2020 Annual Report

Page 1



Messages From The President And General Manager

MBP 2020 Year In Review

National Organization Reports

TABLE OF CONTENTS MBP DIRECTORS .............................................................................................................PAGE 2



Gord Adams

Nancy Howatt

Peter Penner

Kevin Duddridge

District 1

District 3

Steven Manns District 5

District 2

District 4

Melissa Atchison District 6

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT ...............................................................................PAGE 3 MESSAGE FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER ..............................................................PAGE 4 2020 MBP YEAR IN REVIEW ....................................................................................PAGES 5-9 FINANCIAL REPORT......................................................................................................PAGE 10

Tyler Fulton

Matthew Atkinson

Dianne Riding

Mike Duguid

District 7

District 8

REPORTS FROM: MANITOBA BEEF & FORAGE INITIATIVES INC. .......................................................PAGE 11 CANADIAN CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION ...............................................................PAGE 12 NATIONAL CATTLE FEEDERS’ ASSOCIATION ..........................................................PAGE 13

District 9

District 10

CANADIAN BEEF CHECK-OFF AGENCY ...................................................................PAGE 14 CANADIAN CATTLE IDENTIFICATION AGENCY .....................................................PAGE 15 BEEF CATTLE RESEARCH COUNCIL .........................................................................PAGE 16

Robert Metner

Mark Good

Mary Paziuk

Jim Buchanan

District 11

District 13


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District 12

District 14




There’s an old expression – may you live in interesting times. Well, that certainly played itself out over and over again in 2020, a year that felt in many ways like a giant Groundhog Day. On top of the typical kinds of challenges we face, like the weather, equipment issues, labour shortages, changes to government policies and programs and the like, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly upended the way we usually do things. On the positive side, farmers and ranchers were already used to working at home, with social distancing a normal part of many of our day-to-day operations. The industry quickly pulled together to come up with strategies to safely do certain things, such as holding auctions and purebred sales, and to advocate for needed programs. On the negative side, the uncertainty related to the pandemic, such as the market impact, the processing plant disruptions and concerns about our own personal health or that of our loved ones only compounded the worry and stress that comes with our work. Even prior to the pandemic, MBP had encouraged producers to reach out and seek support when they need it from friends and family, or resources like Manitoba Farm, Rural and Northern Support Services. MBP was also one of the groups that supported the Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms study commissioned by Farm Management Canada in 2019, with the report released in 2020. The study’s goal was to improve understanding of the relationship between farm business management practices and farmers’ mental health. Three out of four farmers surveyed rated market unpredictability, workload pressures and financial concerns as the top three stress factors. Other stressors included: maintaining public trust; the effects of certain policies that can add costs to beef production and reduce global competitiveness; and, the potential for disease outbreaks. Among the key report recommendations were: the need to continue to raise awareness of the importance of farmers’ mental health; to improve mental health literacy for farmers and others who support them; and, the need for more farmer-specific mental health support services. The beef industry and other sectors will use the findings of this report to continue to impress upon governments and policy and program developers the importance of having effective tools to help producers when it comes to their mental health. With traditional business risk management (BRM) programs the focus is often on the economic or financial aspects of trying to reduce risk. However, it’s also important to recognize the human aspect of managing risk. By having more effective BRM tools they can help provide greater certainty and ideally result in less stress for farmers and ranchers. For years the beef industry has been seeking better BRM tools. We know that programs like AgriStability are not as effective for our sector as for other commodities. The effects of the pandemic ramped up the urgency of these discussions. Shortly after the onset of the pandemic, MBP and its national and provincial counterparts sought the establishment of a set-aside program to address the processing challenges by helping to manage inventories throughout the beef production system and better match the number of cattle ready to market with the amount of processing capacity available. Set-asidetype programs have rolled out in several provinces, including Manitoba. The beef industry also sought measures to address steep premiums that affected the affordability of livestock price insurance, specifically asking for cost-sharing of premiums by governments. Other changes that were pursued included enhancements to the Advance Payments Program (such as a larger interest free portion and an increase to the overall cash advance limit), and, within AgriStability, the beef industry has sought the removal of the reference margin limit, elimination of the $3 million payment cap, raising of the payment trigger to 85% of the reference margin, and faster processing of interim claims.

Elsewhere on the BRM front, MBP took part in a review of forage insurance programs initiated by the provincial government. A number of changes are pending here that should be beneficial to our sector. MBP had regular discussions with Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation about how to make their insurance programs and lending tools more effective. There was also significant progress on the livestock predation file, with the announcement of $300,000 in provincial funding toward a three-year pilot project that aims to reduce the risk of negative interactions between livestock and predators. MBP had sought support for this type of initiative for many years. MBP is making a financial contribution toward this project and a coordinator has been hired to help move it forward, along with assistance from the members of the Livestock Predation Protection Working Group. Thank you to the many producers who filled out the project survey, as this information is very valuable. Another key area of MBP work in 2020 related to the provincial government’s changes to the agricultural Crown lands (ACL) leasing program, and their impact on lease holders. MBP has stood firmly behind its members in seeking the continuation of both legacy (family) and unit transfers, and in reinforcing the critical importance of the first right of renewal for legacy leaseholders. The first right of renewal was achieved and MBP recognizes the provincial government for enacting this key change. MBP has also consistently asked that the rental rate increase be transitioned in over a period of five years, recognizing the need for producers to have more time to adjust to this rate hike. We continue to seek ways to address concerns about the new system for valuing improvements, to reinforce the need for informed access, and we are seeking recognition of the ecosystem services producers provide in managing ACL. The importance of ACL to beef production in Manitoba cannot be understated and work will continue on this key file in 2021. This is just a short overview of some of MBP’s work in 2020. I have truly enjoyed my seven years on MBP’s board of directors. During this time, we’ve been through floods and droughts, changes in governments and their policies and programs, differences of opinions on how to approach certain issues, but also tremendous collaboration on many issues. At times it felt like we were standing still on certain matters, such as the discussions over making BRM programs more responsive, or trying to advance the livestock predation protection file. Just like dealing with the pandemic, advocacy work is a marathon, not a sprint. As much as we want instant solutions, it takes a lot of legwork and persistence to get changes made. I am truly appreciative of the tremendous support producers and other industry partners have shown for MBP’s work. I’ve met so many great people – producers, people from other organizations and commodity groups, government staff and elected officials. I’ve taken away something from all these interactions. I could not have served my fellow producers without the help of the many dedicated board members I’ve worked alongside, as well as the staff who so capably serve our membership. Finally, I’d like to thank my partner Gary and my family members for their patience and understanding as I spent countless hours on the phone and days on the road for meetings related to MBP’s work. You will never know how much I have valued this support. In closing, as we turn the page to 2021, I am hopeful that we won’t live in such “interesting times” for too much longer. A return to the more regular rhythms of our pre-COVID lives would be a welcome change. But despite the rollercoaster that was 2020, I remain optimistic for the future of our industry. If nothing else, the pandemic has given the public a greater understanding of the importance of agriculture and the food system and they remain confident in the high quality and safe food producers are bringing to their tables, and that is invaluable.





The year 2020 was unprecedented. That’s a statement that has been said multiple times over the past months by so many, and is very applicable to the beef sector. It has impacted how many organizations operate, including Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP). However, MBP has been able to keep focused on many efforts involving the sector, both related to the COVID-19 pandemic and otherwise. The main impacts of the pandemic on the beef sector have been packing plant challenges, market uncertainty, and public health restrictions, to name a few. The market crash that happened in the spring greatly impacted the price that producers were able to get for their cattle. MBP, as well as our provincial counterparts the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and the National Cattle Feeders’ Association, have been advocating for support for the sector throughout the pandemic. The Canada-Manitoba Finished Cattle Feed Assistance Program and adjustments to Canada Emergency Business Account were some of the positive developments to come from our advocacy efforts. I was encouraged to see adjustments were made to the initial feed assistance program to make it more workable. We will continue to engage with both levels of government to try to ensure these programs, and any future programs, are effective and roll out properly. Effective programs and Business Risk Management (BRM) tools for the sector are extremely important moving forward. As an industry, we are very supportive of the proposed changes to AgriStability tabled at the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Agriculture meetings in the fall of 2020. These adjustments would make AgriStability more equitable for multiple sectors. I am hoping we see this move forward, as well as other adjustments to current and/or future programs that would benefit the sector. For example, seeing adjustments to Western Livestock Price Insurance (WLPIP) and making it a permanent cross-country program would be very positive for producers. WLPIP is seen as an effective program by many that utilize it. Agricultural Crown Lands (ACL) was an important file for MBP again in 2020. In the fall, the province held a public consultation on the proposed renewal process for legacy forage leases and renewable permits. We strongly encouraged producers to take part in the consultation as the more voices heard the better. MBP is supportive of the changes related to the first right of renewal on legacy leases, as access and predictability are essential to long-term planning for livestock operations that have been in business for a long time. Based on feedback from the consultation, the province moved forward and finalized the regulatory amendment with these changes. MBP is pleased this change has been finalized. However, MBP continues to have concerns with other ACL matters, such as removal of unit transfers and the lack of informed access, and we will continue to advocate for adjustments to these areas. Predation continues to be a challenge that producers deal with. In 2020, MBP received funding to conduct a pilot project related to livestock predation. MBP is appreciative of the provincial government’s support for this important project aimed at reducing the risks associated with interactions between cattle, sheep and goats and problem predators. The project is well underway, with Ray Bittner hired by MBP to lead it. We have been receiving great feedback from producers to a survey we sent out in our December issue of Cattle Country. We look forward to moving this project forward in 2021, which will involve working with producer cooperators to test various Risk Management Practices on farms. During 2020, I have been encouraged to be part of a consultation process for

