This was another busy year for the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, as we continued to support our industry through five strategic priorities. With new governments both provincially and federally, we’ve been kept very busy. Here are some of 2015’s highlights:
Priority #1: accessing and developing markets for Canada’s beef
To help create export opportunities for Canadian beef producers, we advocated for the following:
- Canada’s inclusion in the 2015 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement: providing access to the largest international free trade zone.
- Ensuring that the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) import licensing system doesn’t slow down real access to the European market.
- Remaining firm on retaliation to force a full repeal of country of origin labelling (COOL) and to reject any proposal requiring segregation of Canadian cattle in U.S. plants. The U.S. finally repealed COOL in December 2015.
Priority #2: industry competitiveness
Sensible regulation protects the public and ensures the welfare of our cattle, but for the industry to thrive, regulation must not create an unnecessary burden. Activities for ACFA on this front included:
- Including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in our project activities and hosting a CFIA tour of southern Alberta feedlots.
- Contributing $100,000 to a new National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) regulatory reform project measuring the industry costs of various cattle regulations throughout Canada.
- Reaching out to the provincial government on farm safety and Bill 6, to ensure the needs of cattle feeders are respected and represented.
Priority #3: advocating for research that supports the industry and animal care
We completed the following projects:
Priority #4: working to improve industry relations, governance and funding
- We held a series of meetings, in conjunction with Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) to develop a cohesive industry strategy that fairly represents all sectors.
- Continued support of the provincial refundable check-off, and the passing of a motion calling for a budget and governance plan before any increase in the national check-off.
Priority #5: Building our membership by addressing issues facing the feedlot industry
As a voluntary and membership based industry association, our fifth priority is particularly important to us — ensuring that our members receive value.
- We were one of the first agricultural industry associations to meet with the new provincial ministers of Agriculture & Forestry and Jobs, Skills, Training & Labour to introduce ACFA and brief them on industry issues.
- We urged the government to adopt the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan to address the industry’s chronic labour shortage and called for the creation of a new agriculture-dedicated workforce program.
- As part of our recruitment and retention campaign we held workshops, participated in job fairs, conferences, tradeshows, and other career events. Our website features a recruitment section with industry information, job boards, and a resume bank.
Finally, in 2015, we were pleased to participate in several charitable events:
- We raised $6,700 for Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta at our Annual Golf Tournament in June.
- Our team, along with Alberta Beef Producers staff, prepared a tasty beef dinner for families staying at Calgary’s Ronald McDonald House.
- We also partner with Olds College through an annual $1,000 Dargis Family Scholarship annual grant for a first-year student.
2016 is shaping up to be an equally busy year for ACFA, and we will remain as focused as ever on our strategic priorities.
If you’d like to know more about ACFA and what we’re all about, check out these previous posts: The making of a cattle feeders’ association – major milestones in our history and 5 must-know facts about the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association.
And stay tuned for future blog posts!