By Bob Lowe, president of Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
If 2020 has taught us anything, it has brought the importance of high-quality products and a safe food system to the minds of Canadians, and we have valued, more than ever, our vast and diverse ecosystems we are lucky to have outside our backdoors.
This past year has also put our food system and supply chains in the spotlight. Coincidentally, the United Nations (UN) is planning a Food Systems Summit for later in 2021, the first of its kind in 25 years. The Food Systems Summit is part of the decade of action to deliver the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The decade of action was called for by World Leaders at the 2019 UN General Assembly to accelerate efforts towards the achievement of the SDG’s, many of which directly relate to food production and security.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is excited for the opportunity to participate in this event, to ensure the global policy and public opinion coming out of it considers the Canadian context and unique benefits of raising cattle in this country. A key concern of Canadian beef producers is the global forum’s focus on reducing meat consumption, particularly red meat, for environmental and health reasons.
There are nutritional and environmental benefits to the production of beef and our goal is to ensure these facts are part of the dialogue. With that in mind, CCA is collaborating with its international partners, including Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), Livestock, Environmental and People (LEAP), Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL), International Meat Secretariat (IMS), and others, to ensure our Canadian beef story is being shared via global networks. Domestically, CCA is working with stakeholders to contribute to Canada’s official government-led dialogue. Perhaps our biggest display of leadership is that CCA was responsible for organizing our own independent dialogue, here at home.
As part of the Summit, in late April CCA led a dialogue series entitled “Grazing Livestock: Building Sustainable Protein Supply Chains,” which explored grazing livestock and the role it plays in building a sustainable protein supply chain. A solutions-oriented event for efficient, regenerative, and nutritious protein production brought together a diverse set of stakeholders for a bold discussion on what is being done now and where we need to go next.
CCA’s food policy initiatives are very much tied to the broader objective of telling the story of modern-day cattle production. Be sure to follow CCA social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for more on the outcomes of the dialogue.
This article was first published in the May 2021 edition of ABP Magazine. Stay tuned to ABP Daily to see more content from the magazine.