the Manitoba Protein Advantage. The provincial government has been working on a collaborative plan to make Manitoba an innovative hub for quality protein ingredients, whether they are animal or plant derived. Protein options for consumers are very important for the growing global population. Beef plays a very important role in meeting this growing demand, so working to ensure the primary producer is supported is one of MBP’s main priorities throughout this consultation. Some of the stated goals in this strategy include a 35 per cent increase in animal protein production, 15 per cent reduction in carbon intensity per kilogram of animal protein, and a 15 per cent increase in productivity of agricultural Crown lands and privately-owned grassland and forages. MBP will work to be continuously involved in this strategy to help achieve overall goals that will benefit the sector. Misinformation about our industry is a major challenge we must deal with, as it greatly impacts people’s perceptions of it. That is why public trust was a key focal point of work in 2020 for MBP and national organizations such as the CCA and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, among others. We have a great story to tell in our industry. Our involvement in Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands program has enhanced habitat for many species at risk here in Manitoba. This is just one of many examples of the positives that come from beef production. I enjoyed seeing the phenomenal McDonald’s Canada commercials that aired in the later part of 2020, which were able to deliver a positive message for the beef sector that had a huge reach. From my perspective, there are a lot more positive messages being shared now as a result of some of the great work being done in our industry. MBP will continue its efforts to get the positive message out to the general public. As a result of COVID-19, many of our public outreach events were cancelled. However, MBP was able to continue its public trust communication efforts in other effective ways. One example was MBP developed a commercial featuring the Steppler family, which aired in May and June on CTV Morning Live. This commercial was a great way to reach many consumers in the urban areas, and delivered a positive message of beef production here in the province. I am also very happy to share we have a revamped website up and running. This new website is modernized to make information more easily accessible to producers and consumers. Please check it out. Throughout 2020, MBP Board of Directors and staff have really worked hard to adjust to the new normal. I really want to thank all of our team for the collaborative and positive effort put in to keep things moving forward. We have maintained focus on our three key strategic objectives; telling our story, building our industry, and serving our members. We will continue to stay focused on these pillars moving in to the new year, and I know we have the board and staff to do so. Before I close out my report, I also want to take a quick moment to thank my family. With the challenges and stress that have come up in the industry and as a result of COVID-19, I am very thankful to have my family for support. The busyness of a toddler and thought of incoming newborn also has taken my mind off the global pandemic, which has kept me going. Hoping we move forward positively in 2021. Thank you for the support as we work on many areas on behalf of producers here in Manitoba.


Carson Callum General Manager


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Maureen Cousins Policy Analyst

David Hultin

Communications Coordinator

Deb Walger Finance

Ray Bittner

Livestock Predation Prevention Project Coordinator


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Dianne Riding – President Tyler Fulton – Vice President Mike Duguid – 2nd Vice President Nancy Howatt – Secretary Peter Penner - Treasurer



Gord Adams – Chair Melissa Atchison – Vice-Chair Mike Duguid Steven Manns Mary Paziuk Jim Buchanan

Who is MBP?

AGM/Nominations/ Resolutions

Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) is the exclusive voice of the province’s cattle industry, representing approximately 6,300 producers in the cow-calf, backgrounding and finishing sectors. MBP is a nonprofit organization with a producer-elected board of 14 directors representing different geographic areas of the province. Its vision is a vibrant, prosperous, respected, sustainable beef industry in Manitoba.


MBP’s mission is to represent the province’s beef producers through communication, advocacy, research, education, and leadership within the industry, to governments and to the public. These efforts take place to strengthen the sector’s viability, improve prosperity and ensure a sustainable future for the beef industry in Manitoba for the benefit of our beef producers and all Manitobans.

Nancy Howatt – Chair Steven Manns – Vice-Chair Melissa Atchison Kevin Duddridge Tyler Fulton Nancy Howatt – Chair Steven Manns – Vice-Chair Peter Penner Kevin Duddridge Mark Good


Matthew Atkinson – Chair Robert Metner – Vice-Chair Mike Duguid Mary Paziuk Steven Manns Mark Good


Gord Adams – Chair Mike Duguid – Vice-Chair Matthew Atkinson Mark Good Melissa Atchison


Peter Penner – Chair Mike Duguid – Vice-Chair Mary Paziuk Robert Metner Kevin Duddridge


Peter Penner – Chair Tyler Fulton – Vice-Chair Nancy Howatt Jim Buchanan

Production Management Tyler Fulton – Chair Robert Metner – Vice-Chair Gord Adams Peter Penner Kevin Duddridge


Tyler Fulton – Chair Melissa Atchison – Vice-Chair Mark Good Matthew Atkinson Jim Buchanan Nancy Howatt

How is MBP’s work funded? MBP’s activities are funded through the collection of check-off dollars. Two check-offs with a combined total value of $5.50/head are levied at the point of sale on all cattle sold in Manitoba. Of this, a $3/ head mandatory, refundable provincial check-off goes toward financing MBP’s activities on behalf of the local beef industry, as well as its membership in organizations such as the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), the National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) and others. MBP’s levy is collected under the authority of the Cattle Fee Regulation under The Cattle Producers Association Act, a piece of provincial legislation. As well, a mandatory non-refundable $2.50/head Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off is collected on all cattle sold in Manitoba and the monies are transferred to the Canadian Beef Check-off Agency. Goals of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off are to increase sales of domestic and export beef and to find better and more efficient methods of producing beef and beef

cattle. The Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off provides industry funding for the Beef Cattle Research Council which is responsible for the industry’s national research program, as well as to Canada Beef for market development and promotion. Funding is also provided for public and stakeholder engagement, administered by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association in partnership with Canada Beef and under the oversight of the Canadian Beef Advisors. For additional information about MBP’s 2019-20 budget, see page 10. How are MBP’s activities organized and executed? MBP’s activities are guided by the board of directors’ broad direction and executed by three full-time and two part-time staff members and MBP’s Executive and Committee members. Full-time staff include general manager Carson Callum, policy analyst Maureen Cousins, and communications coordinator David Hultin. Part-time staff are finance person Deb Walger, and Ray Bittner, coordinator for the Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot Project. MBP employs contract staff from time to time to deliver initiatives such as the Verified Beef Production+ Program or special projects. MBP also has two wholly owned subsidiary corporations – the Manitoba Livestock Cash Advance Program Inc. (MLCA) and Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc. (MBFI), each with their own independent staff and governance structure, but which do report information to MBP. Both the MLCA and MBFI boards have representation from MBP’s board of directors. MBP directors each sit on internal committees where they provide input and help develop positions around specific types of issues or opportunities. Some committees serve an organizational function, such as helping to organize the district meetings and annual general meeting or planning MBP’s participation in events and communications activities aimed at promoting the industry.

MBP is also represented at several national and provincial organizations and external committees. This affords MBP the opportunity to bring forward for discussion specific Manitoba perspectives on topics such as business risk management programs, traceability, animal care, research, trade, sustainability initiatives and many more. Examples include: • Assiniboine River Basin Initiative: Gord Adams, Maureen Cousins • Association of Manitoba Community Pastures: Carson Callum • Beef Value Chain Roundtable: Carson Callum, Maureen Cousins • Beef Cattle Research Council: Melissa Atchison • BTB Task Force Committee: Mary Paziuk, Mark Good, Matthew Atkinson, Carson Callum, Maureen Cousins • Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off Agency: Mary Paziuk • Canadian Cattle Identification Agency: Nancy Howatt • Canadian Cattlemen’s Association: Gord Adams, Tyler Fulton, Mike Duguid • Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef: Carson Callum, Maureen Cousins • Feedlot Committee: Harry Dalke, Steven Manns, Matthew Atkinson • Invasive Species Council of Manitoba: Mike Duguid, Maureen Cousins • Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee: Mark Good • Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc: Tyler Fulton, Larry Wegner (until June AGM), Melissa Atchison thereafter • Manitoba Farm Safety Council: Peter Penner • Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association: Mike Duguid • Manitoba Livestock Cash Advance: Peter Penner, Tyler Fulton, Nancy Howatt, Mike Duguid, Kevin Duddridge • National Cattle Feeders Association: Harry Dalke, Carson Callum • Verified Beef Production Plus Program: Dianne Riding, Melissa Atchison





Strategic direction MBP’s activities focus around a number of key objectives: telling the industry’s story via advocacy and enhanced communications; building the industry with innovation, improved economic competitiveness and profitability; and, serving MBP’s members by developing the organization and its capacity. These strategic objectives dovetail with MBP’s mission to strengthen the viability of Manitoba’s beef sector and to ensure a sustainable future for our province’s beef industry. The following is an overview of some of the key issues affecting Manitoba’s cattle industry in 2020 and activities undertaken by MBP in support of the sector. Production Conditions In early January, the Manitoba government announced that the Hay Disaster Benefit (HDB) had been activated due to the drought conditions in 2019. The estimated payout was expected to be in excess of $5 million on approximately 1,500 claims. Adverse weather conditions again proved challenging in 2020. Following two successive droughts and a cold, protracted spring in 2020, many producers were left with no residual feed supplies, and concerned they would not be able to produce enough hay for winter. Additionally, pastures were in tough shape in many areas as cattle were getting ready for turnout. MBP wrote to the Manitoba government asking for consideration that Wildlife Management Areas be made available for haying and grazing in the affected areas and in mid-July the province agreed to do this. Although there was inadequate moisture in some regions, excess moisture arrived in southeastern Manitoba in early June, leading to overland flooding and associated damages. Heavy rains also appeared in early July in southwestern to central Manitoba, again leading to overland flooding, road damage, some evacuations of livestock, and crop damage. Despite the damages, the reappearance of rain overall proved helpful for pasture, forage and crop production and helped somewhat recharge groundwater supplies, wells and dugouts. Drier conditions returned a few weeks thereafter, but timely rains allowed many producers to secure adequate feed supplies heading into winter. However, some producers closed the year concerned about low dugout and well levels, and how low soil moisture conditions may affect production in 2021. By year’s end no regions in Manitoba had been designated as eligible for the use of the federal livestock tax deferral provision for 2020 due to extreme weather conditions such as droughts or excess moisture. Statistics Canada’s livestock estimates reported 984,600 head of cattle on all Manitoba beef operations as of July 1, 2020, which was down from 1,002,900 head on July 1, 2019. Year over year there were 20,500 fewer head on cow-calf operations, but there were 7,000 more head on feeding operations and 1,500 more head on feeder and stocker operations. Ongoing effects of successive droughts likely fed into the overall decline in herd size, among other factors. COVID-19 Pandemic The global COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Manitoba’s cattle industry throughout the year, affecting everything from the processing sector, to the markets, to supply chains and more. MBP undertook considerable work related to the pandemic, both on its own and in collaboration with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), National Cattle Feeders Association (NCFA), provincial cattle organizations, the Manitoba Livestock Marketing Association and other value chain members. At the outset this included identifying goods and services which needed to be deemed essential to the sector by government, as well as the timely development of informational resources for safely holding auction sales, purebred sales and for processing cattle. Key too were advocacy efforts targeted at government and elected officials outlining tools and strategies needed to help the beef industry move through and beyond the challenges caused by the pandemic. An immediate need was the creation of a national set-aside program to address the processing backlog by helping to manage cattle inventories and better match the number of cattle ready to market with available processing capacity. In early May the federal government announced a national AgriRecovery initiative which included cost-shared funding toward set-asides programs for the cattle sector. MBP advocated with the Manitoba government to provide its 40 per cent contribution toward a local set-aside program, as was being done in Alberta and Saskatchewan with their programs. The 2020 Canada-Manitoba Finished Cattle Feed Assistance Program was announced in mid-October. While the province agreed to administer it, it did not provide its 40 per cent contribution. MBP requested adjustments to the program to address eligibility 6

