on both the National Beef Strategic Planning Group (NBSOG) and the new Council of Beef Advisors (CBA). NCFA is well positioned to take the lead on several aspects of this plan, particularly those that align with our won strategic priorities. Examples include regulatory reform, effective outreach and communications, and building inter-industry cooperation. I am proud of the work that the NCFA Board and Staff have accomplished in 2015 to deliver value and promote the interests of our members. As the results show, NCFA continues to serve as a strong voice at the national policy table for cattle feeders and as a highly focused and respected representative for our sector. Respectfully submitted, Larry Schweitzer Chair, National Cattle Feeders’ Association MA N I TO B A B E E F P R O D U C E R S
CANADA BEEF INC. Jack Hextall Chair
he 2013/14 fiscal year was pivotal for Canada Beef. This was the final year of our first three-year strategic plan that saw Canada Beef come together as a global company complete with engaged employees and an elevated focus on developing business with consumers directly. Over the past three years, we also made it a priority to only invest time and money in projects that reflect a distinct return on investment. We took initial steps to align our beef and veal industry under a common national strategic vision. We also reimagined our organization’s relationship with the consumer to ultimately achieve brand loyalty, rather than building on volume and value of beef itself. We developed mind-share over market-share and began building consumer relationships with Canadian beef. We have continued to rationalize our operations through focusing on global markets and selecting brand partnerships that align with our Canadian values. We have managed to save over $3 million by finding efficiencies, which has translated into an increased investment in programs and services. We have challenged our staff and industry to think differently – pushing the status quo, while still believing in the power and excellence of our industry players. Uniting the resources at our disposal is essential to progress; it is something our industry has come to expect and our public has come to demand. However, we still respect the different teams and players in the Canadian beef league and how each must work towards differentiation in order to sustain their own priorities. The National Check-Off continued to bring in much needed funding for the research and marketing activities of Canada Beef. Roughly $7.7 million was raised by the Check-Off in 2014/15, $5.5 million of which was used to support the promotion of Canada Beef at home and abroad. Levies collected in the upcoming fiscal year will be applied to Canada Beef’s new three-year strategic plan, which kicked off April 1, 2015. The National Beef Strategy partners, consisting of the Beef Cattle Research Council, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Beef Breeds Council, National Cattle Feeder’s Association and Canada Beef, are in ongoing discussions about the Check-Off and Import Levy. Canada Beef and our strategy partners will continue engaging with provincial producers about future levy rates to ensure the National Check-Off and Import Levy remain beneficial for all involved. Last year, the collection rate of the Import Levy was over 90 per cent, and most beef importers are now paying the levy. Since the Import Levy was introduced in 2013, it has raised $1.1 million with roughly $900,000 received during the 2014/15 fiscal year. Although these funds cannot be used for the promotion of Canada Beef, they are directed to researching and marketing the nutritional aspects of beef, which are beneficial for all producers. Communicating the Canada Beef brand story is
MBP member of Canada Beef board: Heinz Reimer one of our most important responsibilities. Our brand story is the cornerstone on which brand awareness, brand loyalty and buying decisions are built. Our global marketing efforts continue to adapt to the evolving demands for protein around the world. We are committed to further solidifying our positive brand opinion here at home while growing foreign markets and emerging geographies. North America is not only our largest and most important market – it is home. Canada and the United States form the foundation for the Canada Beef brand to reach further corners of the globe. We continue to invest domestically to ensure Canadian beef remains a staple of Canadian diets and we are adapting to evolve with the ever-changing needs of the United States market. Our alignment with the CFL is the ideal platform to highlight Canadian beef as the optimum source of protein for professional athletes and athletic Canadians. This message has been