Livestock Markets Association of Canada
Over the past year Livestock Markets Association of Canada (LMAC) has been busy representing its members and the marketing sector on a number of files. LMAC helped develop COVID-19 protocols for all of the auction markets. The safety of producers, buyers, employees and service providers became an even bigger priority than before. They also distributed timely and accurate information to their members in an effort to make sure that the marketing sector was getting up-to-date real time information on changes and recommendations. During the summer months, LMAC developed weekly newsletters for its members, industry partners and service providers. Auction markets and assembly yards were given essential services designation in all provinces.
LMAC representatives were on over 100 conference calls and virtual meetings with CCA and both the provincial and federal governments, dealing with challenges brought about by COVID-19. LMAC appreciated the opportunity to be part of these discussions.
The new transportation regulations are nearing the end of the first year of the “phase-in program”. The reduction of hours off feed and water to 36 hours is problematic for the movement of livestock, especially from the west to east. The lack of infrastructure, along with the locations of facilities to handle the increased need for feed and water stops has been identified, but there has been little forward movement at this time to deal with the problem. Existing facilities are at maximum usage during the peak times. The new regulations could require double the amount of feed and water locations in northern Ontario.
The requirements to have feed and water documentation accompany livestock delivered to and loaded out of auctions and assembly yards is a major concern moving forward. LMAC has suggested to CFIA that this only be required on trips of over eight hours duration. Producers and transporters are, in most cases, unaware of this regulatory change, and LMAC fears that the intermediate sites will be made responsible for enforcing the regulations on deliveries.
The “transfer of responsibility” in the new regulations is very cloudy at this time, and LMAC is working to have clearer definitions given to industry.
The Humane Handling and Transport committee, chaired by CFIA, has had some productive meetings to deal with the transport concerns. The new faces at the table from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are much more approachable and have been more willing to listen to industry to find workable solutions. Both CCA and LMAC representatives are very active on this committee.
LMAC is preparing for the new traceability regulations. LMAC’s position of reporting group movement and not scanning individual animals has not changed. LMAC is working with a software developer to provide group movement reporting to CCIA. There has also been discussion in the provincial livestock inspection groups by using their services and building on existing infrastructure. Provincial jurisdiction has hindered the talks from moving forward at this time.
LMAC is working on updating the projected cost of implementing the traceability regulations to the marketing sector. LMAC still expects the federal government to cover the implementation costs of traceability as well as some of the ongoing costs.
LMAC has representation on the National Farmed Animal Care Council’s Transportation Code Update Committee, as well as some of the working groups. This is LMAC’s first major involvement with NFACC.
LMAC is concerned that “species harmonization” in the transportation code could negatively affect the cattle sector. LMAC feels that the development of the code should have major input from industry sectors that have practical experience in the industry, and not just academic experts.
LMAC is also represented on the working group for the Canadian Livestock Transportation Certification redevelopment. If Canadian packers add this as a requirement for transporters to deliver to their packing plants, direct deliveries from the markets or electronic sales would be affected.
The issue of electronic logs for cattle transporters will be a hot topic during the next year. LMAC will be lobbying for an exemption for livestock, allowing them to be delivered to their destination within a reasonable time without having to sit on the side of the road while the drivers wait to reset their log books.
Rick Wright, LMAC’s liaison with CCA, has participated in a large number of CCA committee meetings over the past year. He had been very involved with the CCA Animal and Health and Care Committee, along with the CCA Policy Response Team that dealt with COVID-19 related issues in the livestock industry.
The LMAC feels that their associate membership in the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has been a huge benefit to both organizations.
LMAC would like to recognize the extra effort and dedication of the CCA Board of Directors and staff during this challenging year in the cattle industry. We would especially like to thank the staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, led by Dennis Laycraft, David Moss, Brady Stadnicki, Fawn Jackson and Michelle McMullen.
This past year has brought the cattle industry together and will make the industry’s voice even stronger. LMAC looks forward to working with CCA in the future on the aforementioned issues and sharing resources and expertise to keep the cattle industry sustainable and profitable in the future.