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concerns such as: whether the eligible slaughter date could be extended; the minimum weight requirements; and, the requirements for a proof of slaughter date as opposed to a shipment date. Due to the steep spike in premiums for the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP), MBP and other industry associations lobbied the federal and provincial governments to cost share the price insurance premiums with producers, and to extend the enrolment deadline. While the calf program deadline was extended to June 18, there was no agreement by the Manitoba government to cost share the premiums. This was disappointing. MBP also participated in a group providing input into ways to enhance WLPIP and to make price insurance available in other regions of Canada. This program is particularly important for young and new beef producers. The pandemic’s impact reinforced the fact that access to well designed and sufficiently funded business risk management (BRM) tools has never been more critical for cattle producers and the Canadian food system. The beef industry redoubled its efforts to have governments address sectoral shortcomings with BRM programs. Among the actions requested of the federal and provincial governments were to enhance the Advance Payments Program by increasing the interest free portion for beef cattle to $500,000, increasing the overall cash advance limit to $3 million, and, extending repayment terms for beef cattle to 36 months. Within AgriStability, the beef industry sought the removal of the reference margin limit (RML), elimination of the $3 million payment cap, and raising the payment trigger to 85%, as well as the swifter processing of interim claims. Having access to a more robust and responsive AgriStability program could help instill greater confidence in Manitoba’s cattle producers and encourage future investment and growth. Business Risk Management Programs MBP’s collaborative efforts with other industry partners to improve BRM programs continued throughout 2020. For example, MBP Vice-President Tyler Fulton, who is also an MBP representative to the CCA board of directors, was one of the presenters to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in May as part of its study of the Canadian response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fulton touched upon the importance of responsive BRM programs and explained why AgriStability is not an effective tool for beef producers. He also reinforced the value of livestock price insurance as a timely and bankable risk management tool. MBP representatives had a virtual meeting with federal Agriculture and AgriFood Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in November, talking about the effects of the pandemic, the importance of having a set-aside program, and the need for improvements to AgriStability. Through 2020 similar conversations were held with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen and departmental staff. As well, MBP directors and staff participated in joint outreach to Members of Parliament in conjunction with staff and directors from the CCA and NCFA. In late November Minister Bibeau outlined a series of proposed changes to AgriStability that would require the support of provincial and territorial governments. MBP believes the proposed removal of the RML would go a long way toward increasing the predictability and bankability of the program and ultimately make it more equitable, particularly for cow-calf producers, but also others in the sector. Similarly, an increase in the compensation rate would be beneficial. MBP believes that possible program improvements like those being proposed following the federal/provincial/territorial ministers of agriculture meetings in November are vital steps toward addressing some of the beef industry’s concerns about the existing BRM programs. The proposed changes would be helpful not only for the 2020 program year, but beyond. MBP asked the Manitoba government to give serious consideration to supporting the federal government’s proposal as it represents a major – and overdue – advance in addressing industry concerns related to programs like AgriStability. As of the end of 2020, no decisions had been made as to whether the proposed changes would proceed. In recent years, MBP requested a review of the suite of forage insurance programs offered through Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) due to producer concerns about gaps or challenges with existing offerings that limited their effectiveness. In early 2020 the province announced such a review. MBP provided input as to what is or is not working, and possible areas for improvement. In midJune the review’s findings were released and MASC is exploring action on several of its recommendations. These include: new methodologies to assign coverages to new insureds; determining if the effect that disaster years have on future coverage can



be minimized; establishing insured values that better reflect the price of hay in claim years; and, reviewing the index-based insurance approach used in other jurisdictions which rely on weather or satellite-based technology. MBP will continue to provide feedback as the recommendations are being evaluated and actioned. Acting upon requests from MBP, MASC announced that extended grazing forages would be made eligible for wildlife damage compensation. This is limited to 45% of the value of loss on swathed or baled crops or forage, and suitable standing annual crops (e.g. corn) that are intended for grazing. Minister Pedersen also indicated there will be changes for the 2021 AgriInsurance contract to introduce individual productivity indexing for silage corn, and increasing the transportation allowance within the forage insurance dollar value and Hay Disaster Benefit for the Forage Insurance Program. These changes should be beneficial for the cattle sector. Agricultural Crown lands There was considerable activity by MBP on the agricultural Crown lands (ACL) file, aimed at addressing concerns about a number of changes the Manitoba government was making as part of its modernization of the ACL Leasing Program. Key focal points of MBP’s advocacy efforts included: ensuring that the promised first right of renewal for legacy leases (as announced in October 2019) would be affirmed as quickly as possible; the need for a five-year phase-in period for the rental rate increase (made even more pressing in light of the uncertainty in the agriculture sector created by COVID-19); and, assuring the continued ability for lease holders to utilize both family transfers and unit transfers. In late September the Manitoba government announced a consultation on possible amendments to the Agricultural Crown Lands Leases and Permits Regulation under The Crown Lands Act. The proposed amendments included the desired renewal process for legacy forage leases and permits that were in place prior to October 1, 2019, but did not allow for the continuation of unit transfers. As part of its submission, MBP restated its position that both legacy leases and unit transfers are very important to the cattle sector, noting both types of transfers align with the ACL program’s stated mandate of supporting “the sustainable expansion of the livestock herd in Manitoba, contributes to ecological goods and services, and provides mitigation and adaptation to climate change.” Also, MBP noted that the Regulatory Accountability Impact Analysis of the proposed regulatory amendments had stated: “In specific regions of the province, some farms are dependent on the continued access to these agricultural Crown land leases to sustain their livestock operations.” MBP asserted this is true of both legacy leases and those operations that would be subject to unit transfers. In early December the regulatory changes were finalized. MBP is pleased the government listened to industry concerns about the need for the right of renewal for legacy leases and permits. By having renewable leases producers will have the confidence to invest and improve lands, and to grow their herds. However, MBP was disappointed the government did not change course on unit transfers. MBP’s advocacy efforts on the ACL file will continue in 2021 in areas such as: the impact of the rental rate increase; ways to address concerns about the new system for valuing improvements; providing recognition of ecosystem services provided by producers in managing ACL, and incenting improvements to ACL; the need to ensure there is adequate staffing for the ACL program; producers’ interests in being able to purchase ACL in a more timely manner; and more. Additionally, MBP will continue to strongly reiterate its position with the Manitoba government related to informed access. MBP has not looked to block public access but rather is seeking informed access by citizens wishing to access ACL. MBP believes this step is needed to help protect livestock, producers and the public. An absence of informed access can lead to significant biosecurity issues, can endanger livestock and people, and potentially harm the landscape, among other concerns. Providing clear rights of access would help strengthen the effective and efficient use of these Crown lands and afford needed protections. In the absence of informed access, MBP has asked that consideration be given to setting aside a portion of lease revenue into a dedicated fund that lease holders could access to pay for damage caused by public access. Wildlife management MBP continues to strongly advocate for strategies to help reduce the risk of negative wildlife-livestock interaction and conflict. MBP co-chairs the Livestock Predation Protection Working Group (LPPWG), which includes reps from Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (MARD), MASC, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,

