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  • Ritz announces new Import Beef levy
    By Darren Matte - AgriNews Staff Writer

    MOREWOOD -- Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was in Morewood on July 30, to make an announcement of a new amendment to the Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Levies Order that will see the current levy of $1 per head of cattle for beef marketed in Canada applied to importers. Canada Beef Chair Chuck MacLean was also on hand to welcome the import levy that will provide new investments in research and market development for Canada's beef industry.

    "This is good news for Canadian beef producers and the cattle industry," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "This new levy will provide a stable funding source for research, market development and promotion activities on domestic and imported beef and beef products."

    Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry M.P and former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture welcomed the minister to the O'Brien Beef Farm just west of Morewood. "I must thank Minister Ritz for being here. He seems to be in SD&G often and it usually means good news for the county and its farmers," said Lauzon. "When Gerry asked me to be his Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, I didn't know much about agriculture. He told me Put farmers first' and it was the best piece of advice I could have gotten because farming is what this country is all about."

    Canada Beef estimates an additional $800,000 will be collected through the import levy on an annual basis, and these funds will help increase the profitability of Canada's beef sector.

    "The Farm Products Council of Canada (FPCC) and Canada Beef have been collaborating on finalizing this amendment for several years now," said Chuck MacLean, Chair of the agency. "This will help beef producers expand their markets and increase sales and fund research projects, as well as provide increased access to information on beef products to Canadian consumers."

    MacLean also added that this new levy will benefit the industry by creating relationships with other markets. He also noted that this levy is a first for the agriculture industry.

    "Establishing a Promotion and Research Agency helps agricultural producers expand their markets and increase sales," said Laurent Pellerin, Chairman of the FPCC. "It also benefits consumers from increased access to information on products, including their quality and their nutritional values."

    Pellerin went on to say how proud he was to see the levy go in and gave the industry credit for being the first in the agriculture sector to "change the rules."

    Canada Beef, formerly known as the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency, was established in 2002 under Part III of the Farm Products Agencies Act. The Agency was formed to fund promotion and research initiatives and was the first Promotion and Research Agency established under the Act.

    Promotion and research agencies enable agricultural groups to conduct generic promotion and research to expand their markets and increase sales through advertising. The FPCC supervises agencies established under the Act to ensure that they fulfill their objectives. In this way, it promotes a stronger and more efficient Canadian agriculture industry.

    McLean outlined that the timeline for the levy to come into effect is still not set in stone. He said that they are giving importers time to get their systems in line and personally hopes that this will come into effect in September or October of 2013.

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