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'cut-in-Canada' solution

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Silver

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Beef industry believes 'cut-in-Canada' solution is key to survival

Judy Monchuk
Canadian Press


Sunday, May 15, 2005


CALGARY (CP) - If Stan Eby has his way, the only way cattle will be leaving Canada is in a box. After two years with no international markets for live cattle - and no end in sight - the embattled beef industry believes a cut-in-Canada solution is the key to survival.

The goal is for the Canadian market to process all beef before export, eliminating the vulnerability to trade action from the United States, its largest trading partner.

"If we can get our slaughter capacity up to just shy of 100,000 per week, we can handle the numbers," said Eby, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.

The goal, unthinkable before the detection of mad cow disease in an Alberta heifer in May 2003, is tantalizingly within reach. In the first week of May, some 88,000 cattle were processed in Canadian plants - the most since 1976.

New and expanded facilities are on track to have weekly capacity up to 110,000 by November 2005: an additional 1.65 million animals a year, says Jim Laws of the Canadian Meat Council.

That's more than Canada exported to the United States for slaughter in 2002.

The outlook sounds positive, but does little to erase the economic hardships of the last two years.

Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs have been lost since the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, crippled Canada's beef exports. The pain has been spread across rural Canada and agriculture-related industries, but the bulk has been felt in Alberta, where 70 per cent of young export cattle are raised.

Much of the increased kill capacity has also come in Alberta, through expansion of the meat packing plants owned by American interests: Cargill Inc.'s High River plant and Lakeside Packers in Brooks, a subsidiary of Arkansas-based Tyson Foods.

The two plants process more than 80 per cent of Canadian beef. Some say Cargill and Tyson have probably saved the industry.

"If they didn't ratchet up their kill, we'd have an even bigger problem," said one southern Alberta feedlot operator. "We'd be shooting and burying the cattle."

The Canadian herd has grown to about 15.2 million - a considerable jump from the 13 million when the first cow tested positive for BSE two years ago. Just under 7 million are over 30 months old - animals whose meat can only be consumed in Canada or exported to tiny destinations like Cuba and Macau.

Eby says the ownership concentration is a concern, since the fewer players competing for cattle, the less likely prices will rise.

"The plants obviously see a future," said Eby. "We know they've had significant margins and have capital to put into facilities. We'd certainly like to have more diversification, there's no question it would be better to have a number of smaller plants spread across the country."

Ron Glaser of the Alberta Beef Producers says the new, smaller slaughterhouses coming on stream will strengthen the market by bidding against the established packers. That should lead to higher cattle prices.

"In the long term it's in our best national interest to see our packing industry grow and take the role of those U.S. bidders we've traditionally had in our marketplace," he said.

Canadian producers are not the only ones feeling the economic crunch.

More than American 6,000 meat packing jobs have evaporated over the last 18 months without Canadian cattle to process. Packers south of the border say they are losing an estimated $38 million US a week.

"It's not only in the northern tier states," said Mark Dopp of the American Meat Institution, which wants trade in Canadian cattle resumed. "The impact has been felt all the way down into Texas."

Glaser says the processing shift could lead to permanent change in the North American marketplace.

"The day may come where we will be importing U.S. cattle for processing," he said. "As modern new facilities are built in Canada, they will likely be taking the place of older, less competitive plants in the U.S. that are even now starting to close or throttle back production because they can't access cattle from Canada."

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, whose government has contributed more than $700 million in aid to the province's ranchers, says creating self sufficiency is the best option for the future prosperity.

"We should continue along that vein with or without the opening of the American border," said Klein, adding he believes litigation from U.S. protectionist ranchers will likely keep the border closed to Canadian cattle for another two years.

The biggest worry facing the industry is that R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America will convince a Montana judge to end trade in processed beef products from Canada. R-CALF has long argued Canadian beef and cattle pose safety risks because there have been three mad cow cases north of the border.
 

CattleCo

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:mad: If we keep the border closed for another two years................we are screwed!
 

Sandhusker

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CattleCo said:
:mad: If we keep the border closed for another two years................we are screwed!

Do you think it would be beneficial to have lower import standards then Egypt? Egypt, think about that.
 
A

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Sandhusker: "Do you think it would be beneficial to have lower import standards then Egypt? Egypt, think about that."

The United States has taken the exact same BSE precautionary measures as Canada. The exact same BSE precautionary measures as the country who R-CALF says has beef that is "unsafe", think about that!


~SH~
 

Sandhusker

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~SH~ said:
Sandhusker: "Do you think it would be beneficial to have lower import standards then Egypt? Egypt, think about that."

The United States has taken the exact same BSE precautionary measures as Canada. The exact same BSE precautionary measures as the country who R-CALF says has beef that is "unsafe", think about that!


~SH~

I said "import standards", not "precautionary measures".
 
A

Anonymous

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Sandhusker: "I said "import standards", not "precautionary measures".

The "import standards" need to consider the "precautionary measures" that have been taken.



~SH~
 

Sandhusker

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~SH~ said:
Sandhusker: "I said "import standards", not "precautionary measures".

The "import standards" need to consider the "precautionary measures" that have been taken.



~SH~

Maybe you should tell that to the Egyptians. While you're at it, the Taiwanese need the same convincing.
 

Mike

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~SH~ said:
Sandhusker: "I said "import standards", not "precautionary measures".

The "import standards" need to consider the "precautionary measures" that have been taken.
~SH~

Wouldn't the RESULTS of "precautionary measures" be more important than the measures themselves?
 