Manitoba Trappers Association and Manitoba Sheep Association (MSA). In 2019 a proposed pilot project – the Manitoba Livestock Predation Prevention Project was jointly developed by LPPWG members with MBP identified as the lead agency to deliver it. It was presented to the Manitoba government for funding consideration. In early February 2020 Minister Pedersen announced a grant up to $300,000 over three years for the project. Additional funding is coming from MBP and the MSA. MBP is very pleased to see this important and long-awaited project moving forward. Predation-related challenges pose a significant concern for Manitoba’s livestock producers, who pride themselves on providing quality animal care and husbandry. This project will help improve the understanding of the risks, and work toward developing effective prevention and mitigation methods to reduce future losses. There are three main aspects to the project: On Farm Predation Risk Assessments; testing the effectiveness of Risk Management Practices (on-farm predation prevention practices and predator removal mitigation practices); and, communication of potential risks and management practices that could help reduce risk. Ray Bittner is the project coordinator employed by MBP. Members of the LPPWG have been envisioning various aspects of the project, and how they will roll out in a pandemic environment. In December, a survey on predation losses was distributed to cattle and sheep producers, and will provide useful insights. Outreach to potential producer cooperators in the project will begin in early 2021. Water management Ensuring effective management of water resources remains very important to Manitoba’s beef industry. In August MBP provided comments to the Manitoba’s Expert Advisory Council (EAC) under The Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act regarding the consultation around “Manitoba Water Management Strategy Seeking Perspectives: An Engagement Document.” The EAC had been asked to provide advice and recommendations on a modernized, coordinated provincial water management strategy. MBP noted that from a production perspective, water sustainability, extremes in moisture conditions and similar risks are of primary concern to cattle producers, and that strategies are needed to help mitigate risk in these areas. The consultation also touched on land use planning. MBP noted effective land use planning is critical as there is growing competition for land critical to beef production, driving costs to producers. Further, taking land best suited to raising cattle or forages and converting it to alternate uses could have adverse implications, such as impacting the way water is managed on the landscape, and also affecting biodiversity. Enhancing climate resiliency was raised during this consultation. MBP believes this is a very important priority. Investments in research, technology and innovation related to climate change and its impact on sectors such as livestock, crop and forage production will be key, as will associated extension activities to producers. Also valuable are investments in adaptive capacity, such as natural infrastructure. The ability for producers to access funding to implement beneficial management practices has always been well received by the beef sector. For example, MBP noted the ability to access cost-shared funding for wells and reservoir projects was extremely important to producers facing drought conditions. MBP added there must be a commitment by governments to maintaining their water-related infrastructure to ensure their continued effectiveness. Regarding flood management, a key issue remains outstanding. In 2018 the federal and provincial governments committed to the construction of outlet channels at Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin to allow for better water management during future flood events. MBP has long sought the timely completion of this muchneeded project. Unfortunately there was again very limited work on it in 2020 as the two governments engaged in discussions around the environmental approvals and consultative processes required to move the project forward. MBP and other stakeholders attended a meeting with provincial Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler in mid-October and again reinforced the need for outstanding matters to be resolved so this project can be completed. Environmental matters MBP has received additional funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) for the continuation of the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) project for the period 2019 to 2022. The aim of the project is to help protect important habitats for at-risk plant and animal species in a designated region of southwestern Manitoba. Some of the targeted grassland species include: Sprague’s Pipit, Ferruginous Hawk, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Loggerhead Shrike, Burrowing Owl and Baird’s Sparrow. MBP has again engaged the Manitoba Habitat MA NITO BA BEEF P R O D UC ER S




Heritage Corporation (MHHC) on the delivery of this project. The enhancement of grasslands - and the associated species at risk habitat – is being achieved primarily through the implementation of enhanced livestock grazing systems. Landowners invest significant in-kind time and resources into implementing projects, with ECCC funding supporting the purchase of grazing infrastructure, such as fencing or watering systems.

potentially toxic levels of contaminants such as ergot.

This project shows that species at risk conservation and agricultural production can coexist. With the majority of native grasslands in Manitoba being managed by private landowners, this project provided these land stewards with tangible evidence that the public is willing to support, and invest in the public good that results from their land management. MBP is looking into options to potentially expand SARPAL activities to other regions of the province.

A number of cases of bovine anaplasmosis were identified in cattle in a community pasture in Manitoba in the fall of 2020. This is a production-limiting bacterial disease that attacks the animal’s red blood cells, but it has no impact on human health or food safety. It is no longer a federally reportable disease, so this changes how the CFIA deals with it in that there is no testing of imported animals for it, and no destruction of infected animals. There have been intermittent occurrences of it in the province in recent years. MBP engaged with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development about the situation, including raising producer awareness of the disease and how to mitigate potential risk. It is also important producers work with their private veterinarians on their herd health strategies.

In a similar vein, MBP has made a financial contribution to the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program. This program works with cattle farmers in southwestern Manitoba to increase the population of this endangered species through reintroductions and creating protected burrows for returning burrowing owls to nest. In its discussions with governments and the public, MBP focused on communicating the positive environmental impact beef production plays on soil health, carbon sequestration, and maintaining biodiversity on grasslands. The sector has a powerful story to tell in this area, and significant headway is being made on this with consumers and policy makers. MBP participated in consultations undertaken by Cleanfarms on behalf of Manitoba Conservation and Climate about creating a stewardship program plan for dealing with the end of life for agricultural plastics, such as grain bags, baler twine and silage wrap. Recycling of these products was taking place through a series of pilot projects run by Cleanfarms in the Prairie provinces. The Manitoba government is seeking the transition to a permanent province-wide, industry-funded agricultural recycling program in 2021. Funding for a permanent program will be managed through an Environmental Handling Fee collected by companies that supply farmers with grain bags and twine at the time these items are purchased. MBP identified the cost implications of such fees, noting fees should not be implemented until such time as a recycling market is available for specific products. MBP also noted that access to agricultural plastics recycling has been limited in some parts of Manitoba and that this concern needs to be addressed. Animal health and care Having access to large animal veterinarians is integral to the long-term sustainability of Manitoba’s cattle industry. Training, recruiting and retaining the next generation of these veterinarians is also important to maintaining public trust related to animal agriculture around matters such as animal care, food safety and public health. MBP had undertaken advocacy efforts in the past with the Manitoba government seeking its continued support for the funding of student seats at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). MBP was pleased when the province announced in September that it was renewing its financial commitment to the WCVM, helping to ensure Manitoba students have the opportunity to train there and hopefully return home to practice in rural communities. MBP took part in a provincial consultation related to rural crime, metal theft and biosecurity concerns. Manitoba is looking at amendments to its Petty Trespasses Act, The Occupiers’ Liability Act and The Animal Diseases Act. Rural crime and trespassing can harm cattle operations, causing financial losses, endangerment to people and livestock, and damage to pastures, forages and infrastructure. Maintaining high biosecurity standards is also very important for livestock producers. The potential introduction of foreign animal diseases could compromise animal health and lead to costly economic consequences, and also possible trade implications. MBP strongly recommended more work be done to inform the public seeking to access private lands about the need for adherence to biosecurity practices. MBP added this information needs to be conveyed to government departments and agencies, as well as the private contractors working for them as they have critical responsibilities when it comes to helping to maintain biosecurity on agricultural operations. MBP also repeated its ask for informed access to agricultural Crown lands. MBP signalled its intent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to provide comments when the department announces its next stage of consultations related to feed regulatory modernization. It is important cattle producers have access to nutritionally sound and safe feed products, particularly when concerns arise about 8

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Through its representation on the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, MBP continued to raise the importance of addressing ongoing concerns about identification tag retention issues. MBP also identified the desire among producers to potentially have access to a wider variety and style of RFID tags.

The new federal regulations for the humane transport of livestock came into force on Feb. 20, 2020, but there is a two-year transition period on the enforcement of feed, water and rest (FWR) interval provisions for the cattle sector. This will allow time for education, awareness building, and the development of rest stop infrastructure. The proposed changes will see FWR intervals for cattle drop from 48 hours to 36 hours and rest stop durations increase from five to eight hours. Additionally, there are new recordkeeping components and definition updates for unfit and compromised cattle, a number of which are now in effect, such as transfer of care documentation. MBP, along with other industry stakeholders have expressed concerns to government officials that by reducing the hours in transit it means that cattle will have to be unloaded more frequently, potentially increasing the risk of injury and illness during the loading/unloading and comingling processes. The beef cattle transportation success rate is more than 99 per cent and it is important that any regulatory changes not negatively impact this. Building sectoral capacity: research Among MBP’s strategic objectives are building Manitoba’s cattle industry through innovation, improved economic competitiveness and profitability. MBP strongly supports investments in research, innovation and knowledge transfer. Twenty three cents of every Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off (national check-off ) dollar collected in Manitoba goes towards conducting and promoting research activities re: beef cattle, beef and beef products. See the Beef Cattle Research Council at www.beefresearch. ca for more details. A further 6.5 cents of every NCO dollar collected in Manitoba is retained for Manitoba projects that reflect MBP’s research priorities and which align to national priorities. Over the past year, MBP investments have gone toward research projects such as: assessing the impact of grazing annual forage cover crops in an integrated croplivestock system; perennial forage grain for fall grazing of beef cattle; introducing legumes into an existing forage stand using sod and broadcast seeding and mob grazing techniques; and ecological goods and services provided by rangelands and lands producing perennial forages in Manitoba, among others. MBP also provided funding toward the Farm Management Canada (FMC) research project “Exploring the Connection Between Mental Health and Farm Business Management” which led to the release of the Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms Report in 2020. Findings from this research revealed a positive correlation between mental health and farm business management. As FMC noted, “These research findings are critical for informing government policy, resource allocation, and business management and mental health service providers in supporting healthy farmers and healthy farm businesses for a prosperous and sustainable agricultural sector.” MBP remains a key partner in Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc. (MBFI), the collaborative beef and forage research and demonstration farm at three sites in the Brandon area. The other partners are Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association and Ducks Unlimited Canada. MBP strongly believes the applied research and knowledge transfer activities being undertaken through MBFI can play a critical role in advancing Manitoba’s beef and forage industries, ensuring they are well positioned for future generations of producers. Core funding for MBFI is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. As well, MBP continues to provide financial, administrative and governance support to MBFI. Organizationally MBFI’s direction and activities are overseen by an elected



