Beef check-off increasing to support National Strategy

Debra Murphy, 2012

The Canadian cattle industry is seeing an increase in the levies paid to national beef programs, from $1.00 to $2.50 per head on live animals sold in the country.

The increase stems from the National Beef Strategy, published in 2015, where all the provinces committed to increasing funding for market development, beef promotion and research to improve the competitiveness of Canadian beef.

“If we want to be the most trusted and competitive high quality beef cattle producer in the world and recognized for our superior quality, safety, value, innovation and sustainable production methods, we’ve got to execute an all-hands-on-deck plan to work for it,” writes Bryan Thiessen, chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council, in a blog post explaining why BCRC and Canada Beef will be receiving more money from each animal sold.

The BCRC and Canada Beef receive funding through the national check-off, as administrated by the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency, with allocations varying province by province. Each province also collects a second, provincial levy (which may also be non-refundable) to support trade and advocacy, policy development, provincial or regional research, and provincial marketing and promotion. Here’s where the check-offs stand today, with increases still to come in most provinces:

Current check-off levies collected by province, as per the Canadian Beef Strategy.

On the research side, BCRC says it needs $11.8 million annually from industry stakeholders, government, check-off groups, non-governmental organizations and supply chain stakeholders. At present, it receives an average of 18 cents for every $1.00 check-off collected (amounting to $1,288,478 in 2016). It is proposed to receive 75 cents of the $2.50 per head check-off, for $4 million in industry funding, which will help leverage for further funding.

“Government doesn’t issue cheques without clear proof that the research programs they’re being asked to support are very important to industry,” writes Thiessen. “Ponying up our own cash is the necessary clear proof.”

Canada Beef says its priorities for the increased funding include capturing high-growth markets, expanding programs with retailers, and generating more business through the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence.

Since the release of the National Beef Strategy in January 2015, all provinces except Ontario have passed resolutions to support the increase at their Annual General Meetings.

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island started to collect the increased check-off in January and June 2017 (respectively), bringing their total, non-refundable check-off to $6.00 per head.

Most of the provinces are expected to join NS and PEI by the end of 2018.

Once “national treatment” is achieved (all of the provinces have made the increase), BCRC says a similar increase can be applied to import levies on cattle.

 

Debra Murphy

Debra Murphy is a Field Editor based out of central Alberta, where she never misses a moment to capture with her camera the real beauty of agriculture. Follow her on Twitter @RealAg_Debra

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