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Anonymous

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Sandhusker: "Maybe you should tell that to the Egyptians. While you're at it, the Taiwanese need the same convincing."

The U.S. always presents their side in negotiations. Did you think this was a new concept with the origination of R-CULT?


Mike: "Wouldn't the RESULTS of "precautionary measures" be more important than the measures themselves?"

Certainly and the results are that we have not had any cases of BSE the occurred after or during the feed ban phase out period.

SRM removal and increased BSE surveilance are precautionary measures that reach above and beyond the feed ban.



~SH~
 

Tam

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Mike said:
~SH~ said:
Sandhusker: "I said "import standards", not "precautionary measures".

The "import standards" need to consider the "precautionary measures" that have been taken.
~SH~

Wouldn't the RESULTS of "precautionary measures" be more important than the measures themselves?

I would consider that the precautionary measures that Canada has in place to prevent a BSE positive cow from entering the food chain had better results than the US measures and that should be one of the most important measures to look at when it comes to public health. And why do some of you forget that the US can't impose import Standards on an importing country that you are not practicing in the US. Canada has higher standards so why do you think you would be lowering yours to take our beef. When in fact we are the ones that are taking beef from a country with not as high as standards as we live by.
 

Mike

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Tam said:
Mike said:
~SH~ said:
Sandhusker: "I said "import standards", not "precautionary measures".

The "import standards" need to consider the "precautionary measures" that have been taken.
~SH~

Wouldn't the RESULTS of "precautionary measures" be more important than the measures themselves?

I would consider that the precautionary measures that Canada has in place to prevent a BSE positive cow from entering the food chain had better results than the US measures and that should be one of the most important measures to look at when it comes to public health. And why do some of you forget that the US can't impose import Standards on an importing country that you are not practicing in the US. Canada has higher standards so why do you think you would be lowering yours to take our beef. When in fact we are the ones that are taking beef from a country with not as high as standards as we live by.

But BSE testing has not been a "Food Safety", or public health issue as you put it by either the USDA or the CFIA. It's an "animal health" issue. Seems to me if SRM removal was as wonderfully safe as some claim, any country would take any other's beef with SRM's removed.

Obviously, there was a feed problem in Alberta at one time or another. Something slipped through the cracks and was probably from the cohorts of the 1993 positive from England. In other words - your standards SHOULD be higher and I don't mean that insultingly.

I would say the solution to Canada's problem would be to test everything with a "MOO", and open the export markets, Oh, but Tyson and Cargill won't let you do that, will they.

It's just a hunch but I believe Canada has the means to end all these hardships on the producers but are too busy sucking up to the USDA and blaming R-Calf.
 

Bill

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Mike said:
Tam said:
Mike said:
Wouldn't the RESULTS of "precautionary measures" be more important than the measures themselves?

I would consider that the precautionary measures that Canada has in place to prevent a BSE positive cow from entering the food chain had better results than the US measures and that should be one of the most important measures to look at when it comes to public health. And why do some of you forget that the US can't impose import Standards on an importing country that you are not practicing in the US. Canada has higher standards so why do you think you would be lowering yours to take our beef. When in fact we are the ones that are taking beef from a country with not as high as standards as we live by.

But BSE testing has not been a "Food Safety", or public health issue as you put it by either the USDA or the CFIA. It's an "animal health" issue. Seems to me if SRM removal was as wonderfully safe as some claim, any country would take any other's beef with SRM's removed.

Obviously, there was a feed problem in Alberta at one time or another. Something slipped through the cracks and was probably from the cohorts of the 1993 positive from England. In other words - your standards SHOULD be higher and I don't mean that insultingly.

I would say the solution to Canada's problem would be to test everything with a "MOO", and open the export markets, Oh, but Tyson and Cargill won't let you do that, will they.

It's just a hunch but I believe Canada has the means to end all these hardships on the producers but are too busy sucking up to the USDA and blaming R-Calf.
It's just a hunch but I believe Canada has the means to end all these hardships on the producers but are too busy sucking up to the USDA and blaming R-Calf.

Add the big two packers to that comment and it is exactly right. A made in Canada solution is the only answer and is just a stroke of the pen away. Unfortunately it is gov't that needs to do the signing and CCA that holds the pen.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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The SSGA convention starts the 29th with a golf turny. LOL at me golfing ,not a chance. The we get down to work on the 30th and 31st with speakers from industry and CCA and usual biz. I forgot about the ranch tour on the 28th as well if someone has that much free time.
 

Kato

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May 20, 2005
Author: Canadian Cattlemen's Association
This is the daily update for Friday May 20 brought to you by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and BMO Bank of Montreal. There have been no major developments since yesterday. The Philippines announced it has reopened to Canadian exports of boneless beef from cattle under 30 months after re-closing after the second and third cases of BSE were discovered in Canada. In 2004 the Philippines imported over $2.5 million dollars worth of Canadian beef, up from just under $230,000 worth in 2002. Taking steps to become even more competitive in export markets, including certification for export markets where necessary, is one of Canada’s contingency strategies should beef exports to the U.S. be disrupted. If there are no major developments the next daily update will be on Tuesday May 24.

Note: Taking steps to become even more competitive in export markets, including certification for export markets where necessary, is one of Canada’s contingency strategies should beef exports to the U.S. be disrupted.

Gee, exports to the Phillipines increased by tenfold since BSE, isn't that impossible?? How can that be??? :shock:
 

Bill

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Bill are you coming to Swift Current for convention? CCA reps will be there.
I hope to be able to get there as I see there is a good line up of speakers.

Too bad Charlie Gracey and Stan Eby aren't on the same day.
 

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