The Domestic Agriculture Policy and Regulations (Domestic Ag.) Committee had a great meeting at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in Penticton in August. Several of the committee’s current files may be of interest.
Next Policy Framework:
The Next Policy Framework, renamed the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, will be the next 5-year framework. It replaces the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in March 2023. In September 2021, the "Guelph Statement" outlined the policy's framework which includes: investment in research, climate change, sustainable productivity, and value-added agri-food and risk management.
In July, CCA representatives (including YCC staff support, Jessica Radau) joined in discussions with Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture to conclude the negotiation of the framework. Highlights of what was announced, include a 25% overall increase in funding, the Resilient Agricultural Landscapes Program and improvements to business risk management (BRM) programming.
The committee discussed the environmental overlay that was announced for the AgriInvest and AgriInsurance programs. While the overlay isn’t pervasive, the Committee was concerned about the precedent it might set for the rest of the BRM programs. The Committee also noted the requirement of an Environmental Farm Plan, as a condition for participating in AgriInvest should be broadened to allow for the inclusion of industry verification programs, such as the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef verification framework.
Governments are also considering using reduced AriInsurance premiums as a means to encourage the adoption of practices that help mitigate environmental risks. Potential pilots will be identified and explored at the provincial level. CCA staff will identify potential pilots that might contribute to reduced forage insurance premiums.
Business Risk Management:
The committee focussed its discussion on different options to overcome the federal government’s reluctance to support producer premiums under the Livestock Price Insurance Program.
Federal government officials have outlined four key concerns:
CCA staff will be developing a series of arguments to address the government’s concerns. These will include noting the negative implications of the current inequities within the BRM suite on the preservation of grasslands and pastures.
The Canadian Cattle Association’s (CCA) Environment Committee held their Semi-Annual Meeting in beautiful Penticton, British Columbia on August 16. Outgoing YCC member Holly Sparrow and I were very fortunate to attend and take part in several important and informative discussions around issues and developments within our industry.
During this meeting we had an informative presentation from Stacey Domolewski, the Extension Coordinator of the Beef Cattle Research Council, outlining their 5-year funding plan, and highlighting the allocations for environment, forage, and grassland productivity research. Stacey also went over the findings from a project based on the impacts of Canadian beef production on biodiversity, and an integrated forage, cattle, and timber management project. These results were very interesting to hear and continue to support the story of how cattle have a positive effect on our environment.
We also received an update from Larry Simpson, from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Larry provided an overview of a draft initiative which would conserve native grassland by working with ranchers, land trusts and conservation organizations. The NCC, along with members of this environment committee, has come up with a few options for ranchers.
Any of these would be voluntary, with the purpose being to provide ways to protect native grassland by providing revenue to encourage the successional transfer of ranches to our generation; therefore keeping these ranches and their landscapes intact.
Larry Thomas, Environment Manager, updated us on the federal government’s recent announcement of the Resilient Agricultural Landscapes Program, which we are very grateful for. The CCA and this committee will continue to work with them to make sure the program is accessible and fits producers’ needs. I look forward to hearing how this, and the other initiatives have progressed by our next meeting at the Canadian Cattle Association’s Annual General Meeting in the new year.
Animal Health Emergency Management:
Bob Burden of Animal Health Emergency Management gave a global report on the AHEM II projects which are underway. The AHEM II focuses on the following six activities which are related to disease outbreak in Canada:
A detailed explanation of Canada’s level of preparedness for the occurrence of a case of Foot and Mouth (FMD) was given. The planned association and governmental response to a positive case emerging in Canada was outlined.
Two representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) updated the committee on the current status of the North American FMD Vaccine bank. The implementation of a new US only FMD Vaccine Bank was outlined. Funding and operation of the current North American FMD Vaccine Bank is now uncertain due to the withdrawal of Mexico and the new parallel American Vaccine Bank. The delegates from NCBA suggested that CCA work with all levels of government to implement a national Vaccine Bank in Canada.
Transportation Regulations and Transfer of Care Documents
Drs Heather Brown and Marie-Odile Rozon of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) gave an update on the requirements of the transfer of care document (ToC) and the animal transport Record (ATR).
Transfer of Care Document (ToC)
Animal Transport Record (ATR)
Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+):
Shannon Argent of VBP+ gave an update regarding the new International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) which some banks may be requiring for new loans. The IFRS would potentially require the equivalent of an environmental farm plan when applying for new loans from the bank. The possibility of VBP+ incorporating the environmental farm plan into the auditing system was discussed as an option to help fulfil these new banking requirements.
