Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz busy on both sides of the border

Feb 06, 2015

Defending Canada’s stance on COOL and investing in beef production

By Diego Flammini,

As most people say when it gets to the end of the week, “Thank God It’s Friday!”

With the week he’s had, Canada’s Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is surely singing the praises of the weekend as he was making waves in Canada and the United States this week.

Firstly, an investment announcement of more than $3 million was made on his behalf in Manitoba to help sustain Canada’s beef production. The investment will be split between governments and other industry colleagues.

Over the next four years, government and beef industry professionals such as Manitoba Beef Producers will use the investment to establish a grassland and beef management initiative, continue to promote test farms focusing on herd health and animal feed and develop a committee to oversee research activities.

"Manitoba’s beef producers are committed to managing the health and sustainability of their animals and the land,” said Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn in a release. “Working together with a focus on farm-level research will create valuable information for producers and result in the greatest benefits for the long-term future of the beef sector in Manitoba.”

Meanwhile in the United States…

Minister Ritz went to Washington, D.C. with members of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council and other meat producer organizations to hammer home Canada’s stance on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

COOL requires any meat in American grocery stores to identify where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Minister Ritz said this labeling process can cause problems in both countries, and should it continue, look to retaliate on agricultural products coming from the United States.

“Mandatory COOL continues to hurt ranchers, businesses, and the overall red-meat industry on both sides of the border,” he said. “These meetings provided the opportunity to reinforce with key American legislators that the Canadian Government will continue to stand up for our farmers and ranchers and we will utilize all options, including retaliation, to ensure this harm is put to a permanent end.”

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