Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :
Mr. Speaker, I wish to announce that negotiations have been completed for a contract to supply the United Kingdom with a minimum quantity of one hundred million pounds of beef during the two-year period 1944 and 1945, and in addition to this minimum quantity all further surpluses of beef as they become available. The negotiation of this contract has the effect of assuring floor prices for beef on a revised scale.
In the case of special "Red Brand" beef and commercial beef of "Blue Brand" quality, the meat board will purchase for export to the United Kingdom an agreed quantity at prices 25 cents below their respective ceilings. If further surplus quantities of "Red" and "Blue" brand beef are offered to the meat
board, the board will purchase all such additional quantities at prices 50 cents below the ceiling.
Other qualities of beef will be purchased on the following basis: Choice and good quality cows, 75 cents below the ceiling; commercial quality not qualifying for "Blue" brand, $1.25 below the ceiling.
Accumulations of beef of lower qualities will be avoided by inclusion in the exports of substantial quantities of boneless manufacturing beef.
The above prices constitute in effect floor prices since the meat board will be prepared to buy all quantities offered to it.
If present trends of marketings continue and if high quality cattle come to market in an orderly manner, it is expected that the minimum quantities provided for in the United Kingdom contract will maintain the prices of "Red" and "Blue" brand beef at a point not lower than 25 cents below the ceiling. In any case, however, no matter how heavy or irregular the marketings may be, the producers of "Red" and "Blue" brand beef will have the complete assurance of the protection of floor prices at not less than 50 cents below the ceiling.
These new floor price arrangements will come into effect on August 21, 1944, and will replace the variable and graduated floors which have been in effect during the 1943-44 season. Under last year's arrangements, the floor prices ranged from $2.25 below the ceiling during the late summer and autumn months to 25 cents below the ceiling in the late spring and early summer months. The new floor prices will remain level throughout the year.