CALGARY, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors of the National Cattle
Feeders' Association (NCFA) is extremely concerned over the recent closures of
a number of meat packing plants and the consequent reduction in slaughter
capacity for cattle in Canada.
"One issue that became abundantly clear after BSE hit Canada was the need
to reduce our reliance on American packers to slaughter Canadian cattle," says
Rick Paskal, Chairman of NCFA. "Investors came forward, built facilities that
offered alternatives to Canadian cattle producers and now they are closing
In the past few months several plants have closed their doors or reduced
shifts in BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Other plants are struggling to
remain in the black. Beef packing plants require significant capital and human
resources to survive in an increasingly competitive marketplace and the
affected plants struggled to grow markets at a time when margins were slim.
Policies that industry and government put forward may have also contributed to
their demise. Paskal says the NCFA is very concerned about losing any more
capacity in Canada. "The message we are taking to federal and provincial
politicians is we need to take a fresh look at the factors eroding the
competitive position of the beef industry in Canada."
According to Paskal, one of the Alberta plants that shut down could not
source enough age verified cattle on a year around basis to meet market demand
in off shore markets. "This is one reason that the NCFA Board supports
mandatory age verification in Canada," says Paskal.
The NCFA will be meeting with government officials to examine options to
bring stability to the Canadian beef industry and grow the business for
For further information:
For further information: Rick Paskal, (403) 732-4075, (403) 894-9449
(Cell); Bryan Walton, General Manager, (403) 250-2509, (403) 837-2232 (Cell);
French Media Contact: Mark Grimmard, (418) 325-3451, (418) 325-4433 (Cell)