Ralph Eyre

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Lambton Director  - Ontario Cattlemen's Association

Lambton County Director  - Ontario Cattlemen's Association

Provincial Director  - Ontario Cattlemen's Association

Bluewater Beef

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Ralph Eyre

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"Here in Lambton County most producers are just holding off on shipping cattle right now, " said Ralph Eyre, a producer who is also Lambton director of the Ontario Cattlemen's Association. That's a hardship for producers who usually count on the income from daily or weekly sales of cattle. "I know of a couple talking about shipping cattle sometime soon and they're just going to take whatever the market will bear," Eyre said."They've got bills to pay." While a price drop of 10 to 20 cents a pound doesn't sound like much, it can mean a producer ends up earning $100 to $250 less per steer, he said. Any rendering charge is on top of that loss."The rendering companies, some of them have shut down," Eyre said."So, therefore, the slaughterhouses are having to pay more to get rid of the rendering, or store it." All that is bad news for cattle producers dealing with profit margins of between $50 and $100 a head, in a good year, according to Eyre. So, the speedy arrival of a national compensation package is very important, Eyre said. Eyre said Lambton cattle producers tend to be a little more optimistic but he added, "I'm sure some of us would call it a disaster, and some of us would call it just a hard blow to the stomach." It can certainly be a disaster for operations where raising cattle is the only source of income, Eyre said. Local producers, he said, are growing more frustrated as the crisis continues weeks beyond a single animal being found with BSE in western Canada. "Canada has done all they can do and they've gone above and beyond in their measures to investigate the problem," Eyre said. "Lets get the borders open and business back to normal." Overall, Lambton producers sell beef worth $53 million a year. Even when the U.S. does eventually reopen to Canadian beef, it will take time to rebuild the lost business and consumer confidence, Eyre said.

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"It's encouraging to hear," said Ralph Eyre, Lambton County director for the Ontario Cattlemen's Association."But we realize there is still quite a bit of work to be done to get live cattle moving across the border." A lot of the protocols still aren't in place, he said, adding the 400 or so Lambton County beef producers will get a lot more excited on March 8. As was the case when the U.S. lifted the ban on boxed beef, it will take a while before local beef begins getting shipped into the U.S., Eyre said.

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