(Rural Roots Canada) – It was a hard year for the cattle industry, but there were some successes.

Bob Lowe, President of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, says COVID-19 presented several issues for cattle producers, particularly in the meat processing sector.

Lowe says farmers tip their hats to those working in the food processing facilities, ensuring that there is food on our plates.

“Processing capacity was and continues to be the beef industry’s key challenge as cattle producers when we have processing challenges and significant as we have had in western Canada and currently have in eastern Canada,” Lowe said.

Markets have dropped as a result and Lowe says there have been few options of where to send cattle.

This has forced producers to continue to carry the significant costs of feeding animals for a much longer time than anticipated.

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Lowe says there were some wins for the beef industry.

“Canadians support for beef farmers and beef was shown through an increase in beef demand, which was just under seven percent this year.”

He is quick to point out this year wasn’t only about COVID.

“We have to celebrate some achievements and also look forward and be prepared for what is to come next.”

Lowe says they welcome the new North American Free Trade Agreement that came into effect this year.

“We also saw a great achievement on both sustainability and sustainability with just under nine million pounds of certified sustainable beef being sold since the program came into effect not long ago.”

He adds they plan on being a big part of Canada’s economic recovery post-COVID.

“We are going to press to obtain further market access and to make sure that we have labour at home to be able to optimize our contribution to recovering Canada’s economy.”

He believes agriculture can be a driver of economic consistency and recovery for Canada.

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Lowe pointed out the recent significant changes that were tabled for Canada’s business risk management programs that can help farmers and ranchers manage through difficult times.

He says they need these programs to work for farmers and ranchers.

“We strongly encourage all provincial and federal governments to bring them forward to ensure we have coverage in 2020 when it is needed most.”