The Canadian Beef Advisors consist of elected leaders and staff representation of the seven national beef organizations responsible for policy, marketing, research and sustainability. They are a diverse group of experienced industry representatives who are responsible for advancing the National Beef Strategy with industry stakeholders, providing recommendations on future direction and reporting results against strategy goals and objectives. In my role as president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), I have had the opportunity to serve on this council as both a member and as the former chair.
I believe strongly in an integrated Canadian beef industry, and it is with this vision that the Canadian Beef Advisors created the 2020-24 National Beef Strategy. The strategy is designed to take advantage of the opportunities facing the industry while simultaneously addressing the challenges. The development of the 2020-24 National Beef Strategy has been a dynamic, collaborative process engaging all industry sectors and national and provincial organizations.
The Canadian Beef Advisors and provincial cattle associations believe a united industry is a stronger industry, and that a stronger industry benefits all those working in it today and into the future. Substantial progress was made under the 2015-19 strategy and the intention is to continue building on the strengths of existing industry organizations. The National Beef Strategy has provided real value for Canadian beef producers; it acts as a roadmap for the groups as they work together. We have set our industry up for success; now we just need to follow through.
The National Beef Strategy promotes a united approach to position the Canadian beef industry for greater profitability, growth and continued production of a high-quality beef product of choice in the world. The industry vision, mission and pillars remain unchanged from the 2015-19 strategy, but focus areas and tactics have been updated to reflect the current market and regulatory environment that producers face.
The four pillars of beef demand, competitiveness, productivity and connectivity provide a framework that supports producer viability. As it suggests, the beef demand pillar seeks to increase global demand for Canadian beef by supporting the comprehensive cut-out above $270/cwt. Ensuring market access is not only established, but used, promoting the Canadian Beef Advantage, and reaffirming consumer confidence and public trust in our industry will ensure demand for Canadian beef at home and around the world. There are exciting times ahead for agriculture as production adjusts to meet demand from a growing middle class in Asia and new opportunities in other markets.
The competitiveness pillar encourages a competitive regulatory, policy and market environment. Access to labour and keeping youth involved in the beef industry are huge parts of this. Adopting new technologies to keep the industry moving forward and increase efficiencies to reduce cost inputs for producers fall under this pillar. Investing in not only research, but extension, so that producers can use these tools on their own operations, is essential to making this strategy a reality. Traceability systems that work, prevention of future disease outbreaks and evidence-based antimicrobial resistance decision-making are all tools to ensure our ongoing competitiveness.
Improving production efficiencies throughout the supply chain is the aim of the productivity pillar. Canadian genetics have long been regarded as world-leading, and there are exciting possibilities within the Canadian Beef Innovation Network to provide producers with science-based selection tools that will allow them to make informed herd-management decisions. The economic, environmental and social sustainability of Canadian beef has taken root in the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), and supporting the activities of both the CRSB and its global counterpart, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, is at the core of our continued productivity.
The old adage of strength in numbers definitely holds true for the final pillar in the National Beef Strategy: connectivity. The goal of this pillar is to enhance industry synergies and connect positively with government and partner industries. Our industry is made up of many different organizations, each representing a different facet of Canadian beef. However, co-operation between these groups is essential to our prosperity. The Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC) has created a national meeting place for Canadian beef producers, and meetings that take place during the annual event set the stage for the further evolution of the National Beef Strategy. Supporting opportunities for cross-organizational learning and stakeholder engagement, both at the CBIC and through the expansion of programs such as webinars, lunch-and-learns, town halls and Beef Advocacy Canada, will allow industry players to collaborate on solutions for industry issues, now and in the future.
As my time as CCA president draws to a close, I am confident that the industry has a clear path to a bright future in the National Beef Strategy, and I look forward to what the next four years will bring.