Food Policy – CCA Semi-Annual Meeting Update
A high priority for the Food Policy Committee since CCA’s AGM was the front-of-package labelling proposed by Health Canada. CCA’s advocacy work included meeting with elected and bureaucratic officials, media outreach and the very effective #Don’tLabelMyBeef social media campaign which also included the public sending letters to several MPs across the county. This advocacy work was very successful, resulting in ground beef receiving a front-of-package labelling exemption.
Two guests were invited to present to the Committee about CCA’s international efforts and why it is imperative that we continue to be present and share the Canadian beef story on the world stage. Robynne Anderson and Ashley Gray. Robynne Anderson is an international consultant who coordinates the Private Sector Mechanism, which feeds into work undertaken by the United Nations, presented how the topics and discussions currently being had at the UN level are a great predictor of the types of regulations that will come domestically over the next couple decades. Ashley Gray, from the Global Meat Alliance, spoke to the importance of groups like CCA continuing to be actively engaged in response to the current anti-meat global narrative.
Upcoming priorities for the Food Policy Committee include monitoring the potential impacts of the single-use plastics ban. Also on the horizon, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is planning the next iteration of Canada’s Food Policy, which was developed to guide the food-related decisions and actions of Canadians. Staff will continue to watch this progress and are planning for a presentation from AAFC at the annual meeting in March.
While there is much turmoil and unknowns internationally, Canada has been fortunate to see positive results on Foreign Trade.
The chairs announced that Fawn Jackson is no longer with CCA. Daniela Lombardo and Dennis Laycraft cover trade while John Masswohl continues to work on a part-time basis on CCA trade files.
The US is still our largest trading partner making up 70% of all imports and exports. We continue to work with our US counterparts to ensure this significant trade relationship is equitable and free of trade barriers. CCA has made a submission to the US Food Inspection Agency that addresses items such as: eliminating border re-inspection of meat, expanding “Trusted Trader” programs to avoid border delays, and harmonization of food safety technology and grading and establishing a common program for document submissions. As always, Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (mCOOL) is a continued discussion and an area that CCA is paying close attention to.
Many trade agreements that have seen constant movement through 2022 include, but are not limited to:
We were happy to hear Canada Beef’s presentation that outlined many international market gains. There had been initial concerns with lost market access to China; however, it was noted that the lost trade was made up by significant increases in many other countries. Some trade increases of note are:
We are excited to see demand for Canadian Beef is still strong in Global markets. CCA’s work is invaluable to our success in current trade but also ongoing and future trade agreements. The Young Cattlemen’s Council is thankful to the CCA for the opportunity to participate with this interesting committee.
Today, the Young Cattlemen's Council wrote to federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) ag ministers to highlight young Canadian beef producers' Next Policy Framework priorities. We look forward to the outcomes of the July FPT meeting and building a strong sector for future generations across Canada.
Click below to read the full letter.
The Young Cattlemen’s Council (YCC) is looking for young people passionate about the success of the Canadian beef industry!
The YCC is now collecting nominations for two positions for young people to put their name forward for:
New this year is the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency Youth Member- a brand-new position encouraging mentorship and connection with the next generation of Canadian beef producers and industry stakeholders.
To be considered for either of these positions, please download and complete the nomination form (attached at the bottom of this post) and submit them alongside the additional requirements outlined in the documents by July 6, 2022, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
**You can only put your name forward for the YCC Member at Large Position OR the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency Youth Member position, not both**
Please also note, it is expected the selected Check-Off Agency Youth Member will attend the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC) in Penticton, BC in-person to participate in the Check-Off Agency Annual General Meeting (AGM) and YCC AGM on August 16, 2022. (More details in nomination form)
After the nomination deadlines, the YCC Member at Large submissions will be circulated with YCC Membership to vote virtually in the weeks ahead of the YCC AGM on August 16, 2022. The results will be announced at the YCC AGM. Options are being explored for YCC members and nominees to join the meeting virtually or call in.
For the Check-Off Agency Youth Member position, YCC Delegates will vote shortly after the submission deadline on who’s name they will put forward to the Agency board. The successful candidate will be notified mid-July to arrange travel to CBIC.
The YCC and Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency will be holding their AGMs at CBIC on August 16, 2022.
If you would like to learn more, please go to “Join the Council” on our website, or direct your questions to email@example.com. More details can be found in the nomination forms below.
*Please note that the nomination forms should be downloaded on your computer, as they may not be accessible on all mobile devices. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Domestic Ag Policy and Regulations Committee has been very busy on many fronts.
