Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cattle producers happy province abandoning levy

Move spells end to federal slaughter facility

  • Print

THAT loud applause you hear is the sound of Manitoba cattle producers cheering the end of the $2-per-head cattle levy after eight long years.

But it also means efforts to establish a federal beef-slaughter facility in Winnipeg are over.

The province announced Friday that effective Sept. 1 the cattle-enhancement levy will end. It also spells the end for the Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council (MCEC).

It will keep the shop open to facilitate refunds of the levy that have been paid over the past 12 months as well as to wind up affairs and attempt to sell assets.

Anders Bruun, a lawyer who has been retained to help wind up MCEC's affairs, said, "At a certain point it became clear MCEC was not going to have adequate funding to carry forward, and in the circumstances it was thought best to simply stop collecting the levy from farmers as soon as possible."

Members of Manitoba Beef Producers have been waiting for this news for some time.

"We very much applaud the decision," said Cam Dahl, the organization's general manager.

"We still very much welcome a commercially viable entity interested in investing in Manitoba and we are open to those suggestions. But it was time for the check-off to end."

Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn defended the efforts of the MCEC. He said there are challenging realities the beef and cattle industry face these days, and the past and current board and staff of the MCEC were dedicated and came close to success.

As an example of what's going on in the industry, he said a large packing plant in Aberdeen, S.D., that just opened was forced to shut and declare bankruptcy.

Producers across North America have been reducing herds, driving down the supply of cattle and leaving lots of excess processing capacity.

In the spring of 2011, the federal government pulled back its commitment of $10 million for Keystone Processing, a former Maple Leaf Foods plant MCEC has purchased and was looking to develop into a federal facility.

MCEC invested about $5.7 million from money it collected over the years from the check-off program into the Marion Street facility.

Bruun said when the federal money came off the table, it all started to unravel. "After the decision was made by the federal government (not to provide the funding), it was like the first rock in an avalanche," he said. "Once the first rock gets rolling, other things start to fall down."

Kostyshyn said the province will now try to concentrate on supporting the industry through strong opposition to COOL (country-of-origin labelling), developing insurance-based products for producers, maintaining community pastures and investing in research that will increase the resiliency and profitability of Manitoba's livestock sector.

Those are the kinds of undertakings Dahl said the cattle producers want the province to be involved in.

He said producers are also hopeful of the expansion underway at a small beef-processing plant near Carman called Plains Processing that might lead to federal certification sometime early in the new year.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2013 B11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Sanders gives other candidates a reality check

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.
  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you worried Ebola might make its way to Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google