The door to Europe isn’t quite open yet

The EU trade deal is now a go, but ‘very few producers’ have signed up for a program that makes their cattle eligible


By Alexis Kienlen, Albert Farmer Express

October 10, 2017


The European Union has the potential to be a big marketplace for Canadian beef producers, but it’s going to take some effort to get them here.


“We are concerned that to date very few producers are enrolling their cattle in the EU program,” the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said in a recent edition of its e-newsletter.


“We believe that most are taking a wait-and-see approach to whether the access to the EU market will be genuine and whether the prices for EU-eligible cattle will justify the expense of raising them.”


There are a few reasons for the slow uptake, said Doug Sawyer, a Pine Lake-area cow-calf operator and backgrounder who is vice-chair of foreign trade with the CCA.


“One is that we haven’t got the technical trade barriers with the EU worked out yet to actually move the volume that we’re allowed to,” he said.


One of those barriers has to do with processing, as Canadian plants use a citrus wash and an acid wash that is not approved by Europe.


“We’ve got to get some of those types of things worked out in order to be able to take advantage of that market,” said Sawyer.


Another reason is a lack of Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarians certified to handle the program and get producers on board...