The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has recognized former Member of Parliament and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz with the 2017 Beef Industry Innovation and Sustainability Award.
In its newsletter, the CCA listed changes the beef industry saw during Ritz’s time as Minister of Agriculture, including:
- His announcing, in 2014, over $3.8 million to fund the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence, saying the beef industry would gain a competitive advantage in showcasing top-quality meats.
- During his time as Agriculture Minister, the country saw a 70 percent increase in agri-food trade.
- His position in “encouraging talks that would lead to the beginnings of trade deals of benefit to the beef industry” (particularly the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA).
- His fighting for fair and open access for producers and exporters, and against unscientific trade restrictions on Canadian products.
- The time he spent traveling to open, restore and/or expand market access.
- His place in leading the battle against U.S. mandatory Country-of-Origin-Labeling (mCOOL).
- His “instrumental” role in securing $14 million (federal match) for a second Canadian Beef Industry Science Cluster.
- His overall “open and genuine collaboration with the beef industry”.
Ritz retired from the position of MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster at the end of September. He was first elected to federal politics in 1997, later serving on the House of Commons Agriculture Committee, and as Minister of Agriculture under Prime Minister Stephen Harper (from 2007 to 2015).
The Beef industry Innovation and Sustainability Award publicly recognizes individuals, stakeholders and value chain members for their commitment to sustainability and competitiveness in the Canadian Beef Industry.
Past recipients include Jim Clark and the Ontario Cattle Feeders Associations for the Ontario Corn Fed Beef program (2016), and Colin Gill, posthumously, for his scientific achievement and dedication to public health (2015).
Related: Ontario Corn Fed Beef Program Wins National Award