effective enough to be recognized by both the trade and wellness communities. We extended the power of beef as a protein message to consumers by partnering with Loblaw’s Health and Wellness Division to provide in-store consumer engagement programs across Canada. Our initiatives to target emerging demographics have focused on the Hispanic market in the United States. Through market development programs to increase sales volumes through major distributors to the U.S. Hispanic demographic, we are able to strategically create brand presence with key clients. Traditional marketing initiatives are proving to be effective in establishing the Canada Beef brand throughout Latin America. Through trade events, inbound trade missions, the distribution of technical and promotional materials to targeted recipients and markets, and even partnering with celebrity chefs, we have created a boom in the demand for Canadian beef. Our ongoing partnership with Air Canada Vacations and Karisma Resorts continue to drive value and raise the status of Canadian beef through the five-star resort segment in the Mayan Riviera. Through this partnership, we engaged influential food personalities as brand ambassadors to raise public brand awareness, including high-profile chefs. At Karisma’s Canadian Beef Culinary Series, 12 of Canada’s best chefs educated consumers about the quality of Canadian Beef. The Series was then leveraged through our partners’ social media platforms to engage with consumers in Mexico, North America and even Europe. No market holds greater potential for growth than Asia, and Canada Beef continues to build on the momentum we have earned there in previous years. Our consumer-facing marketing efforts have been expanded and we have developed a new, innovative market outreach approach to relay our brand message to key influencers and officials. While our focus has been on the major markets of Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong and Macau, we are expanding efforts to capture consumer attention in the emerging markets of
Southeast Asia. The Asian Hub pioneered the Canadian Beef Branding Series, an important initiative that is expandable and scalable to other global markets. The Series brought together key trade contacts, media, government and food enthusiasts alike to learn about the Canadian beef industry, our brand and the Canadian Beef Advantage on both emotional and technical levels. The Series featured several events throughout Asia with regular participation from Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. The participation of key government officials such as Agriculture Minister Ritz, Canadian cattle producer representatives and celebrity chefs helped to create an atmosphere a level above a standard trade event. Proving effective in communicating the Canadian beef story that connects every link in the value chain, the Series has been a catalyst for brand awareness, media coverage and brand loyalty in the Asian market. While the Canada Beef brand is well-known in many corners of the globe, we continue to develop new markets with substantial room for growth. In the past year, we have participated in selected international trade events in the Middle East and Europe: Gulfood, the world’s biggest food and hospitality trade show, and SIAL, the world’s largest food innovation observatory. A central business objective, or brand action plan, of the past fiscal year is the opening of the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence (CBCE). It is the jewel of the Canada Beef brand and one of our richest resources. Through the lens of “Connect, Innovate and Inspire,” the CBCE is poised to bring our brand and our story to life for industry partners, influencers, media and consumer audiences. With multi-media presentation and broadcasting capabilities, and a skilled staff of teaching and cooking professionals, the CBCE is a knowledge hub for our brand and embodies our upcoming three year brand building strategy. Engagement is more than simply broadcasting our message; we must create conversation points and spur creative thought, and we must do this with an international audience. Our loyal brand advocates want two-way, reciprocal communication, so we will find ways to engage consumers through building communities that bring our brand to life. We look at our producer families and beef industry as investors. Rather than simply reporting what we have done, we are making it a priority to inform our investors on what is about to happen. This allows them to see and feel what success looks like and encourages them to actively participate. This is our Canada Beef brand and it is one that we all have a stake in. We look forward to having everyone join us on our journey.