board of directors which includes producers. MBP thanks the core partners and all the other generous partners (including corporations, companies and academic institutions) for their ongoing commitment to MBFI’s success. For more details on MBFI’s activities in 2020 see page 11 or visit www.mbfi.ca to learn more. Other MBP activities In 2020 MBP received the results of a study it had undertaken by Agriteam Canada of the economic impact of Manitoba’s beef industry. In addition to specific research and data analysis, Agriteam also canvassed producers at MBP’s 2019 district meetings for their views, including industry challenges and potential opportunities. From an economic perspective, the study found Manitoba cattle and calf sales accounted for 6.03% to 7.06% of Canadian farm cash receipts from cattle and calves over the period 2014 to 2018. Further, Manitoba cattle and calf sales accounted for 8.2% to 12.2% of total the province’s farm cash receipts. It has been estimated that the Manitoba beef sector generated in the range of 14,540 to 15,913 person-years of employment (jobs) in the provincial economy over that same period. Producers told Agriteam that factors such as market conditions, weather patterns, government regulations and production performance were having impacts on their operations, sometimes negatively and sometimes more positively. Examples producers cited of opportunities to strengthen the profitability and viability of beef enterprises included: pursuing greater returns on the Verified Beef Production Plus Program; building on genetic understanding and improvements; backgrounding and finishing at home; and focusing on available grass and finishing at home. Examples identified of demand side opportunities to develop or access markets for Manitoba beef included: developing overseas markets, EU certification and retained ownership direct to consumer; connecting with the public to increase awareness and sales; intercropping and extended grazing; and selling local fat cattle to fill local demand. Information gleaned through studies like this is valuable for MBP’s advocacy activities, helping demonstrate the sector’s economic impact, identifying areas where changes in the regulatory and policy environment would be beneficial, and identifying potential areas to examine for future growth. For example, this information was helpful as MBP continued to participate in the provincial government’s consultations about the development of its Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy. It was also useful as MBP provided input to a Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development consultation where input was sought in four areas: business risk management, market opportunities, innovation and technology, and resiliency. Telling our story: communications, outreach and sponsorship MBP participates in a variety of activities aimed at communicating with its members, and well as engaging with the general public to help inform them about beef production practices, and also to address any misconceptions they may have about the sector. A number of these activities are producer-focused. Prior to the pandemic-related event cancellations beginning, MBP directors made a presentation at each of the Beef and Forage Week stops, and MBP had a booth at Ag Days. Similarly, MBP was able to host a well-attended youth retreat in mid-January at MBFI’s Brookdale site. Key topics covered included succession planning, tax and financial issues, land acquisition, as well as managing the business and the human resources side of the operation. It was also a valuable networking opportunity for attendees. MBP collaborated with Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation to deliver a webinar in the spring about the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program. MBP was a sponsor of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association’s 2020 Regen Ag Conference. Due to the pandemic-related restrictions, MBP had to forgo its usual process of holding 14 in person fall district meetings, opting instead for a virtual platform. The same approach will be taken for MBP’s 42nd Annual General Meeting in February. The hope is to see the return of in person meetings for the fall 2021 district meetings. Unfortunately the pandemic also forced the cancellation of numerous public-facing events in which MBP normally participates, such as the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, the Red River Ex, Ag in the City, Open Farm Day, the Amazing Ag Adventure, and sporting events like Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Brandon Wheat Kings games. However, MBP forged ahead with other types of communications activities, with a greater focus on advertising and the use of social media to share information. This included running morning advertisements on CTV Winnipeg in the spring promoting Manitoba’s beef industry. MBP participated in a live interview and

BBQ segment on CTV Morning Live to talk about beef production, as well as the nutritional attributes of beef. Summer and Christmas/New Year’s radio ad campaigns on 94.3 The Drive and QX104 targeted listeners in Winnipeg and area. MBP produced a video for social media thanking those working on the front lines in the processing plants for their efforts. MBP’s longstanding involvement in the Great Tastes of Manitoba (GTOM) cooking show on CTV Winnipeg continued in 2020 with two new episodes, this time filmed in a new studio. To accompany the GTOM episodes, a special series of webisodes has been created showcasing Manitoba farmers. This included an on-farm feature with MBP director and beef producer Melissa Atchison and her family at their operation near Pipestone. There was also a webisode featuring beef producers Andre and Katie Steppler of Steppler Farms of the Miami area. The Stepplers were recognized as Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2020. Public reaction to these webisodes was extremely positive. Access GTOM Season 31 episodes, recipes and the webisodes at www.greattastes.mb.ca. GTOM is Manitoba’s highest-rated food show, of any food or cooking show broadcast into Manitoba. Having the web content has helped to expand the show’s reach to new and different audiences. Collaboration is very important when it comes to MBP’s ability to engage with diverse audiences. For example, MBP has a longstanding relationship with Agriculture in the Classroom Manitoba (AITC-M) and was a core level supporter of it in 2020. Its work focuses on providing accurate, balanced and current information for use as education resources in school curriculum and on enhancing awareness of agriculture in schools. MBP is also a supporter of the Manitoba 4-H Council as 4-H activities are important to the children of many Manitoba cattle producers. Communications in the form of engagement with the media is vital to MBP’s advocacy activities. In 2020, MBP representatives were featured in several dozen interviews/stories with media outlets from Manitoba and beyond, and MBP issued several news releases and statements as well. Topics covered through these activities ranged from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector, to changes to the agricultural Crown lands program, processing capacity challenges, the need for risk management program reforms, trade, the environment, public trust and many more. Member communications efforts remained a priority too. The primary outreach vehicle continues to be our newspaper Cattle Country which is distributed to producers, value chain members, government officials and others eight times annually. Subscribers to our biweekly e-newsletter continue to grow, as do the number of people gleaning information through our social media channels. To sign up for the e-newsletter contact MBP Communications Coordinator David Hultin at dhultin@mbbeef.ca. You can follow us on Facebook, and check us out on Twitter via @ManitobaBeef. In December MBP completed a refresh of its website to make it more user friendly and inviting, both for producers and for the general public who visit it to look for information about the industry and the association, as well as recipes. Serving our members: looking ahead MBP will continue to advocate on behalf our members as we work to advance Manitoba’s beef industry in 2021. Many familiar issues will be revisited, from agricultural Crown lands, to predation, water management, BRM tools, public trust and more. New issues and opportunities will undoubtedly emerge and MBP’s board of directors and staff will be there to tackle them. MBP thanks our producer members for your ongoing support. Moving the dial on policy issues is not always swift or easy, but your insights and support of our advocacy efforts is sincerely appreciated. Similarly, MBP appreciates the collaborative efforts between the various industry associations and other value chain members to help the sector respond to the various challenges, such as those arising from the pandemic. This level of cooperation has been invaluable. And, MBP thanks elected officials and government staff at all levels for ongoing engagement on issues and opportunities affecting Manitoba’s beef industry. As always, our organization is stronger when we hear from our members, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 1-800-772-0458 or via info@mbbeef.ca. For more information, please visit MBP’s website at www.mbbeef.ca



The information below is excerpts from MBP’s audited financial statement for the 2019-20 fiscal year as prepared by accounting firm MNP. To get a copy of the complete statement, contact the MBP office.

Non-Consolidated Statement of Financial Position As at June 30, 2020










Assets Current Cash and short term investments (Note 4) Accounts receivable Marketable securities (Note 5) Prepaid expenses and deposits Internally restricted cash (Note 6) Capital assets (Note 7) Investments (Note 8) Due from Manitoba Livestock Cash Advances Inc. (Note 9)

14,637 2,017,203













Liabilities Current Accounts payable and accruals (Note 9) Deferred contributions (Note 10)















Net Assets Internally restricted (Note 5) Unrestricted

Non-Consolidated Statement of Operations For the year ended June 30, 2020 Revenue Support Fees collected from producers under regulation Contract Rebate Dealer commission









Annual meeting



Interest and sundry



Newspaper revenue







Fees refunded

Other revenues

Project income Verified beef program Total Revenue





Expenses Amortization Bad debts Board meetings Canadian Cattleman's Association fees













General manager



Information technology



Demonstration farm expenses (Note 11) Directors' expenses (Note 12)




Memberships in other organizations







Professional fees



Provincial promotions



Office equipment, supplies and postage Producer communications





SARPAL project



Salaries and benefits















Recruitment Rent

Special projects Telephone Excess of revenue over expenses before other items Other items Cash contributions to MBFI (Note 11) Excess of revenue over expenses


15,067 1,892,549

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Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives (MBFI) is thankful for our dedicated staff, summer students, and collaborators who have worked diligently to fulfill the safety protocols and pandemic restrictions to see all project and farm work successfully met in 2020. MBFI continues to work toward the three E’s of extension, environment, and education. Extension programming is founded in on-farm research and demonstration studies, the environment is supported through promotion of biodiversity and building healthy landscapes, and education promotes the public’s understanding of the beef and forage industries. MBFI continues to develop as an organization, refining its strategic priorities in partnership with Manitoba Beef Producers, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association, and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (MB ARD). MBFI’s board of directors welcomed the addition of Melissa Atchison (Vice Chair), Tyler Fewings and Ken Gross, and the renewal of Tracy Gilson (Chair), serving alongside standing directors Tyler Fulton (Treasurer) and Lawrence Knockaert. MBFI recognizes the service and dedication of outgoing directors Larry Wegner, Don McIntyre, and Darren Chapman. We thank you for your commitment to MBFI and wish you all the best in your future work! Around the Farm

Capstone Project, led by Breanna Sheppard was completed with the installation of two nesting structures at the Johnson Farm. The project’s goal is to help increase populations of Ferruginous Hawks by promoting development of nesting sites in Manitoba through an updated guide and hands-on example at MBFI. The new guide for landowners interested in building nesting structures is published on MBFI’s website. MBFI was impressed with the hard work and commitment to the project by the ACC Land and Water student and is looking forward to partnering with ACC again in the future for student-led projects addressing real world challenges. As a component of MBFI’s Canadian Agricultural Partnership grant, MBFI is eagerly working towards finalizing plans to increase its capacity for livestock and crop monitoring research equipment. Through broad consultation with universities, community colleges, industry representatives, producers, government specialists, and in discussions at MBFI’s Board of Directors, the investment in research tools and new technologies is focused on addressing current gaps in capacity and on creating opportunities beyond current projects to attract researchers and incentivize innovative studies. Virtual fencing is one highlight we will be excited to showcase at MBFI as the technology becomes available in Canada.

The MBFI farm operation manages the land and livestock available to research and demonstration projects and is set up to have the operation budget be self-sustaining. A Tier I demonstration case study in strategic herd development is ongoing and was discussed in further detail in the November 2020 Cattle Country. As a cow-calf operation our primary source of income is in the annual calf sale and it is subject to market volatility.

Most current projects will be wrapping up in the fall of 2021, trigging a new proposal intake in November 2021 for the 2022 field season. To make a project suggestion or for more information check out MBFI’s research and demonstration webpage at www.mbfi.ca/research or email information@ mbfi.ca .

