As many of you know, I spend time in Canada working with the agricultural industry through RBC Royal Bank.

This past week I spoke at the 75th Cattleman’s Convention in Kamloops, British Columbia. To say the least, mad cow disease was at the top of the agenda. The hotel was crawling with press and they wondered where the U.S. academic scientist was. They didn’t realize I was an economist, not an animal scientist, thank goodness.

The Story

Part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found one cow that had been condemned and was not suitable for human consumption. No other cows from the herd, which was Northwest of Edmonton, Alberta, had been sent to slaughter.

In 2003, 211 calves from this farm were sold to five feedlots. The calves have inspection tags, so they are in the process of being traced. There were no sales from the farm in 2002. At this time, a total of 13 herds in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan have been quarantined that may have linkages.

This issue is important to Canada but also to U.S. producers. Cattle exports to the U.S. exceeded 3.5 billion in 2002. As many of you know in the Midwest, the Canadians purchase grain from producers to finish cattle in the Prairie Provinces.

Bottom Line

One year ago, I discussed the need for a North American system of traceability with the Ministry of Agriculture in Canada. Our Secretary of Agriculture must work closely with the Canadians and Mexicans for such a system. It is only a matter of time before this could occur in the U.S.

Side Note

A drive through interior British Columbia and Washington State is a must. There’s a picture postcard every mile.

Movie Star

On this trip I walked by Tom Selleck, "Magnum," in Cody, WY. He looks older and shorter than on camera, but maybe we are all aging.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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