CEO Janice Tranberg, welcomes the new provincial cabinet and outlines the next steps ACFA will take in working with them in this latest members update edition of the Ringside: ACFA Welcomes Alberta Cabinet
Advocacy is an insurance plan for ACFA’s members. It’s the security that comes from knowing ACFA is out there working on behalf of its members so they can concentrate on what they do best — running their operations and producing the best beef in the world.
ACFA is making progress for its members in the following areas:
Market access and development
ACFA engaged with a number of partners to establish a more conducive trading environment and continues working toward expanded export opportunities. We will continue advocating for the changes required to access these markets, particularly in regards to improved labour policy and increased packer capacity.
Reducing regulatory burdens
The entire beef value chain is impacted by government regulations. ACFA works to reform and reduce the regulatory burden by advocating for alternatives that reflect the business realities of cattle feeding through building on the positive relationship it has established with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Identifying and advocating for research priorities
ACFA supports research and development projects that strengthen Alberta’s beef industry and generate value for its members. All of these projects enhance communications, connect with consumers and other stakeholders, and cement the four pillars of our social license to operate.
Projects and initiatives include:
- National Beef Code of Practice
The National Farm Animal Care (NFACC) is a Canadian organization dedicated to promoting best practices in the health and welfare of farm animals. NFACC accomplished its mission by defining standards of care and developing codes of practice for all of Canada’s various livestock sectors. The new National Beef Code of Practice was released by NFACC in 2014. ACFA representatives actively participated in the various NFACC committees that developed the code.
- Canadian Feedlot Animal Care Assessment Program
NCFA has developed a fully auditable Feedlot Animal Care Assessment program that is certified by the American Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) and recognized by the National Farm Animal Care Council. This code of practice — a companion document to the Beef Code — is specific to the handling and care of beef cattle on Canadian feedlots and the result of a collaborative effort by feedlot operators, packers (welfare experts from those plants were involved in program development), retail customers, veterinarians, ethologists, animal scientists, and the SPCA. Cargill, JBS, and Tyson were integral to the development of the feedlot audit. For detailed information on the program click here.
- Canadian Livestock Transport Certification Program
ACFA led the development of CLT, a training and certification program, for those working in the livestock transportation industry. Through online training and modules, people can learn the skills needed to safely transport Canadian livestock — from techniques for low-stress animal handling to specialized driving practices.
- Development of a new Histophilosis vaccine
Histophilosis Somni is an infectious disease that affects the respiratory system of cattle. Like many viral infections, histophilosis can be effectively controlled and combated through a vaccination regimen. At the same time, the virus causing the infection is quite capable of mutating, rendering some vaccination regimens ineffective. ACFA has initiated a project at the University of Saskatchewan School of Veterinary Medicine to develop a new Histophilosis vaccine. The project is being funded by ACFA, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), and through industry support.
- Forage and feed grain research
ACFA supports a number of ongoing research and development initiatives designed to improve both the productivity and quality of forage and feed grains needed to raise healthy beef cattle and grow the productivity and profitability of the cattle industry. To support this work, ACFA contributes funding to the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), which identifies opportunities, organizes the research resources and infrastructure, and leverages ACFA funding with other sources.
- Feedlot Emergency Preparedness Plan
The Guidelines for this plan were carefully prepared and are intended to guide feedlot operators and staff through the immediate response activities anticipated in a sector-wide emergency. For the beef cattle industry, a sector-wide emergency is most likely the result of a major disease outbreak — like Foot and Mouth Disease, or possibly a disease that affects humans — or some other event leading to a significant interruption of the market and in all likelihood caused by disease. These are the events whose widespread problems from the event itself, or resulting loss of markets, would essentially bring the industry ‘to a halt’. The Guidelines in the plan are important because they are the immediate response activities that feedlot operators will be involved in, in the early days of a sector-wide emergency. They are prepared in a workbook style format specific to the individual feedlots. Portions of the book can be incorporated into staff training materials or laminated and posted for ready reference in the event of an emergency.