OTTAWA – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has unveiled a new five-year development plan for the beef sector and it’s full of ambitious targets.
David Haywood-Farmer, past-chair of the association’s Beef Advisors group, said the 2020-24 National Beef Strategy (NBS) is designed to take advantage of the opportunities facing the industry while simultaneously addressing the challenges.
“The National Beef Strategy has provided real value for Canadian beef producers; it acts as a roadmap for the groups as they work together,” Haywood-Farmer said. “We have set our industry up for success, now we just need to follow through.”
Like the 2015-2019 strategy, the new one will focus on greater profitability, growth and continued production of a high-quality beef and making it the product of choice around the world, he said.
The NBS is based on the four pillars of Beef Demand, Competitiveness, Productivity and Connectivity, which provide a framework that supports producer viability. Each pillar has many components.
Anne Wasko, chair of the Beef Advisors said, “As global demand for all types of protein is growing, there are opportunities for those with market access, supplies and a competitive cost of production. There are exciting times ahead for agriculture as production adjusts to meet demand from a growing middle class in Asia.”
In addition to programs to boost the competitiveness of beef farmers and the quality of their product, the NBS plans to keep boosting “the Canadian Beef Advantage as the most recognized and loyalty-based premium beef program in the world.”
It also wants to work with the rest of the beef sector to ensure the quality and sustainability of Canada beef.
Meanwhile it will work with governments to reduce non-tariff and tariff barriers in export markets and to utilize preferential access in key exports markets for Canadian beef, live cattle, and beef cattle genetics.
The NBS plans for research and development to improve consumer satisfaction and confidence in Canadian beef through a focus on enabling industry advocates, leadership in issues management, and partnerships with influencers.
It also wants to support consumer food safety education initiatives that demonstrate the effectiveness of Canada’s science-based, food-safety system, Haywood-Farmer said.
As part of the strategy, the Canadian Beef Innovation Network will provide producers with world leading scientific-based cattle selection tools for informed herd management decisions.
It will also support improvement in yields and nutritional quality of tame, native and annual hay species through regionally appropriate efforts to improve pasture, forage and grazing management, soil health and plant breeding.
Also on the to-do list is improving feed efficiency through cattle breeding methods that consider and balance the production traits of economic relevance to different sectors of the beef value chain.
To help improved feed supply and utilization, it will support the development of improved feed grain varieties and agronomic and feeding strategies that cost-effectively optimize animal nutrition, performance and cost of gain while considering impacts on animal performance, health, beef quality and nutrient management.
It wants to improve surveillance of the incidence and economic impact of production limiting diseases and nutritional, health management along with biosecurity and welfare practices in cow-calf, backgrounding and feedlot operations.
Another priority is improved prevention of animal disease and welfare issues through the identification, development and promotion of cost-effective vaccination, treatment and management strategies that can be widely adopted to improve health, welfare, reproductive and performance outcomes throughout the beef production system.
Education of producers about the best antimicrobial resistance treatment options throughout the cattle production cycle and support for technology to detect AMR problems will be another priority, he said.
The NBS will promote great use of town halls, webinars, lunch and learns, Beef Advocacy Canada and other opportunities to expand industry and consumers knowledge about what’s happening in the sector.
It also wants increase public recognition of the beef industry’s direct and indirect contributions to the Canadian economy and society that will help maintain the Canadian beef industry’s social license to operate and identify areas of public concern.
Finally, NBS wants to help develop a National Emergency Management Strategy in event of a major trade disruption caused by diseases such as foot and mouth.