Ritz Meets with Canadian Beef Producers in P.E.I.

Aug 14, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz remains firm on the importance of ending the mandatory U.S. Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) that he argues unfairly discriminates against Canadian livestock, especially cattle and hogs.

Ritz offered comments about COOL while meeting with beef farmers at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) semi-annual meeting being held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island this week.  Gail Shea, P.E.I. MP and Minister of Fishers and Oceans, joined Ritz at the conference.

“COOL is not delivering what the American [Obama] administration said it would do,” he said in an interview with Farms.com. The ongoing trade dispute over the meat labeling rule has been heard at the World Trade Organization. A ruling is expected sometime this fall.

Canadian beef producers “have faced some significant challenges since BSE, and they are coming back,” he said, adding that the industry is stronger than it has ever been, with record beef prices attracting young people back into the sector.

Dave Solverson, CCA President says that the Canadian beef industry “appreciates how much work the Minister does to open markets.” The Minister stated that the feeling is mutual, noting that he has enjoyed working with the CCA leadership over the years and is confident that they will continue as he says to “work hard” together to deliver positive results for Canadian beef producers.

The CCA semi-annual meeting and convention brings together beef cattle farmers and industry representatives for networking and discussion about policy. CCA organizers aim to host the event in a different region of Canada each year. The 2014 semi-annual gathering runs from August 13 to 16, 2014.

Canada is the eighth-largest beef exporting country in the world, with annual exports of $1.3 billion in 2013. Beef is also the largest sector of the country’s food manufacturing industry.

(Contributed photo: Minister Ritz speaks with CCA’s Dave Solverson and Ivan Johnson at the CCA semi-annual meeting in Charlottetown, P.E.I.)