2013- hungry cows
(file photo)

The Canadian beef industry has finally received regulatory authority to implement an import levy on cattle and beef coming into the country.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced an amendment to the Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Levies Order on Tuesday that will give Canada Beef Incorporated the right to collect the same $1 per head checkoff on imports as it currently collects on domestic production.

"The industry, especially out of western Canada, has been pretty adamant that they wanted this import levy," says Canada Beef chair Chuck MacLean.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association has been pushing for an import levy since around 1999, when the national checkoff program was developed. The US has had a levy on Canadian cattle since 1985.

MacLean says they hope to have the deduction in place this fall.

"We're looking to make sure that everybody that's responsible for collecting the levy, which would be the importers, has an opportunity to get their bookkeeping, their computers and everything they need to know in line. In my own personal opinion, we would like to start it in September or October," he explains.

It's expected the levy will bring in between $600,000 and $800,000 annually.