As of Thursday, new duty free quotas are available for hormone free Canadian beef entering the European Union.
Through the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement, also known as CETA, Canada will be able to export 50,000 tonnes of beef when the quotas reach their full amount in 2022.
For beef to be eligible for the E.U. market, the cattle have to be enrolled in the Canadian Program for Certifying Freedom from Growth Enhancing Products.
John Masswohl, Director of Government and International Relations with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, says the only problem is the lack of producers certified in this program.
"To be able to ship 50,000 tonnes to Europe, you need about 500,000 animals in the program. If you do some back of the envelope math, if you figure the average farm is about one hundred cow-calf pairs, then you need about 5000 producers in the program."
Masswohl says, right now they only have about 40 producers across Canada signed up, which is concerning.
For a number of operations, their procedures are already in compliance with the program, it's just a matter of doing the extra paper work.
"There was a producer a couple months ago who had gone through the process, and he tweeted that it really wasn't that big of deal. And I think that's right. I think if you're a cow-calf producer, the requirements aren't really going to be all that onerous. If you think about it, most cow-calf producers may not be using any growth promoting technologies at that stage of production."
For the remaining 102 days of the year, the quantities available for Canada to export to Europe are 2,599 tonnes of fresh beef, and about 700 tonnes of frozen beef.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association has put together a number of great resources for producers interested in being certified through this program, which you can view on their website.