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Fiftieth meeting of the Beef Value Chain Roundtable: Record of decision

November 28 to 29, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Key decision points

  • Industry members stressed the importance of industry and government working together on the trade files.
  • There are opportunities for cohesion between the National Beef Strategy and Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table.

A full listing of action items can be found in Annex A.

Introduction

Industry and government co-chairs welcomed members, observers, guests and youth representatives to the BVCRT. Action items from the May 2018 meeting were reviewed and noted as completed or forwarded to the May 2019 meeting. This meeting included a half-day joint session between the BVCRT and the Sheep Value Chain Roundtable.

Action Items are listed in Annex A and the full participant list is available in Annex B.

National Beef Quality Audit

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) presented the results of the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) and identified areas for continued improvement. The NBQA benchmarks progress and identifies opportunities to reduce quality defects with the goal of enhancing industry profitability and customer satisfaction for Canadian beef.

It is estimated that defects cost industry $209 million in reduced product value. Given that the NBQA is conducted every 5-6 years industry put forward a recommendation supporting the development of a Total Quality Management System (TQMS) to enhance decision making in support of customer satisfaction with Canadian beef and the profitability of the sector (Action 50-3). TQMS is included within the National Beef Strategy and has key objectives some of which are already in progress.

2019 Market Outlook

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) shared the Medium Term Outlook 2018, which provides a 10-year (2017-2027) projection and baseline on agricultural markets. Overall, projections indicate Canada will remain competitive in the global economy and Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector is projected to continue to experience steady growth, both in the domestic and export markets.

Canfax Research Services shared its Canadian Market Outlook, stating that overall, 2018 was another year of surprising strength for Canadian beef markets. More cattle are being processed in Canada, consumption is projected to be up slightly from 2017 and international demand continues to be strong.

The global outlook for 2019 (United States, Australia, Asia, Mexico) showed a bright future for beef. There was high commodity growth from the last decade which was driven by growing incomes and population growth. Global beef production is expected to increase following a decade of stability.

Discussion focussed on leveraging the significant return on investment with premium beef products as well as expanding into European Union (EU) markets. There was interest in finding more granular data on live cattle imports allowing industry to understand and forecast feedlot capacity; AAFC will initiate work with Statistics Canada to provide further HS code breakdowns for live cattle import data. (Action Item 50-1)

Canada’s National Beef Strategy

CCA presented past accomplishments and upcoming work on the National Beef Strategy. The presentation provided status updates on the four pillars of the strategy (Connectivity, Productivity, Competitiveness, Beef Demand), listed structural changes, and outlined focus areas for the future strategy. BVCRT members were encouraged to provide input on the next phase (2020-2024) of the National Beef Strategy by  December 14, 2018 (Action Item 50-2).

The BVCRT discussion focused on the importance of having a visioning strategy that includes succession planning (Cattlemen’s Young Leaders) and a cross-sectoral plan that ensures the industry remains cohesive and collaborative. It was noted that the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table (EST) themes were similar and that alignment could be strengthened. Therefore, an ad-hoc group will be formed to develop a report which outlines synergies between the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table’s final report and the National Beef Strategy (Action Item 50-4).

Public and stakeholder engagement

CCA shared a presentation that outlined how the National Beef Strategy is connected to the broader public trust initiatives and the BVCRT. Under the Connectivity Pillar, CCA has supported public and stakeholder engagement by investing more resources (staff and funding) which will strengthen partnerships with media, influencers and consumer groups. An Issues Response Team was also created so that common messaging and a proactive media strategy can be implemented, if required.

Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) provided an update on its new initiatives as it enters its third year of operation. Key priorities in 2018 were maintaining its membership base as well as implementing the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework which included finalizing the Communications and Claims Guide.

BVCRT members continue to laud the efforts of the CRSB, noting it is an excellent tool from a public trust perspective. The CSRB will continue to raise awareness of the initiatives around sustainable beef production in Canada.

Veal Working Group

The Canadian Veal Association provided a brief update on the newly formed (May 2018) Veal Working Group. Over the course of the summer, members were added to this working group and they identified a number of priorities that could be addressed including cost of production, veterinary drug access and veal imports. The BVCRT will continue to be informed of the progress from this working group.

Bovine Tuberculosis update

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provided a verbal update on the investigation of a recent outbreak (October 2018) of Bovine Tuberculosis in British Columbia. CFIA has been updating provincial partners, industry stakeholders, First Nations and trading partners, and will continue to lead the investigation.

The outbreak was contained and meat did not enter the food chain. The herd has been quarantined until all test results have been analyzed and all contact herds have been identified. CFIA did not foresee any impact on trade or market access.

Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table

The final report of the Economic Strategy Tables was released in September 2018 and the Government of Canada is responding to recommendations, including tax competitiveness, transportation, increasing market diversification and regulatory agility.  Industry members continue to stress the importance of labour and interprovincial trade barriers as key concerns and would like to see actions as well as next steps.

