CBEF approves merger with BIC, checkoff agency

Members of the Canada Beef Export Federation have voted unanimously to consolidate their operations with the Beef Information Centre and the national beef checkoff agency.

CBEF members approved the merger at a special meeting Friday in Calgary, the organization said in a release Tuesday.

The consolidation with the BIC and Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (National Check-off Agency) will create a “single, independent national beef cattle marketing, promotion and research agency,” CBEF said.

CBEF, which runs beef export development offices in Mexico, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, first received the merger proposal at a meeting in Toronto in February.

At that time, CBEF said Tuesday, it had sought “clarity” on the proposed governance model for the new body, so the federation’s membership “voted to adjourn the meeting to allow for further elaboration on the governance structure.”

CBEF members said Tuesday that their move at that time was meant to give the group time “to create a final deal that would be completely acceptable to both funders and industry.”

The National Check Off Agency then “reworked” the governance model to include what CBEF calls “an elected and accountable leadership, with all legitimate cattle producer organizations earning the right to nominate candidates to the new board.”

A “comprehensive mix” of beef and veal processors and distributors will also be able to nominate candidates to the new organization’s board, CBEF said.

“The good news is that the governance model retains the concept that CBEF pioneered of a partnership between industry and funders to develop and deliver Canada’s beef promotion and market development activities,” CBEF chairman Gib Drury said in the federation’s release Tuesday.

“Most lucrative”

All CBEF employees will be offered positions in the new organization and all the federation’s current programs will be maintained “for the immediate future,” he added.

Drury hailed the approval and added “we can now all get back to our respective roles in promoting our fine Canadian beef and veal products and developing the most lucrative markets for them.”

The merger plan stems from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s review last summer of its marketing arms’ operations. The CCA struck a Canada Beef Working Group which in January this year recommended the three organizations be consolidated into one, under the name “Canada Beef.”

The working group’s recommendations then went to the boards of the CCA, BIC, CBEF and the National Check-off Agency for each to consider, then to special general meetings of CCA and CBEF members for approval.

As the major funders of marketing and promotion work, cattle producers “have been requesting a new organizational structure that would be more efficient and nimble,” working group co-chair Brad Wildeman said in January.

“Combining the three entities will reduce costs through simplified funding administration and eliminate duplication.”

An estimated additional $1.3 million per year would then be available to maintain marketing programs and services, Wildeman said.

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