The Canada West Foundation is excited to introduce this new brief –  the North America Brief. We’ve compiled stories and links on the United States and Mexico’s relationship with Canada’s Prairie provinces focusing on stories and topics not always “on the front page” of mainstream media. This is trial run for the brief; we welcome your feedback as we test the idea.

In this issue: Cross border supply chains and cattle feel the heat, energy and ag bump into each other, the trilateral North American relationship, and more.

Feeling the heat: North American pork, produce, and supply chains

Pork producers oppose “Proposition 12”: In March 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Proposition 12, a contentious 2018 California ballot initiative that bans the sale of any pork from farms that fail to meet state-specific housing requirements during the breeding process. Last month, both the pork industry and U.S. federal government amped up efforts to overturn the law as it violates the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution, Pig Progress reports. A SwineWeb interview with the National Pork Producers Council notes that Canadian and Mexican pork industries also back efforts to overturn Proposition 12. Western Canadian pork producers have been concerned about Prop 12 since its enactment because of the interconnectedness of U.S.- Canada pork markets. To comply with Prop 12, Canadian farmers have to register their farms with the state and products are subject to California border inspections.

Threat to food supply chains, drought, heat and Siracha: This year California broke the state record for the driest year since measurements began – and the ripple effect is huge. Since 20 per cent of Canada’s crop imports come from California, production suspensions have created gaps in the Canadian food market. While Canadian farmers look for ways to fill those gaps, Canada’s climate-restricted growing season makes a full recovery difficult. Indoor farming, greenhouses, and other innovative methods may be the solution to curb the impact of Canada’s short production season.

Heat, humidity kill at least 2,000 Kansas cattle: Beyond produce, extreme heat in the U.S. is hurting the cattle industries of North America. The Western Producer reports that in June over 2,000 cattle were killed in Kansas during a heat wave. Extreme weather is adding to the industry’s pain as tight grain supply and high feed costs prevail.

Energy and agriculture in the cross hairs

U.S. EPA ruling on canola as biofuel in September: Biomass Magazine reports that in September the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue a final rule for a pathway for canola to be used in the production of renewable diesel under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard.

Canola enjoys U.S. soybean oil’s success: Continuing with ag and energy bumping into each other, the Western Producer examines the recent alignment between oil prices for U.S. soy and Canadian canola. Strong U.S. demand for soy oil stems from a 28 per cent increase in industrial uses, including biodiesel. The more soy oil used in the biofuel sector, the more canola oil will be relied upon for feed and food. Ken Ball, with PI Financial, says while there isn’t much demand for Canadian canola oil in the U.S. biofuel market, trade will continue in the U.S. food market.

New U.S.-Mexico trade war?: In a Bloomberg “Supply Lines” story, Mexico’s former chief NAFTA negotiator Kenneth Smith Ramos says there is a brewing U.S.-Mexico fight over Mexico’s move to strengthen state-owned oil and electricity companies at the expense of the private sector. Bloomberg predicts this could lead to a trade war with agricultural products targeted for retaliatory tariffs by the Americans, putting billions of dollars of trade in the crosshairs.

U.S. corn farmers join environmental NGOs to protest ethanol carbon capture pipeline: Also on the biofuels file, three proposed CO2 pipelines to take emissions from mid-west ethanol refineries to underground storage in North Dakota and Illinois are facing protests from corn farmers according to Politico.

The trilateral relationship

Only two amigos at L.A. Summit of the Americas: In June, Mexican President Lopez Obrador refused to attend the recent Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, where both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden gathered. Coverage and analysis of the refusal was covered in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

Canada, California ink environment memorandum: In the margins of the summit, California Governor Newsom and Prime Minister Trudeau signed a memorandum of cooperation on fighting climate change, reducing pollution, cutting back on plastic waste, advancing zero-emission vehicles, protecting the environment and building climate resilience. A press release from the Governor’s office notes that this follows a similar memorandum with New Zealand.

Mexico’s Pemex makes climate-change promise: Although Mexico wasn’t at the LA summit, President López Obrador recently presented the country’s commitment to fight climate change at the World Climate Summit. Among his announcements was that state-owned oil giant Pemex will reduce methane gas emissions by 98 per cent by 2030, with the help of a $2 billion allocation, El Heraldo reports. As noted in the Latin America Advisor, there is much skepticism about Mexico’s ability to meet its targets.

Canada works to repair energy image in the U.S.: A CBC article reports that Canada’s Pathways Alliance, a coalition of oilsands producers, has an “ambitious and expensive plan” to capture and store all oil industry emissions in the next 30 years. The same article reports that Canada cannot achieve its emission reduction targets without both private and government wallets—and not just Canadian ones. Most recently, Alberta’s Premier Kenny took part in Washington D.C. meetings with oil sands executives and a roundtable event hosted by the Wilson Centre.

Cyber-ag and future-forward thinking

South Dakota wants to be an ag cyber security hub: An item from our friends at the U.S. Council of State Governments – Midwest (USCSG-Midwest) describes recent South Dakota legislation allocating US$1.25 million for South Dakota and Dakota State Universities to launch a CyberAg Partnership to make the state the centre of efforts to protect the U.S. ag industry from cyber threats.

Summer Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC) agenda: Also, from USCSG-Midwest, its annual meeting of U.S. and Saskatchewan legislators this July will focus on the future of water, transportation policy, demographic challenges including aging and long-term care, educational attainment, workforce needs and rural population declines. Additionally, the MLC’s seven binational, interstate committees will discuss agriculture, criminal justice, economic development, education, fiscal policy, health care and Midwest-Canada relations.

Other News

  • In mid-July, Environment Ministers of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada will meet at the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation Council Session. See more details here.
  • Edmonton soccer fans will have to book their flights, since Vancouver and Toronto made the cut to be Canada’s host cities for the men’s 2026 World Cup soccer tournament, according to Edmonton City News. The 48-team tournament will play in 16 North American cities. Sorry Edmonton … tough year for sports.
  • U.S. investors are looking to Mexico for nearshoring. An analysis by Hong Kong based ASEAN Briefing newsletter finds Mexico and Indonesia are winners in attracting new investment by companies looking to move production out of China.
  • KPMG Canada and U.S. have launched a metaverse collaboration hub to explore opportunities in Web 3.0 and the next generation of technology, reports.

— Taylor Blaisdell, policy analyst

The North America Brief is a compilation of stories and links related to the U.S. and Mexico’s relationship with Canada’s West. The opinions expressed in the links don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Canada West Foundation.