The major topics that were discussed were in the BRM (Business Risk Management) portfolio.
Another major topic which is very important to the overall beef industry in our country are Forage insurance programs. At the moment there are three forage insurance projects underway that would use satellite imagery.
These three projects focus on native and tame pastures. It is unclear at this time how hay crops can be addressed.
However, an important step has been made in the fact the feasibility of using satellite based imagery in enabling farm/ranch specific forage insurance has been established.
The Animal Health and Care Committee met in Calgary in August 2021 at the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) semi-annual meeting and I have highlighted a few topics of interest from the meeting.
Priority Cattle Health Needs:
The Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) presented on the challenges of market access to veterinary medical health products in Canada. CAHI has reached out to the national species-specific veterinary associations and commodity and producer associations. CAHI will also collect input on barriers to bringing products to Canada from livestock industry organizations. They will work with regulators to lobby for improved processes to bring products to, and maintain products on, the Canadian market.
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID Adoption Strategy:
CCA representatives, along with representatives from National Cattle Feeders' Association (NCFA) and Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA), met with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) staff to discuss adoption pathways for UHF technology. What is being proposed is UHF tags are sold through the CCIA online store, which will ensure numbering sequencing is managed and tags can be allocated to producers’ accounts. The UHF tags would then be crossed referenced to the existing LF tag and reported to CCIA. From this point on in the production value-chain of the animal, the UHF tag could be read, and movement events reported to CCIA.
CCIA has drafted a funding proposal to make the necessary modifications to the CCIA – CLTS database to accommodate UHF tags.
There was strong support for UHF in the US, and it’s the preferred path for animal ID. One of the challenges identified is to provide clear messaging to the tag manufacturers that there is a market for UHF tags and to encourage the research and development of UHF tags.
There is growing demand for UHF tags, especially at the feedlot level, where the tag is being used as a replacement to the standard feedlot panel tag.
Electronic Logging Devices
Rick Wright from the Livestock Markets Association of Canada (LMAC) provided an update on challenges auction markets are facing regarding cattle transportation. Transporters mentioned issues with new Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations, which mandate the use of Electronic Logging Devices for commercial livestock haulers. The lack of flexibility under the hours of service (HOS) rules are problematic when dealing with emergencies and poor driving conditions. More flexibility is the key to ensure animal welfare can be upheld. Canada also lacks several exemptions that are available to US livestock haulers including the 150-air mile exemption from the departure point of transport. This summer, the US livestock industry lobbied for an additional 150 air-mile radius exemption under HOS regulations to the backend of hauls, which was eventually added under the Surface Transportation Act of 2021. This legislation still needs to be passed by US Senate.
The Food Policy committee met on August 17, 2021 during the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) semi-annual meeting. With the CCA’s semi-annual meeting taking place during the federal election, the Food Policy Committee was unable to have the Government of Canada Officials from AAFC come to speak to their current priorities around Food Policy. However, CCA staff Jennifer Babcock was able to give a brief update on current issues such as the front of package labeling on ground beef, which has had limited progression since the beginning of COVID-19 in March of 2020. With that being said, CCA is still working to ensure that ground beef is exempt from this front package warning label to ensure that it does not persuade from buying a healthy, nutritious product.
Canada Beef was also present during the meeting and gave a quick update on some of the initiatives that they are running around generic beef. Their current campaign focuses on the nutritional benefits of beef, and they are working through various partnerships, social media, and traditional media convey their message.
Following the Canada Beef update, the Public and Stakeholder Engagement (PSE) team gave their update on the current files that they are working on. After the positive reception of Guardians of the Grasslands, the PSE team has now turned their attention towards the impact of feedlots and how they play an important environmental role by addressing the food loss/waste issue. The PSE team is also working hard to get quality data from third-party resources on the way the general public views the cattle industry to help them shape future campaigns.
Finally, CCA staff gave a quick update on what the organization has been working on since March 2021. The first food policy committee fly-in was focused on building relationships with CFIA, Health Canada, and AAFC, as there are multiple issues to be worked on with each organization. As noted earlier, the front-of-pack labeling is still a priority issue for CCA, and the decision should come post-election, and it might differ depending on the result of the election. Lastly, CFIA released a “What we Heard” document on the Simulated Meat Guideline consultation conducted last fall. Some concerns arose out of the document as the consultation respondents were skewed towards consumers that only eat plant-based proteins. CCA’s Food Policy Committee continues to work will all industry partners to monitor and respond to any food policy issues as they arise.
- Evan Chaffe, YCC Ontario Delegate