The group noted easier transportation as one reason why Virginia could be an option
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
A group of representatives from the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA) toured Virginia farms during a visit on Aug. 23 that could lead the OCFA to import American cattle.
OCFA brings in between 215,000 and 300,000 cattle from Western Canada, but Ontario is short about 300,000 feeder cattle at any given time, according to Jim Clark, OCAF president.
And Virginia had 643,000 beef cattle as of Jan. 1, 2017, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Not only does the state have the supply to help Ontario meet its needs, but logistically it makes sense. Virginia is 1,025 km from London, Ont., where OCAF’s office is located.
Whereas Winnipeg, Man., is 2,048 km away from OCAF’s head office.
“North and south trade makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider much of our beef and beef products travel into the U.S. and vice versa, so we were looking at all of the options,” Clark told Farms.com today.
The cattle from Virginia would not replace any livestock from Western Canada, Clark says, but would help Ontario meet its demand.
“Our opportunities to buy cattle from the west won’t change a lot and we’re still going to be in those markets,” he said. “The cattle from Virginia would be a small part of what we’re doing, but (this trade relationship) also opens up another avenue for trade.”
Clark credits the Virginian representatives for their interest in doing business with Ontario.
Members from the Virginia Department of Agriculture’s staffed an exhibit on the state’s livestock sector during OCFA’s annual meeting in January. The Virginian presence at the meeting sparked conversations between the two parties.
“The State of Virginia really made a push to increase its awareness in terms of feeder cattle,” Clark said.
Farms.com has reached out to the Virginia Department of Agriculture for comment on the potential trade opportunity.
Top photo: Jim Clark/OCFA