Canadian Beef Sector Urges Resolution on Cargill Labour Dispute

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Source: Canadian Cattle Association

On behalf of Canada’s 60,000 beef producers including 19,000 beef producers in Ontario, the Canadian Cattle Association (CCA), National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) and Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) strongly encourage the Cargill Dunlop facility in Guelph and members of UFCW Local 175 to come to an expedited labour resolution. The beef sector in Canada relies on a resilient processing industry across the country and the impacts of this strike are significantly impacting beef producers in eastern Canada.

“Canadian beef producers rely on a strong and stable supply chain to get beef to Canadians and our global customers as efficiently as possible. While we fully respect and support the collective bargaining process, we cannot turn a blind eye on the effect this stalemate is having on our beef industry,” commented Nathan Phinney, President of CCA. “Both sides are urged to expedite their negotiations to find a solution as soon as possible.”

Having a processing facility in Guelph is key for eastern Canadian beef producers and supports a number of regional brands and programs. To date, there has been no indication of upcoming talks or negotiations that would see an end to the strike that began on May 27, 2024.

“The challenges that come with the loss of eastern Canada’s largest beef processor cannot be understated,” says Craig McLaughlin, BFO President. “Ontario is the second largest cattle feeding province in the country, and our members rely on the important work of our processing partners and their role in getting beef on the plates of consumers here in Ontario and around the world. With each passing day, the consequences of the Cargill Dunlop labour strike continue to mount for our feedlot sector, beef supply chain partners, and our farmers’ ability to cash flow their operations.  BFO urges both sides to work toward an immediate resolution of this dispute.”

Ontario beef farmers have been mitigating the impact of supply chain challenges by sourcing alternative facilities in Canada and the U.S. to process their cattle or keeping animals on farm for a longer period of time. Both options present unique challenges and additional costs. The Canadian beef sector has growing concerns about the sustainability of these efforts and effects on the industry as the strike enters its fifth week.

“NCFA urges both parties to negotiate a swift resolution,” said NCFA Board Chair Will Lowe. “Cargill Guelph is the major plant supporting Canada’s largest fed-cattle region in the country after Alberta. This disruption is difficult for beef producers who are already facing multiple other challenges.”

Cargill Guelph processes approximately 75 per cent of the cattle in Ontario and plays a significant role in the Ontario beef supply chain. The Cargill Guelph Dunlop facility fills 67 per cent of the federally inspected processing capacity in eastern Canada

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