July 26, 2000
MONCTON (CNB)--- An initiative to help New Brunswick beef producers remain competitive with producers of neighbouring provinces was launched today by Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Paul Robichaud.
The New Brunswick Beef Quality Marketing Initiative is intended to help beef producers adapt to the quality specifications of the Atlantic Tender Beef Classic (ATBC), a branded beef program created through an alliance of Maritime beef producers, a local meat processor and Co-op Atlantic.
"This initiative will place New Brunswick beef feedlots in a more equitable position with competitors from other provinces," Robichaud said. "It will also help our producers attain higher quality carcass standards that are essential to the further growth and development of a competitive New Brunswick beef cattle market."
Under the terms of the initiative, New Brunswick beef cattle producers who are enrolled in the ATBC program will receive a premium of $0.03 per pound of carcass weight on each carcass meeting the program specifications.
The ATBC program requires that cattle must be grown and sourced in the Maritimes, and that they meet a set of carcass specifications. Demand for the quality beef products has exceeded all expectations so much so that additional cattle are needed to maintain adequate supply. Currently, the most serious challenge is the shortage of available feeder calves to fill New Brunswick feedlots.
It is estimated that one third of feeder calves are being exported to Ontario and Quebec and are not available under the ATBC program. Also, less than half of New Brunswick-produced feeder cattle are retained for finishing to market weight in the province.
"We want to encourage the retention of feeder cattle in the province and the production of high quality finished beef by New Brunswick feedlots," the minister said. "By helping the New Brunswick beef cattle industry respond to the phenomenal demand for quality meat, we ensure value-added jobs stay in the province."
The beef cattle industry generates a large economic impact in New Brunswick, contributing more than $90 million a year to the provincial economy and creating an estimated 1,200 jobs in addition to those directly involved in beef production.
The New Brunswick Beef Quality Marketing Initiative is funded under the Total Development Fund managed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture. The initiative will begin Aug. 1, 2000 and run until March 31, 2001.
MEDIA CONTACT: Alain Bryar, communications, Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218.