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Feb 10, 2005
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Canadian Cattlemen's Association

News Release

Canadian Cattlemen's Association Welcomes Market Development Funding Says Canadian Strategy Will Create a Stronger, More Competitive Beef Industry in the Global Marketplace

(March 7, 2005) The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) today welcomed the Alberta government's pledge of $37 million for the further development of export markets for Canadian beef and development of commercial uses for byproducts of beef production. The Alberta government is the first to pledge funding for the beef industry's Legacy Fund, which will be used to help the Canadian beef industry develop new markets and expand sales in existing markets.

"The Canadian beef industry is not taking our set-backs lying down," says CCA President Stan Eby. "Our beef is the best in the world. In 2004 Canada exported beef to 69 markets around the world. We are aggressively going to expand those markets.

"In the fall of 2004 the CCA developed a strategy for industry recovery whether or not a prolonged market disruption with the U.S. is faced, which was endorsed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The strategy includes expansion of domestic and export markets, enhancing Canada's cattle tracking system, meeting and exceeding Canada's BSE surveillance targets, and increasing slaughter capacity in Canada.

"Canadian slaughter increased 24 percent in 2004 and capacity is expected to increase a further 19 percent by the end of 2007. Slaughter capacity increases have come about through the expansion of existing plants and opening of new ones. It's interesting to note that on Friday, Swift and Company announced further layoffs at its beef processing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska due to tight cattle supplies impacted by the continued closure of the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle. Cargill announced additional production cuts at its seven beef plants located in Plainview and Friona, Texas; Dodge City, Kansas; Schuyler, Nebraska; Fort Morgan, Colorado; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Wyalusing, Pennsylvania. As we speak, the equipment from a closed plant in Ferndale, Washington is being dismantled and shipped to Manitoba where it will be put into operation in a new Canadian plant employing Canadian workers."

Enhancements to the Canadian Cattle Identification Program have been developed so Canada will be one of a few countries in the world with the ability to provide age-verified beef. The Canadian Cattle Identification Program has developed a website in which producers can register cattle birth dates. By voluntarily registering cattle birth dates, producers are helping Canada position itself as a major player in export markets demanding age verified beef.

"We've been in a painful crisis and there are no doubt further trials ahead," adds Eby. "With all sectors of the Canadian beef industry pulling together, we can ultimately be a stronger, more competitive player in international beef markets. Today's announcement from the Alberta government is a step in the right direction, and I call on other governments to join us in this effort."

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