In the spring of 2020, faced with increased uncertainty driven by the pandemic shutdowns MBFI opted to utilize the Western Cattle Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) for Calves risk management tool. MBFI purchased coverage for an insured index price of $202 per cwt for a 20-week period expiring on November 9, 2020 at a premium of $6.17 per cwt. The claim window from October 19th to November 9th started off with zero settlement award in week one, increased to $2.13 per cwt in week two, spiked to $6.22 in week three, and dropped back to $2.73 in the final week. Claiming settlement in the third week worked out to a net benefit of $0.05 per cwt. Claiming settlement in the last week would result in a net cost $3.44 per cwt (premium of $6.17 – settlement award $2.73 per cwt) for the price insurance. For example a 500-cwt insured weight would represent a total cost of $1,720 for the peace of mind of meeting budget income targets. WLPIP’s service support at Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation is a fantastic resource in understanding the application process. MBFI encourages producers to investigate the program to decide if price insurance risk management could work in their operation.

Thinking back to a year ago, January started off as a huge success with the MBP Young Producers event. MBFI hosted an evening screening and panel discussion of the Guardians of the Grasslands film during the 2020 Manitoba Ag Days, and our youth engagement growing with multiple 4-H Manitoba Beef Clubs booked for field days.

Research & Demonstration An overview of projects underway at MBFI was published in the October 2020 Cattle Country. On-farm demonstration projects are created to showcase beneficial management practices, new tools or technologies, innovative grazing practices, and economics of practices. In the 2020 field season there were seven active academic research studies despite the pandemic restrictions posing several challenges to having projects established and samples collected. Three Tier I demonstration projects, designed as case studies, and eight Tier II projects designed with randomized treatment replication and or control treatment to assess if the practice(s) perform better than a comparison under the conditions at MBFI were completed. Project leads are completing annual reports to be published to MBFI’s research and demonstration webpage in the spring of 2021. In 2020 the Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Ferruginous Hawk

Extension and Building Public Knowledge of Beef and Forage Production

Following the pandemic-related restrictions in March, only one in-person outdoor event was held in collaboration with the Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) Grazing Club. The October DUC Grazing Club field walk was livestreamed to Facebook and featured September seeded hybrid Fall Rye (KWS Bono) in comparison to conventional Danko Fall Rye. Herman Wehrle of FP Genetics spoke to the benefits and trade-offs of growing hybrid Fall Rye, with informative follow-up questions and discussion. The second stop on the field walk was the corn intercropping demonstration with 30-inch and 60-inch corn row spacing. Field walk-through videos were filmed with Jordan Dickson describing the corn intercropping project at Brookdale Farm and Leah Rodvang describing the high-density mob grazing being carried out at First Street Pasture. Videos are posted to MBFI’s video gallery webpage along with newly-released MB ARD grazing videos. The Learning Centre grounds at Brookdale Farm went through a transformation in summer 2020 via the establishment of raised garden beds, a riparian meadow, and a walking trail. The project – Connecting Prairie Pothole Habitat Conservation with Beef Cattle Production – is being done in collaboration with DUC, and support is provided by the Conservation Trust, a Manitoba Climate and Green Plan Initiative delivered by Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation. This project has created the space for youth and the public to learn about native and tame forage species and see firsthand the connections between beef production and landscape conservation. Looking forward to 2021, MBFI is eager to continue building partnerships and extension programing that can be tailored to diverse audiences from elementary to senior students, producers, and the public. MA NITO BA BEEF P R O D UC ER S



CANADIAN CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION BOB LOWE, CCA PRESIDENT MBP MEMBERS OF CCA BOARD: TYLER FULTON, GORD ADAMS, MIKE DUGUID As I look back on 2020, it seems fitting to reflect on the challenges and opportunities coming out of the Canadian beef industry’s experience navigating the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) took a collaborative approach to our response efforts and our industry quickly mobilized. We immediately initiated several cross-organizational teams, which included industry leaders, provincial cattle organizations, policy professionals, industry stakeholders, the scientific community, and media. Our focus was on maintaining business continuity – keeping our borders open to trade, ensuring inspection services remained available, ensuring clear and timely communication, and sharing best practices based on public health recommendations to support important industry activities. CCA also developed and submitted to the Government of Canada recommendations to support beef producers during the pandemic. Following the Government’s announcement of an initial investment in the agriculture sector in May, CCA continued to meet with Parliamentarians regarding the impacts of COVID-19. Our recommendations and discussions focused on changes to business risk management programs (BRM) programs, set-aside programs for the backlog of fed cattle, investment in resiliency within the packing industry, as well as economic, specifically related to international trade. Many of the recently announced recommended BRM enhancements by the Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau are directly aligned to the requests made by CCA. In addition to pandemic-related efforts, 2020 was an active year for CCA. Significant progress was accomplished on key files. Here are a few highlights: Trade Our trade priorities continue to focus on maintaining and growing our beef exports. Implementation of new trade agreements over the last number of years has allowed Canadian beef producers access to new markets and opportunities. This year was anticipated to be positive thanks to the recently negotiated access through various trade agreements and regained technical access that resulted in 2019 Canadian beef exports increasing by just under 20 per cent in value over 2018. However, COVID-19 brought forward unforeseen challenges that tested the capacity of Canadian beef processors and inevitably impacted our ability to supply our export markets. Here at home our processing plants especially were faced with unprecedented challenges and adapted as quickly as possible to implement new practices and innovations to mitigate the spread of the virus while maintaining worker health and safety. The numerous measures taken helped to maintain this essential service and to provide a stable supply of food to Canadians and customers around the world. Despite these extraordinary efforts, trade did suffer in the first half of the year with beef exports falling 8.3 per cent in value from 2019 (as of May 2020), however have largely recovered by the end of October when we were only one per cent below 2019 export values. CCA continues to strongly encourage the continued expansion of free trade, removal of technical trade barriers, and the optimization of current agreements. CCA is pleased that our access into world markets has improved in recent years thanks to new trade agreements such as the Canada-United States (U.S.)-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Of particular importance this year is advancing reciprocal access through a CanadaUnited Kingdom (U.K.) trade relationship. In December 2020, the Government of Canada announced the continuity agreement to transition between CETA and a future Canada-U.K. free trade agreement (FTA). CCA recognized the Government of Canada’s efforts to maintain uninterrupted market access into the United Kingdom (U.K.) by pursuing an interim agreement however, CCA’s highest priority is on achieving a long-term FTA with the U.K. that resolves trade barriers that continue to exist and the fact that Canadian beef producers face far more barriers to export to the U.K. than U.K. producers experience exporting to Canada. CCA was pleased to see a commitment by both governments to return to negotiating a full FTA within a year and encourages both governments to do so as soon as possible.

changes saw feed, water and rest intervals for cattle drop from 48 hours to 36 hours and rest stop durations increase from five to eight hours. Additionally, there are a number of new recordkeeping components and definition updates for unfit and compromised cattle. The new regulations for the humane transport of livestock came into force on February 20, 2020, with a two-year transition period on the enforcement of feed, water and rest interval provisions for the cattle sector, which will allow time for education, awareness building, and the development of rest stop infrastructure. CCA continues to work with government to develop solutions to outstanding challenges with the regulations and ensure changes made will contribute to demonstrable improvements in cattle welfare and not negatively impact the beef cattle transportation success rate of over 99 per cent. The CFIA has informed industry that they will exercise flexibility in cases where industry is unable to meet the record-keeping and transfer of care documents requirements under Part XII of the regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. OIE BSE Negligible Risk Status In partnership with CFIA, CCA is co-chairing a working group for the development of Canada’s submission for BSE Negligible Risk Status to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). All target milestones were achieved, and a strong application was submitted in July 2020 for consideration by OIE in the spring of 2021. Achieving BSE Negligible Risk Status in Canada will have a positive impact on market access and sets the stage for a review of Canada’s specific risk material (SRM) removal protocols and the opportunity to become more competitive with our key trading partners. A similar working group for this effort is already underway in cooperation with CFIA. Food Policy In recent years, we have seen greater global and national attention on food policy. The consumer, and therefore the policy maker, is increasingly interested in where their food comes from and CCA has participated in these important discussions. We have been involved in the Government’s “Healthy Eating Strategy”, the “National Food Policy” and most recently, the “Simulated Meat Labelling Guidelines”. Recognizing that the focus on food, health and the environment will continue, CCA created the new Food Policy Committee in 2019. This Committee will lead on policies like alternative proteins, front-of-pack labeling, food waste, and more. Environment The challenges of COVID-19 have had its impact on environmental policy issues. Our target remains firm, to enhance opportunities to partner on policy, especially environmental policy solutions we can crystalize with the federal government. We are also focused on communicating the positive environmental impact beef production plays on soil health, carbon sequestration, and the maintaining of biodiversity to our grasslands across Canada. We have a wonderful story to tell, and we are making significant headway on this with consumers and policy makers. CCA continues to engage with government concerning the Fisheries Act. The Act received Royal Assent in June 2019 prior to the regulations being developed. The Department of Fisheries (DFO) pledged to consult with stakeholders on the development of standards, codes of practice, and prescribed works regulations. DFO has developed six interim codes of practice, and we have provided initial feedback on these codes before they are to be finalized. CCA is also engaging with DFO for clarity on the development of recovery strategies for specific aquatic species including Bull Trout, Chinook and Coho Salmon, and others, as it is unclear how critical habitat is determined. Also, CCA encourages the development of a national framework for Ecological Goods and Services. In 2021, the CCA will continue its dedicated work on behalf of Canada’s 55,000 beef farms and ranches to realize the vision of a profitable Canadian beef industry with high-quality beef products recognized as the most outstanding by customers at home and around the world.