Jack Hextall Chairman, Canada Beef
Canada Beef Inc. is an independent national organization representing the research, marketing and promotion of the Canadian cattle and beef industry worldwide. Its efforts to maximize demand for Canadian beef and optimize the value of Canadian beef products is funded by cattle producers through the National Beef Check-Off, which in turn makes it possible to access beef industry market development funds provided by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta. 14
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CANADIAN CATTLE IDENTIFICATION AGENCY Dr. Pat Burrage Chair NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) announced its board of directors and executive committee for 2015/2016 elected at CCIA’s Annual General Meeting and board meeting March 26-27, 2015 in Calgary. In 2015, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association representative Dr. Pat Burrage was elected to continue as Board Chair. Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association representative Mark Elford was re-elected as Vice Chair. Maritime Beef Council representative John Tilley was reelected as Finance and Audit Committee Chair. Canadian Cattlemen’s Association representative Pat Hayes was re-elected as Director at Large; and Livestock Markets Association of Canada representative Rick Wright was re-elected in the second role of Director at Large. NEW GENERAL MANAGER In June 2015, CCIA announced Anne BrunetBurgess as the new general manager. Drawing on more than six years as general manager for a Canadian beef breed association and a decade of experience in livestock operations as a cattle owner, Anne will provide leadership to CCIA’s team and reinforce the strong relationships with key stakeholders to support the next steps in developing a fully-functional livestock traceability system in Canada. NEW HEAD OFFICE LOCATION The building in which CCIA’s former head office was located was sold in November 2014. After investigating a variety of options to relocate, CCIA selected a new head office site that rationalizes the square footage needs of the organization while reducing the overall office space cost per year. The new office meets CCIA’s team needs in an easy-to-access, meeting-friendly location with ample, free parking at 7646 – 8 Street N.E., Calgary, Alberta. CANADIAN FOOD INSPECTION AGENCY CONSULTATION PROCESS on the DRAFT COMPLIANCE, CONTROL AND ENFORCEMENT FRAMEWORK With the intent of working together to ensure industry practices are in alignment with new regulations, after participating in Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) second phase of regulatory amendment consultations across Canada, CCIA compiled a list of industry’s critical issues, comments and questions for CFIA to address prior to the regulations coming into force in late 2016. CCIA converted this list into a letter endorsed by industry. CCIA submitted this joint letter to CFIA in response to the second phase of consultations regarding the proposed regulations, which are expected to come into force in late 2016. Industry’s response gathered and submitted the following needs to CFIA for consideration: Nation-wide premises identification registry and support; Elimination/repeal of official tagging site status; Development and access to affordable, effective technology that facilitates tag activation, animal identification, premises identification and animal movement reporting;
MBP member of CCIA board: Theresa Zuk Funding support/cost-share for research and development of technology that enables tag activation, animal identification and movement reporting as well as the ongoing maintenance of such technology/equipment/software; Administrative and communications/educational support; Clarity around which party is responsible for untagged animals; which party should be responsible for reporting which segment of the movement data; tag activation; animal export timelines; as well as the tag testing framework, testing and review process. TAG DISTRIBUTION In February 2015, CCIA celebrated the successful completion of its first year as the sole distributor and logistics provider for approved CCIA RFID non-breed specific beef and Limousin breed tags. In February 2014, CCIA streamlined tag data and tag distribution processes for the approved tag dealer network as well as non-breed specific beef producers by means of a quick and easy-to-use, direct-to-buyer tag web store at tags.canadaid.ca and toll-free order desk services at 1-877-909-2333 and email@example.com available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST. QUICK FACTS: Every livestock operator that purchases approved CCIA RFID beef tags also has a web store account that can be activated in minutes. In addition to the convenience of 24-hour online tag ordering, three-to-five day delivery to an address of choice and a starting price under $3 per tag, this change in tag distribution is improving data integrity within the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) database through immediate issuance of tag inventories to tag buyers’ CLTS database accounts, which eliminates thirdparty data handling and tag event sequencing errors in the CLTS database. Industry’s support of the tag web store is directly reinvested into Canada’s livestock traceability program. The tag web store offers all six approved CCIA RFID tags as well as tissue sampling tags to all approved tag dealers for the same costs, which may result in lower tag prices for livestock operators when purchasing tags in the private sector. STRATEGIC PLAN CCIA’s Board of Directors reviewed and accepted a new strategic plan, which was developed in several sessions over the course of ten months by CCIA’s Board of Directors, management and a strategic planning facilitator. CCIA will use this plan as a guiding document and incorporate it into the agency’s business plan with budgets, targets and deliverables, timelines and labour resources. CCIA’s Board of Directors will review this plan regularly and use it for ongoing performance measurement. CANADIAN AGRI-TRACEABILITY SERVICES Final arrangements regarding the details for a licensing agreement on the system’s source code were underway throughout 2015. Since Canadian Agri-