Trade

BVCRT members were provided with an update by AAFC on trade agreements and negotiations, including the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), China, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay), the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru), the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the United Kingdom. Key highlights included:

Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC)

CFIA provided an update on the RCC, which is a forum for stakeholders to discuss regulatory barriers and identify opportunities for regulatory cooperation between Canada and the US. Mutually agreed upon work plans were published in 2016 outlining topics that will benefit both sides of the border. Work continues at the technical level to advance efforts and engage with stakeholders. Good progress has been made on the Meat Inspection and Certification work plan, but there are a few impediments on the Animal Health work plan. A Canada Gazette process is underway to engage with stakeholders and solicit input on new opportunities for regulatory cooperation.

Canadian Beef Grading Agency (CBGA)

CBGA provided an overview of the beef grading model, including service delivery and updates due to the new Safe Foods for Canadian Regulations(SFCR) coming in effect on January 15, 2019. Industry members of the Sheep Value Chain Roundtable expressed an interest in investigating this model and potentially collaborating with CGBA for ovine carcass grading.

Animal Health Canada: Pathfinding Project

Ontario Sheep Farmers shared information about a recent discussion aimed at the development of a new animal health strategy. Leaders from the meat and dairy industries, along with major processors, have agreed to champion the development of a new organization called Animal Health Canada, which would be under the umbrella of the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council. The goal is to strengthen Canada’s capacity for animal disease prevention, preparedness and response. A financial commitment from 13 participating stakeholders has been secured. The next step is to engage in a building process to develop the new model and present a proposal to Federal, Provincial, Territorial Ministers in July 2019. Commitment is needed by all parties to coordinate the efforts of an industry-government initiative which has a targeted implementation date of July 2020.

Agri-Food and Aquaculture Targeted Regulatory Review

AAFC and CFIA provided an update on the consultation outcomes of this review and provided direction on the next steps for the meat sector. Budget 2018 identified the agri-food and aquaculture sector as one of three initial areas for targeted regulatory review which is focused on supporting innovation and business investment. Regulatory review has been a key priority for a number of years. Issues previously identified through stakeholder engagement, along with recent recommendations from the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table, are being used to formulate a roadmap with a timeline for changes to existing regulatory priorities. A great deal of input was received from the meat sector which will feed into the “What We Heard Report” to be published by Treasury Board Secretariat in January/February 2019. Also, in the recently released “Fall Economic Statement of 2018”, a number of announcements were made relating to other regulatory change initiatives which further supports the need for a targeted review.

Youth representation

Representatives from the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program provided their perspectives on the roundtable meeting and the challenges and opportunities they see for the beef sector.

Conclusion

AAFC shared an overview of the Value Chain Roundtable renewal process. VCRTs were initially created in 2003 to develop export market strategies and are currently more broadly-focused to support industry-government collaboration to drive economic growth and sector development. As part of a renewal/revitalization process, AAFC circulated a survey to members in fall 2018. AAFC will continue to engage with roundtable members and chairs in 2019.

Feedback from the joint session of the BVCRT and the Sheep Value Chain Roundtable was positive and there is a willingness to consider blending other roundtables in a similar format in the future.

The date for the next BVCRT meeting was confirmed for May 7 and 8, 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Annex A: Action items

Meeting / Item # Description Responsibility Timeline
50-1 AAFC to encourage Statistics Canada to provide further HS code breakdowns for live cattle import data and explore options with AAFC to address this data need in the near term. AAFC and Statistics Canada Winter 2019
50-2 BVCRT members are encouraged to provide input on the next phase (2020-2024) of the National Beef Strategy by December 14, 2018. Industry December 14, 2018
50-3 The BVCRT supports the development of a Total Quality Management System to enhance decision making in support of customer satisfaction with Canadian beef and the profitability of the sector. Recommendation
50-4 An ad-hoc group will be formed to develop a report which outlines synergies between the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table’s final report and the National Beef Strategy. Industry Winter 2019
50-5 A discussion of livestock data collection and utilization will be held during the Canadian Livestock Market Information Advisory Committee meeting in March 2019. AAFC March 2019
Joint session with the Beef and Sheep Value Chain Roundtables
Meeting / Item # Description Responsibility Timeline
50-6 Industry members of the BVCRT support the implementation of the EU Red Meat Industry Development Fund proposal. Recommendation
50-7 Industry members of the BVCRT support greater government-to- government engagement with the goal of informing EU authorities through plant visits and emphasizing Canadian food safety practices. Recommendation
50-8 Industry members of the joint VCRT support further efforts by government to increase the number of veterinarians accredited under the Canadian program called Certifying Freedom from Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) for the Export of Beef to the EU. Recommendation
50-9 AAFC will invite officials from the International Affairs Branch to the next meetings of the BVCRT and ShVCRT. AAFC May 2019
50-10 Sheep industry representatives will reach out to the CBGA to discuss potential collaboration with regard to carcass grading. Sheep Value Chain Roundtable only

Annex B: Participants

Co-chairs

Industry members

Provincial government members

Federal government members

Federal government observers

Industry observers

Cattlemen's Young Leaders

Speakers and Guests

Federal support

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