Humane Transportation Regulations for Livestock


Changes to livestock transportation regulations brought in by the Government of Canada remains a key issue for Canadian beef cattle producers. The proposed

Bob Lowe


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NATIONAL CATTLE FEEDERS’ ASSOCIATION MICHEL DAIGLE, NCFA CHAIR MBP MEMBERS OF NCFA BOARD: HARRY DALKE, CARSON CALLUM The National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) serves as a unified voice for Canada’s fed cattle producers. Our membership is comprised of provincial beef organizations from Canada’s major cattle feeding regions, each of which contributes funding to NCFA based on their province’s proportionate share of total fed cattle production.

to draft a new five-year plan. The existing strategic pillars were adjusted slightly and a new set of goals and initiatives were developed. NCFA will continue to maintain its core focus on sustainable growth and prosperity, improved competitiveness, and industry leadership and collaboration.

NCFA is governed by an eight member Board that includes seven directors appointed by our provincial member organizations, plus another director representing the Canadian Cattlemens’ Association (CCA). Each province also appoints a staff representative to work with the board and execute on our collective decisions and priorities. NCFA maintains an effective and ongoing presence in Ottawa through a highly dedicated team of consultants who lend their expertise and advice on our various political, regulatory, and trade issues.

Government Relations

COVID-19 Without doubt, the year 2020 will go down as one of the most difficult and challenging years on record for the Canadian beef industry. The COVID-19 pandemic saw slow-downs and shut-downs in beef processing, which then caused 130,000 head of harvest-ready cattle to back-up on our feedlots and costing feeders $500,000 each and every day. This, coupled with a collapse in fed cattle prices that have yet to recover, has generated a staggering $500 million loss for the nation’s beef producers. I am extremely proud of how quickly the NCFA team—in collaboration with our beef industry stakeholders—sprang into action. This collaborative effort resulted in a policy response to help address the crisis, mitigate its effects, and get in place federal and provincial financial backstops to ensure industry liquidity: • Serving on the COVID-19 Emergency Lead Team, Policy Response Team, and Communications Team • Agriculture and agri-food is deemed “essential” to keep cattle moving through the supply chain • Foreign workers under TFWP and CUSMA can enter Canada despite border closures • Up to $85 million in federal-provincial Agri-Recovery secured for feed cost and set-aside programs • Up to $50 million in federal support for costs of mandatory isolation under the TFWP • Up to $78 million in assistance to ensure health and safety of food processing workers • Developing and distributing “Best Management Practices” to prevent on-farm COVID-19 infection • Agri-Stability interim payments from 50% to 75% and extending the enrolment deadline • Additional $5 billion in loans available through Farm Credit Canada. Business Risk Management The COVID-19 pandemic underscores yet again the many insufficiencies of Canada’s suite of agriculture Business Risk Management (BRM) programs. NCFA research and engagement with other national agriculture organizations resulted in a set of reforms to current programs that has industry-wide support and was placed on the table at the November 2020 Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers’ Meeting: • Removing the $3 million cap on Agri-Stability Payments; • Ending the practice of “reference margin limiting” in calculating Agri-Stability Payments; and • Increasing the Agri-Stability payout rate from 70% to 85%.

After the COVID crisis landed in early 2020, NCFA moved to re-set our annual Ottawa Engagement Strategy and ensure continued outreach and connection with our key MP champions and Ministers, as well as various Parliamentary Secretaries, political aides and advisors, public servants, and government regulators: • Dozens of virtual meetings via Zoom with MPs and other officials throughout 2020 • Annual Lobby week in October with over 30 MPs and officials • Several MP feedlot tours with MPs held in BC, Alberta, and Quebec • Two appearances before the House Standing Committee on Agriculture • Appearance before the House Standing Committee on Trade • Written submission to the House Standing Committee on Finance for Budget 2021 • Numerous submissions to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, ESDC, Global Affairs, and CFIA • Design and deliver new pilot projects with CFIA on E-certification and cattle export convoys. Industry Development and Collaboration NCFA has always believed that industry collaboration—multiple voices speaking with consistent, coherent, and complimentary messaging—strengthens Canada’s beef industry by increasing leverage with government and encouraging action on our critical concerns and priorities. Throughout 2020, NCFA worked with our industry partners on numerous working groups across a wide range of issues: • Government-Industry Working Group on Animal Health Canada • Government-Industry Working Group on Animal Transport Regulations • Government-Industry Working Group on BSE Negligible Risk Status (application to OIE) • Government-Industry Working Group on SRM • Government-Industry Working Group on FMD Preparedness. The COVID crisis has set a new pace and a new standard for industry-wide collaboration, and this is an incredibly positive and highly beneficial development for the future of Canada’s beef industry. NCFA’s partnerships cut a wide swath and includes national beef organizations and agencies (e.g., Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada Beef Inc., Livestock Markets Association of Canada), other livestock and meat organizations (e.g., Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Meat Council), and a multitude of government agencies (e.g., Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Animal Industry Division at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada). Thank-you to all of our many industry partners. As NCFA Chair, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to each and every one of our dedicated directors, to our talented staff complement, and to our committed team of consultants for your considerable efforts throughout this difficult and tumultuous year. Together, our collective efforts have resulted in tangible accomplishments that has positioned our industry for better days ahead in 2021.

While the FPT meetings did not result in agreement on moving forward, the federal government is supportive of the measures, the provinces are still considering, and NCFA will keep pressing. While agriculture and agri-food is well- positioned to help fuel Canada’s post-COVID economic recovery, the right policies and programs need to be in place to help manage agriculture’s inherent risks and oil the critical investments. Strategic Plan In 2020, NCFA’s five-year Strategic Plan was set to expire. A comprehensive review of the plan showed completion of many of its goals, objectives, and initiatives. The NCFA Board of Directors, staff representatives, and consultants engaged a process MA NITO BA BEEF P R O D UC ER S



CANADIAN BEEF CHECK-OFF AGENCY CHAD ROSS, CHAIR MBP MEMBER OF AGENCY BOARD: MARY PAZIUK This past year as the Chair of the Agency, I have witnessed our organization hit its full stride and take hold of the matters important to producers. It is our job to oversee the check-off administration and investments on behalf of Canadian beef producers and I can confidently say that I am proud of what these investments continue to accomplish. In 2019/20 the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off invested into national programs was $17,906,566 from cattle marketed across Canada. Of the total check-off funds collected, net administration, 49 per cent was allocated to market development and promotion, 34 per cent to research, 12 per cent was retained by the provincial cattle organizations for regional marketing and research programs and 5 per cent was allocated to Public and Stakeholder Engagement. The Import Levy on beef cattle, beef and beef products imported into Canada was also collected at a rate of $1 per head equivalent, for a total of $1,100,342. These funds, net administration, are allocated to unbranded, generic beef marketing such as nutrition marketing, recipe development and culinary skills education. With a record amount of check-off being collected this year, I know that we have an important job to do. The check-off investments made to research, marketing and public and stakeholder engagement need to make a measurable difference to the industry, and help our beef and veal producers see valuable returns. The Agency’s operations and administration expenses totaled $718,870, which included both our Agency Board of Directors and the Marketing Committee. It is up to our Agency Board to ensure that the dollars are invested into programs and strategies that will make a difference today, tomorrow, and down the road. This includes our own administration and programming expenses too. We spent time on some of our regulatory framework this year, reviewing the Proclamation under which we operate. We worked with our provincial partners to ensure that the framework continued to allow us the freedom to provide the best possible value for Canadian beef and veal producers. The Agency was pleased to enter into agreements with the Veal Farmers of Ontario. The agreements strengthen Canadian veal marketing as a part of the larger Canadian veal marketing initiative, while adding an additional levy collector to the provincial cattle associations across the country. We also targeted compliance on check-off and import levy collections this year. The federal levy on interprovincial marketings was targeted for inspections on auction markets and dealers with the focus on education and understanding levy remittances. Another component of that was working with all of our provincial association partners on check-off collection and remittance training, to help us all work together to increase compliance, reduce slippage and have a consistent level of base knowledge across the country.


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The Agency took a more strategic approach to import levy collections, and has been able to hold the amount of uncollectable levies to approximately 5 per cent of total import levy receivables. This has been a monumental task for the Agency, reviewing over 200 invoices per month, and dedicating special attention to hundreds of companies to ensure timely payments and help them understand the ins and outs of the levy. The Agency’s website traffic grew through the year, with a total of 5,333 unique users visiting the site. The site, along with the Agency’s social media channels increased reach to producers to new audiences, focusing on young producers. Our following grew on all channels, and we continue to try and communicate effectively with you – our most important stakeholders – in as many ways as we can. The Agency’s Board was committed to transparent governance and to developing strong policies to govern the Agency. The strengthened policy manual and the work done on succession planning and business continuity this year will help guide the Agency now, and as the industry grows and transforms. By working with the board members who have the interest and skills to grow their leadership roles at the Agency, the board is able to plan for the future and ensure a sustainable leadership model. We were able to have our Marketing Committee fully functional for its second year. The group is incredibly dedicated and producers can rest assured that this committee has their best interests at heart. The Committee operated at arms length from the Agency, while guiding the strategic direction of Canada Beef, the organization investing check-off dollars into market development and promotion. The Committee ensured continued separation from the Agency administration, and clear lines of governance and communication. The end of the fiscal year brought some incredibly difficult times for our industry, and I know that there have been many sleepless nights and difficult conversations by producers and industry partners alike about the future of our industry. In light of that, I want to assure you that our Agency, and all those who invest check-off dollars on your behalf, have been working incredibly hard to do what’s right for the Canadian beef industry. And while things might look different for the foreseeable future in so many ways, rest assured that we continue to focus on the best interests of our Canadian beef and veal producers every single day. To all of you who represent our industry: thank you. Thank you for continuing to provide food to Canadians and the world, and for being dedicated to what you do. It is your dedication and passion for our industry that makes this job so rewarding. Regards, Chad Ross


