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Alta. paperwork filed toward national cattle levy

Regulatory amendments filed Tuesday in Alberta are the last step to restore a $1 non-refundable national beef levy to support national-level market development, promotion and research work.

The filing of these last amendments follows a memorandum of agreement signed by Alberta Beef Producers and Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association in September, with the support of provincial Ag Minister Jack Hayden and senior ag staff.

Cattle producers in the province will continue to pay the usual $3 checkoff on the marketing of each head of cattle that now will include the $1 non-refundable levy and a $2 service charge that’s refundable if a producer so wishes.

The amendments authorizing collection of the non-refundable levy are due to expire on March 31, 2013, but the levy can be extended if there is industry agreement to continue with it, ABP said.

And until then, ABP added, it has “committed to working with ACFA and our national marketing and research organizations to provide sufficient value from the investment of levy dollars that producers will support extension of the levy.”

ACFA and the Western Stock Growers Association had previously pressed for a fully refundable levy.

The non-refundable levy is expected to provide “stable and secure funding for the national and international marketing and research activities that are so vital to the sustainability and competitiveness of the cattle and beef industry in Alberta and across Canada,” ABP said in a release.

Industry dollars collected through the levy can be leveraged with outside funding, typically at about six to one, ABP said.

Furthermore, the non-refundable levy in Alberta lays the ground for Canada to begin collecting a levy on imported cattle and beef, BAP said.

A fee on imported animals is expected to provide a further $600,000 to $800,000 a year in for marketing and research programs, the group said.

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