Traceability Services (CATS) will be a database service provider only, CCIA will remain the sole administrator for beef, dairy, bison and sheep outside of Quebec when CATS is fully-operational. NOTE: Canadian Sheep Federation is planning to self-administer the animal identification program for sheep in Canada as soon as CATS is fully-operational. CCIA TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE In 2015, CCIA’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) created and now leads a Research and Development (R&D) Cluster to develop practical solutions to challenges facing industry and governments with the implementation of a fully-functional livestock traceability system in Canada. CANADIAN LIVESTOCK TRACKING SYSTEM DATABASE PROCESS ENHANCEMENTS In November 2015, CCIA released four key process enhancements for event reporting within the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) database. The first process update enabled the database to support 840-series USDA tag identification (ID) numbers. The second update facilitates industry compliance with proposed animal movement reporting regulations by means of a new data field for industry to record the transport vehicle’s licence plate number, which supports Import, Export, Temporary Export, Move In and Move Out reporting within the CLTS database. A Source Location field for Imported events and a Destination Location field for Exported events have also been created to capture the foreign location at a sub-national level to which an animal has been imported/exported. Since the details of the proposed regulations have yet to be finalized, CCIA’s Information Technology (IT) team has created this new field to be optional only at this time. The third and fourth enhancements were designed to optimize data integrity. To promote accuracy during age verification data entry, CCIA’s IT group created a new warning message display and date selection feature for the birth date reporting process. To help tag dealers verify CLTS accounts at the time of tag sale and issuance, CCIA’s IT group added an optional field for contact name. NATIONAL TAG RETENTION PROJECT By the end of 2015, the Tag Retention Project Manager will have completed the mature cow scans. Within the early months of 2016, the Tag Retention Project Manager will summarize and analyze the mature cow data for tag retention across all herds, tag loss by herd and tag brand as well as tag readability. In early 2016, CCIA’s Tag Retention Project Committee will prepare and submit a funding application requesting federal government support to refocus the project to extend beyond March 2016. In late spring 2016, CCIA will share the preliminary results for the mature cow update by media release and joint communications with industry and governments. CCIA anticipates the final analysis and project report to be completed in late spring 2016, with a nation-wide communication outreach to follow.
Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) is a not-for-profit, industry-initiated and led organization incorporated to establish a national cattle identification program to support efficient trace back and containment of serious animal health and food safety concerns in the Canadian cattle herd. The agency manages the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) database – a trace back system that maintains radio frequency identification (RFID) tag information, and is led by a board of directors made up of representatives from all sectors of the livestock industry. MA N I TO B A B E E F P R O D U C E R S
THE BEEF CATTLE RESEARCH COUNCIL
he Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is Canada’s industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. Its mandate is to determine research and development priorities for the Canadian beef cattle industry and to administer National Checkoff funds allocated to research. The BCRC is led by a committee of beef producers who proportionally represent each province’s research allocation of the National Check-off. On average nationally, the BCRC receives approximately 18% of the National Check-off, and plays a key role in leveraging additional funding for beef cattle research. Recognizing this, the Council works to ensure the highest return on investment possible for industry contributions to research through ongoing consultation with other provincial and national funding organizations. Investments in beef research have several benefits, including an improved ability to meet increasing global food demand and supporting responsible production, increased productivity and profitability of Canadian beef cattle producers. Advancements in the industry also positively impact the nation’s economy.
Canada’s Beef Cattle Industry Science Clusters The first Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster directed $10.5 million to 32 research projects between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2013. It proved to be a very successful step towards improving coordination of beef research funding in Canada while generating meaningful, applicable results. Joint industry and government commitments to the second Cluster (2013 – March 31, 2018) total $20 million, including $14 million in funding from AAFC, $1 million in provincial government investments, and $5 million in funding from the research allocation of the National Check-off and provincial beef industry groups. Funding was directed to 26 research projects. A summary of each project can be found by navigating under the Research tab on BeefResearch.ca.
