The Farm Crisis and the Cattle Sector: Toward a New Analysis and New Solutions
NFU's 16 Steps to Turn the Sector Around
Ban packer ownership and control of cattle, and require that all cattle go through independent auctions or be sold by fixed-price contacts with full disclosure of terms.
Restrain packer power and reverse concentration.
Decouple vertically integrated packers.
Examine and restrain retailer and wholesaler power.
Succeed in creating farmer-owned packing capacity.
Tailor food safety regulations to encourage local abattoirs.
Build collective marketing agencies.
Test for BSE and ban artificial hormones.
Dramatically reduce antibiotic use.
Develop markets for grass-finished beef within Canada and North America.
Embrace country-of-origin labelling.
Focus on Local Food.
Better balance Canadian beef production with domestic consumption.
Get public money into farmers’ hands immediately.
Give farmers a choice among cattle organizations to fund.
Use government policy tools to encourage appropriate-scale family farm production.
1989 was a pivotal year for the Canadian beef and cattle sectors. A new market structure held aloft a promise of modernisation, globalisation and sector efficiency. Only now are the full effects coming to light and with them the realisation of what this promise really delivered, writes Adam Anson, reporting for TheCattleSite.
Today's world of Canadian cattle is completely different to the one that existed before 1989. Not only are the companies that dominated that age gone, but also the landscape which they evolved on has been moved.
Canadian cattle prices began to fall immediately after 1989, yet many farmers still experienced good returns from their operations throughout the next decade, leading analysts to question why this prosperity continued in the face of falling prices? The answer is that grain prices also experienced an unprecedented downward shift in 1989. As these production costs decreased, the incensing profits offset falling returns, masking the true affects. But now that rising feed prices are rising they threaten to uncover the real problem