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Canadian beef industry at a crossroads

A new study from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) says “the Canadian beef industry is at a profound tipping point and corrective action is needed.” The report says the industry is falling behind and opportunities are being eroded by a failure to work together. CAPI President and CEO David McInness cites a lack of a comprehensive strategy to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities that the future offers.

Specifically the study finds declining beef production in Canada with no apparent strategy to rebuild which could lead to Canada becoming a net beef importer. It notes that 85 percent of Canadian beef trade is with the United States and that the country, in effect is “backfilling” the U.S. market. In other words, the U.S. is expanding exports and building markets and using Canadian cattle and beef to help fill the demand. They also find Canada’s share of their own beef market has declined from 87 percent to 75 percent since 2005.

McInness says the Canadian beef industry needs to make a decision; are they happy with the current system of selling to the U.S. or do they work to build their own foreign and domestic markets to get more value out of their beef. One challenge with that the report says is the Canadian beef industry has not been actively encouraging consumption. Per capita beef consumption in Canada has declined 10.7 percent over the last ten years.

Based in Ottawa, CAPI is a not-for-profit corporation established by the Canadian federal government to serve as an independent policy forum dedicated to identifying issues and formulating solutions for the success of Canadian agriculture.

AUDIO:McInness comments on the study 12:29 mp3

Read the CAPI report here

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