Evidence of meeting #32 for Agriculture and Agri-Food in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was need.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ray Orb  President, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities
James Brennan  Director, Government Affairs, Ducks Unlimited Canada
Paul Thoroughgood  Regional Agrologist, Prairie Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada
Mark Brock  Chairman, Grain Farmers of Ontario
Brad Osadczuk  As an Individual
Ross White  As an Individual
Warren Henry  As an Individual
Bob Lowe  Chair, Alberta Beef Producers

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

And 1,200 calves, roughly?

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

So you have 2,400 head, and 53 bulls?

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

Brad Osadczuk

Yes, we have 53 bulls.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Do you know approximately what it would cost you per day per cow to feed through the winter?

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

Brad Osadczuk

Yes, I do. I have cattle quarantined in Marwayne, Alberta, in a custom feeding operation that would normally be home by now; they would have been home by the middle of October. For cow and calf right now, on full feed, for 400 head it's costing me $92,000 a month.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

It costs $92,000 a month.

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

Brad Osadczuk

And that's for—

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

One-third of the herd.

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

One-third of the herd is costing you how much a month?

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

Brad Osadczuk

Ninety-two thousand dollars.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

When we talk about compensation, it's about the ranchers who have not planned on keeping their calves through the winter. The calves are gone. They have feed for the cows, and in Brad's case it's 1,200 cows, but not for all these calves. They take a different type of feed as well, don't they?

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

November 22nd, 2016 / 10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

They get on grain as soon as possible. You guys are ranchers.

As far as compensation goes, do you think it would be some type of strategy? Mr. Henry, or perhaps it was Mr. White, said perhaps the government should own the cows during this situation, or maybe they could just cut the cheque early and they'd keep looking after them.

I know farmers who have gone broke while their animals were in quarantine. They're keeping that animal alive, knowing that at the end it's going to be slaughtered, but they're taking their entire savings and every nickel they have to keep them alive, because they're good stewards and they care about their cattle.

Again, on this compensation thing, certainly the government needs to move on that soon. I don't know if either Brad or the other two have any comments on that, but I think that's one thing, given the size of this problem, that we hope we can move the government to do.

10:10 a.m.

As an Individual

Brad Osadczuk

I'd like to make a comment, if you don't mind.

Our bank accounts are frozen. We get paid once a year. Our annual calf sales are what pays the bills. They are a month late selling these cattle so far. We're overdrawn by hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars for these sizes of operations, and we're paying interest on that money daily. We have to go out and buy feed for these calves. They need special feed. We call it cow feed and calf feed. You wouldn't feed your baby what you eat; it kind of works like that. We owe the bank hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then we say, by the way, we need a couple hundred thousand dollars for feed for some cows that are, in the end, going to die.

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

Thank you, Mr. Osadczuk.

We'll go to Mr. Peschisolido for six minutes.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Chair, thank you.

Mr. Osadczuk, Mr. Henry, and Mr. White, I'd like to echo the sentiments of Mr. Sorenson and Mr. Anderson in saying that this must be awful for you guys, and you've been very eloquent and very informative to us.

I'd like to begin with the actual quarantine process. Obviously, you're not happy with it. From what I'm hearing, it's not working.

I'd like to ask two questions on that. First, what changes can be made right now so you don't have to continue on with this bad situation? Second, what can be done, moving forward, so that—God forbid—if this should ever happen again, you wouldn't be forced to go through what you're going through right now?

10:15 a.m.

As an Individual

Brad Osadczuk

Right now, to make this a better situation, we need the ability to move some of these cattle that are quarantined—the calves are the ones that should be moved—to a facility, to a feedlot, that's set up to take care of these animals and take them off our hands. It's an animal welfare issue as far as water and feed on our farms go. We've basically doubled the population on a farm that normally takes care of less than half this number of animals.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Would Mr. Henry or Mr. White like to comment?

10:15 a.m.

As an Individual

Ross White

It would have to do with communication. There's no communication at the start. As I pointed out, I got verbal notification a week before on the phone. I got written notification on the 22nd. After that, they told us to gather up our cattle and get ready for testing. It was 10 days. You were supposed to phone them before you could move any cattle around. For 10 days I couldn't get hold of anybody. Nobody would answer the phone.

You can't have a quarantine and not answer anybody's questions. There needs to be something set up so that they have a site that answers all the questions, and every day they need to be posting what they're doing, where they're testing, how many they're testing, and what they're doing. There's none of that happening. You can't find out if they've tested anybody yet. We're still not tested. We don't have a date set up. We're probably one of the largest ones in the quarantine, and it's going to take them two weeks to test our herd alone. They haven't even set a date with us. This could go on for months. We could be talking about next July or August before we're out of the quarantine.

The steer calves in this quarantine should have been finished before then. There are no dates, and nothing is set up.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. White, are you dealing with anyone from CFIA in your neck of the woods, or are you dealing with someone...?

10:15 a.m.

As an Individual

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

How have you found your dealings with him or her? Have they been helpful?

10:15 a.m.

As an Individual

Ross White

I talked to the Alberta Beef Producers, and after 10 days they finally actually got them to phone me back. Otherwise, nobody was even going to talk to me.