CANADIAN CATTLE IDENTIFICATION AGENCY PAT HAYES, CHAIR MBP MEMBER OF CCIA BOARD: NANCY HOWATT Continuing to prepare for and anticipate proposed regulations, launching a new resource centre and operating through a global pandemic has all made 2020 an interesting year for the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA). COVID-19 This was the leading story for CCIA along with the rest of the world. CCIA paid close attention to all public health updates and incoming information regarding COVID-19. As a happy result, CCIA’s digital systems worked well by offering traceability needs from the comfort and safety of the user’s home. The Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) and the CLTS MOBO APP were created for that convenience, and these platforms continued to assist with traceability requirements. Tags were shipped directly by mail through the webstore and Client Support Representatives were available toll-free to assist users with any additional needs. Staff were offered to work from home during the initial lockdown stage and have gradually returned to the office since June 1st. The return has been supported by new office conduct policy with modified cubicles to provide additional protection to staff in close proximity. CCIA is also pleased to be providing assistance to the Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial government with the set-aside program for feed cattle. Annual General Meeting and Executive Elections

CCIA entered into a service agreement with Lactanet and after the October 5th DairyTrace launch continued receiving data from intermediate (i.e. feedlots) and terminal sites that report events for dairy tags. The reporting for those regulated parties will continue as they know it, but all data related to dairy tags will reside at DairyTrace and not in CCIA’s CLTS database. Tags Allflex In anticipation of the fall run, Allflex made specific advancements to the stud component of their tags, as part of their commitment to continual improvement and to provide a response to tag retention issues reported by producers. The new design and manufacturing methodology, which has been validated globally on tens of millions of animals, will be adopted immediately upon CFIA approval and identified on Allflex packaging with an updated notification sticker. Summer Promotion You may have seen the launch of a summer promotion on the CCIA website and social media, aiming at stimulating breed tag sales during the quiet summer months. Both Datamars and Allflex donated prizes for the draw. The program was a success as breed tags sales saw a 22% increase over the previous time period last summer.

CCIA’s annual AGM moved forward as always, but this year it was virtual and took place on April 7th. Each year, Board members elect an executive committee at the first meeting following the annual general meeting. A Board meeting was held on May 1st to conduct elections, which brought a few changes and a few returning faces to the CCIA Board of Directors.

Direct sales increase

Pat Hayes (Canadian Cattlemen’s Association) was re-elected as Chair. Lyle Miller (Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association) was re-elected as Vice-Chair, as well as Howard Bekkering (Alberta Beef Producers) as Finance Chair.

The new CLTS Resource Centre – your CLTS “how to” destination

Additional re-elections to the Executive Committee included Ken Perlich (Livestock Markets Association of Canada) as well as previous member, Doug Sawyer (Canadian Cattlemen’s Association). CCIA also has a strong and engaging committee structure which provides on the ground support. In addition to the Executive Committee and their responsibilities, additional Committee chairs include Doug Sawyer, Board Governance and Development; Pat Hayes, Technical Advisory Committee; Ken Perlich, Human Resources; and Ivan Johnson, representative from the Maritime Beef Council, Communications Committee. The Board welcomed new representation from Olivier Lavigne-Lacroix (Canadian Meat Council), replacing Dan Gillis who was one of two Canadian Meat Council representatives, since 2012. Mark Elford completed his year as Past President. Review of Regulation Proposal Premises identification (PID) remains the building block for most of the proposed regulations. A PID will be required to identify where animals are kept, for movement data recording and reporting, and making tag purchases. CCIA has received tremendous collaboration from many provincial governments whose PID numbers have been matched with CLTS accounts. CCIA continues to pursue collaboration with the remaining provinces.

CCIA is now at 14% direct to producer sales (compared to 8% last year for the same period) and overall sales are up by 31%! The webstore continues to gain momentum as buying trends move to support digital platforms.

The new and improved CLTS Resource Centre (CRC), support.canadaid.ca went live mid-year. It was a big project for the Communications, Client Support and IT teams. The new CRC is your “how to” destination for everything Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS). Here you’ll find comprehensive guides for how to submit events, frequently asked questions and more. Each guide features simple instructions and screenshots to guide you through each process step-by-step to easily navigate your way through the CLTS. CCIA is looking forward to 2021 CCIA is continually planning for the future and will continue to prepare for regulatory amendments in 2021. In anticipation, the Client Support Team has been busy refining their business processes and building training programs to accommodate increased capacity. Many of the face-to-face events that CCIA participates in were cancelled in 2020 and CCIA has been adjusting to the new reality of virtual events and scaled back interactions. CCIA was fortunate enough to (safely) attend the Thanks For Farming Tour in Red Deer, AB on November 11-12th, 2020. This was the only tradeshow attended amidst a usually busy season. The Client Support Field Team is looking forward to when events will begin again and will be able to meet producers in person.

The regulatory changes are intended to enable more of a timely and effective response by CFIA. Proposed amendments to Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations have been postponed once again but are still under consideration. Dairy Lactanet Canada and Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) moved forward with DairyTrace, the national dairy cattle traceability program. This became a reality in October and provides a single, common framework for dairy farmers to track animal identity and movements. Earlier in the year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), recognized Lactanet Canada as the national administrator responsible for dairy bovine animals under Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations.




THE BEEF CATTLE RESEARCH COUNCIL MATT BOWMAN, CHAIR MBP MEMBER OF BCRC BOARD: MELISSA ATCHISON The 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 the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds allocated to research. The BCRC is led by a 14-member Council, comprised of 13 producers, including Manitoba’s Melissa Atchison, and one member at large.

the existing online platforms for resource and program management and the ability of BCRC staff to work remotely as required. Larger than expected funding deferrals will occur in 2020/21 due to delayed project start-ups. All budget and program implications will be closely monitored as we head into 2021.

The BCRC is funded in part through the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off. In 2019/20, $3.6 million of producer Check-Off funding allocated to beef research leveraged an additional $5.1 million in industry funding from other government and industry partners and initiatives, including the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Beef Science Cluster program. Investing the national Check-Off, as well as government and industry funding in key research priorities identified by stakeholders, BCRC currently funds 69 projects led by researchers nationwide.

BCRC continues to develop and distribute numerous producer and stakeholder resources including fact sheets, interactive decision-making tools, videos, articles for industry magazines, webinars, blog posts, infographics and radio clips.

BCRC Funding Profile The chart to the right displays BCRC’s five-year funding profile for Beef Cattle CheckOff dollars. The research priority areas as displayed are based on BCRC’s fiveyear Strategy and focus on maximizing the benefits of investment in beef cattle research. Approximately 26% of the research CheckOff funding is allocated to research in Forage and Grassland Productivity; 20% to Animal Health and Welfare; 16% to Feed Grains and Feed Efficiency; with 16% also to Beef Quality and Food Safety. The remaining 22% funds research related to Environmental Sustainability, Antimicrobial Use, Research Capacity, and Technology Transfer. Impacts of COVID-19 on BCRC Activities Since March 2020, the BCRC has worked closely with industry and government to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research at facilities across the country. The impacts vary greatly across the provinces and depend on factors including project requirements, as well as personal and local pandemic situations. Most of the ongoing research projects continued with minimal interruption. Some of the new projects which were scheduled to start as early as April 2020 were delayed, however all projects are scheduled to continue. The second wave of the pandemic during the fall could result in further delays although the overall impact is undetermined at time of writing. BCRC continues to work with its funding partners, including AAFC to evaluate if there will be any program and/or budget implications for 2020/21 or 2021/22 but to date, the impact has been minimal on the research program. Specific to the pandemic, BCRC funded COVID-19 related research initiatives including developing technology to support the remote delivery of inspection services at processing facilities, research to determine the risk of COVID-19 infection due to changing airflows in processing facilities as COVID-19 physical barriers are put in place, and economic analysis to support the development of eastern cattle price insurance indices. These projects are well underway. BCRC extension programming has continued to operate without interruption since the pandemic hit. Overall, the impact of COVID-19 on the BCRC budget and operations has been manageable, given the flexibility in allocating industry funding across years, 16

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One of many resources for beef producers on the BCRC’s website, Forage U-Pick is an interactive tool that provides information for forage selection, forage seeding rates, and weed management. Find it at upick.beefresearch.ca

Producer Resources, Industry Engagement and Research Mentorship

The Beef Researcher Mentorship Program, an initiative to facilitate greater engagement of upcoming and new applied researchers with Canada’s beef industry, is in its seventh year. Two of the six 2020/21 mentees are based in Manitoba. • Dr. Alexander Koiter is an assistant professor at Brandon University. Alex has had a keen interest in soil and water conservation and his current research focuses on better understanding agricultural watersheds. His mentors are Kristine Tapley with Ducks Unlimited Canada and Larry Wegner, a beef producer near Virden. • Dr. Marcos Cordeiro has a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Manitoba. His research focuses on assessing agronomic and environmental dynamics of agro-ecosystems using field monitoring and modelling tools. His mentors are market analyst Anne Wasko, and Brett McCrae, who farms near Brandon. Priority Research Projects Continue to Expand BCRC’s Research Program The 27 research projects funded under the third Beef Science Cluster continue, with most of the projects wrapping up in 2023. Planning is currently underway to determine research and extension priorities for a potential fourth Cluster. This year’s research projects outside of the Science Cluster are proceeding as approved in the spring of 2020. There were some project start-up delays due to COVID-19, however all projects are proceeding. Projects include research on beef quality, food safety, animal health and welfare, anti-microbial use and resistance, feed efficiency, forage production, as well as environmental sustainability. Information on each project is available on BeefResearch.ca. For More Information To learn more about BCRC initiatives and to access our many decision-making tools for beef producers, visit our website at www.beefresearch.ca. Respectfully submitted, Matt Bowman, Chair

Dr. Kim Ominski (University of Manitoba) is co- leading a research project with Dr. Tim McAllister (AAFC Lethbridge) to examine the impacts on productivity, environmental sustainability, and economic viability associated with the removal of productivityenhancing implants, beta-agonists and ionophores. The in-depth analyses to understand whether market premiums associated with domestic and international beef market opportunities for beef raised without, and the environmental and economic drawbacks of removing these performance enhancing technologies, is expected to be complete in 2023.

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