National Cattle Feeders’ Association
The National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) serves as a
unified voice for Canada’s fed cattle producers. Our membership
is comprised of provincial beef organizations from Canada’s major cattle feeding regions, each of which contributes funding to NCFA based on their province’s proportionate share of total fed cattle production.
Without doubt, the year 2020 will go down as one of the most difficult and challenging years on record for the Canadian beef industry. The COVID-19 pandemic saw slow-downs and shut-downs in beef processing, which then caused 130,000 head of harvest-ready cattle to back-up on our feedlots and costing feeders $500,000 each and every day.
This, coupled with a collapse in fed cattle prices that have yet to recover, has generated a staggering $500 million loss for the nation’s beef producers.
A collaborative effort with our beef industry stakeholders resulted in a policy response to help address the crisis, mitigate its effects, and get in place federal and provincial financial backstops to ensure industry liquidity:
- Serving on the COVID-19 Emergency Lead Team, Policy Response Team and Communications Team
- Agriculture and agri-food is deemed “essential” to keep cattle moving through the supply chain
- Foreign workers under TFWP and CUSMA can enter Canada despite border closures
- Up to $85 million in federal-provincial Agri-Recovery secured for feed cost and Set Aside programs
- Up to $50 million in federal support for costs of mandatory isolation under the TFWP
- Up to $78 million in assistance to ensure health and safety of food processing workers
- Developing and distributing “Best Management Practices” to prevent on-farm COVID-19 infection
- Agri-Stability interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent and extending the enrolment deadline
- Additional $5 billion in loans available through Farm Credit Canada
Business Risk Management
The COVID-19 pandemic underscores yet again the many insufficiencies of Canada’s suite of agriculture Business Risk Management (BRM) programs. NCFA research and engagement with other national agriculture organizations resulted in a set of reforms to current programs that has industry-wide support and was placed on the table at the November 2020 Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers’ Meeting:
- Removing the $3 million cap on Agri-Stability Payments;
- Ending the practice of “reference margin limiting” in calculating
Agri-Stability Payments; and
- Increasing the Agri-Stability payout rate from 70 per cent to 85 per cent.
While the FPT meetings did not result in agreement on moving forward, the federal government is supportive of the measures, the provinces are still considering, and NCFA will keep pressing.
Michel Daigle, NCFA Chair
In 2020, NCFA’s five-year Strategic Plan was set to expire and a comprehensive review of the plan showed completion of many of its goals, objectives, and initiatives. The NCFA Board of Directors, staff representatives, and consultants worked to draft a new five-year plan where the existing strategic pillars were adjusted slightly and a new set of goals and initiatives were developed. NCFA will continue to maintain its core focus on sustainable growth and prosperity, improved competitiveness, and industry leadership and collaboration.
After the COVID-19 crisis landed in early 2020, NCFA moved to re-set our annual Ottawa Engagement Strategy and ensure continued outreach and connection with our key MP champions and Ministers, as well as various Parliamentary Secretaries, political aides and advisors, public servants, and government regulators:
- Dozens of virtual meetings via Zoom with MPs and other officials throughout 2020
- Annual Lobby week in October with over 30 MPs and officials
- Several MP feedlot tours with MPs held in BC, Alberta, and Quebec
- Two appearances before the House Standing Committee on Agriculture
- Appearance before the House Standing Committee on Trade
- Written submission to the House Standing Committee on Finance for Budget 2021
- Numerous submissions to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, ESDC, Global Affairs, and CFIA
- Design and deliver new pilot projects with CFIA on E-certification and cattle export convoys
Industry Development and Collaboration
- NCFA has always believed that industry collaboration—multiple voices speaking with consistent, coherent, and complimentary messaging—strengthens Canada’s beef industry by increasing leverage with government and encouraging action on our critical concerns and priorities. Throughout 2020, NCFA worked with our industry partners on numerous working groups across a wide range of issues including government-industry working groups on:
- Animal Health Canada
- on Animal Transport Regulations
- Negligible Risk Status (application to OIE)
- FMD Preparedness
NCFA’s partnerships cut a wide swath and includes national beef organizations and agencies e.g., Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada Beef, Livestock Markets Association of Canada, other livestock and meat organizations e.g., Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Meat Council, and a multitude of government agencies e.g., Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Animal Industry Division at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Thank you to all of our many industry partners.