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Addressing Critical Capacity Needs As highlighted in the 2012 National Beef Research Strategy developed by the BCRC and the national Beef Value Chain Roundtable, Canadian beef industry stakeholders strongly identify the need for continued and reinvigorated forage and grassland productivity capacity and research. Having recognized ongoing cuts by government and other organizations to investments in research related to forage and grassland production, and disappointing impacts including declining tame hay yields, the BCRC substantially increased its proportion of funding to this area. However, ongoing cuts to necessary expertise and infrastructure continue to erode research programs. The BCRC is working with AAFC and universities to maintain and increase capacity, and encourage the transition of new replacement scientists prior to retiring scientist’s departure to ensure research momentum is not lost. Researcher Mentorship Launched in 2014, the Beef Researcher Mentorship program provides practical learning and networking opportunities to applied researchers with little or no background in Canadian cattle, forage or beef production. Participants are paired with producers and other industry experts who are valuable resources of information about day-to-day cattle and forage production, industry structure and influences, and perspectives on industry challenges and opportunities at regional and national levels. Four researchers were selected for the 2015-16 term and include university and AAFC employees with specialities in genomics, food safety or animal disease vectors. The knowledge, connections and experiences gained through the program better enable these scientists to develop effective, industry-focused research and extension programs. The Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation The Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation was established by the BCRC in 2015. It will be presented annually to recognize a researcher or scientist whose work has contributed to advancements in the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian beef industry. The inaugural award will be presented in early 2016, following an industry nomination and committee selection process. Enhanced Collaboration to Maximize Research Investments The BCRC continues to place significant focus on enhancing collaboration between itself, provincial check-off groups, and other funders (AAFC, ALMA, SADF, OMAFRA, and others) to ensure critical research priorities are addressed, reduce duplication, and reduce administrative burden for researchers and funding agencies. As a tool to better enable collaboration and efficient use of research funds, the BCRC has taken the lead in developing a database containing research proposals that various funders are considering, as well as projects that have been funded. This allows all funders to determine whether all priority research areas are being addressed, while avoiding over-funding of particular
MBP member of BCRC board: Caron Clarke research topics and improving coordination between funders. It also allows the BCRC to measure funder buyin to the priority research outcomes identified in our 2012 National Beef Research Strategy. The National Beef Strategy With a growing global appetite for beef, consumers with questions and concerns about beef production, and a small Canadian beef herd, among other factors, the BCRC joined forces with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattle Feeders’ Association, Canadian Beef Breeds Council and Canada Beef to develop a National Beef Strategy. The BCRC will play an integral role in achieving several of the industry goals established through strategic investments in research and extension. Consequently, the BCRC has developed a longterm funding plan to identify the necessary funding requirements to achieve these goals. Technology Transfer & Knowledge Dissemination The BCRC continues to advance the implementation of its Knowledge Dissemination and Technology Transfer Strategy, which is focused on converting applied research into effective tools that drive industry competitiveness. The website, www.beefresearch.ca, provides access to general information on research topics, summaries of in-progress and completed projects, and information that helps producers make informed decisions on implementing innovation into their production practices. The website delivers various BCRC-produced and other valuable extension resources including articles, videos, webinars, and calculators. Communications from the BCRC can also be found through the CCA’s Action News, provincial cattle organizations’ newsletters, email updates and magazines, and through a regular research column that appears in Canadian Cattlemen magazine. Verified Beef ProductionTM program In addition to sponsoring research and technology development, the BCRC oversees and supports the beef industry’s on-farm food safety program, Verified Beef ProductionTM (VBP). The VBP program is now working with industry stakeholders to develop additional modules for animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship. Pilot projects will be completed to help make each module auditable in 2015-16. The additional modules will be an opportunity for producers to secure further recognition for credible production practices. The resulting program will dovetail in with the work of Canada’s Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) and the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS). It is recognized that VBP must prepare for a reduced federal/provincial funding structure once modules are fully developed in the years to come. Consequently, moving forward with the development of a strategic plan and business plan that sets out a long-term sustainable funding and delivery model for VBP has been a key priority in 2015. For More Information To learn more about BCRC initiatives and take advantage of our extension resources, visit our website at www.beefresearch.ca and join our email list at www. beefresearch.ca/blog/subscribe