Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz meets with cattle producers during P.E.I. visit

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Ivan Johnson, left, and Dave Solverson, right, talk to federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz at the Rodd Royalty in Charlottetown.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is in P.E.I. this week, meeting with the beef industry and promoting unfettered trade with the United States.

Ritz attended the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association semi-annual meeting Wednesday, which was held at the Rodd Royalty in Charlottetown, where he underscored the importance of ending what he termed the discrimination against Canadian cattle and hogs under mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

Ritz said there is a growing recognition that COOL hurts farmers and industry on both sides of the border.

“Our government is continuously working to support a strong and vibrant Canadian beef sector through our great collaboration with provinces and industry,” said Ritz. “Our proven track record shows that working together will ensure the global pathways for trade are free, fair and rooted in sound science.”

P.E.I. MP and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea joined Ritz at the meeting.

“Market by market, our government is opening and reopening sales opportunities for Canada’s high-quality, sustainably sourced beef,” Shea said. “By doing so, we are giving Canada’s innovative and productive farm and processing industries a competitive advantage in capturing vital new growth in the global marketplace.”

Canada is the eighth-largest beef exporting country in the world with annual exports of $1.3 billion in 2013. It is the largest sector of the Canadian food manufacturing industry.

In 2013, $45.6 billion in agriculture was traded bilaterally between Canada and the U.S., $3.3 billion of which was cattle and beef.

Geographic location: P.E.I., United States, Canada Canadian Cattlemen Charlottetown

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