The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is welcoming more than $12 million in funding from the Government of Canada for Canada’s Beef and Forage AgriScience Cluster under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership – AgriScience Program. Francis Drouin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, made the funding announcement on July 12 while attending the Calgary Stampede.
The AgriScience Cluster funding will bolster the Canadian beef sector’s environmental and economic sustainability and resilience as the sector adapts to changing climates and evolving marketplaces. This investment will support sector goals to meet the Government of Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets by reducing emission intensity, sequestering additional carbon and maintaining native grasslands in the care of Canadian beef producers.
“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of Canadian beef,” said Parliamentary Secretary Drouin. “Today’s announcement will help contribute to the continued success of the industry, while keeping it strong and resilient for the future. The results from these innovation, research and technology activities will transform into real results on farms.”
Alberta beef producer and BCRC Chair Craig Lehr said the results from this AgriScience Cluster will benefit farmers, ranchers, processors, retailers and consumers, as well as the broader Canadian population.
“The demand for beef is expected to grow by 10 percent in the next 10 years and, with one of the lowest environmental footprints for beef production in the world, Canadian producers are well-positioned to responsibly meet growing global beef demand,” Lehr said.
“Canada’s Beef and Forage AgriScience Cluster drives research and technology transfer that supports producer profitability with on-farm improvements in things like animal health and performance, feed production and efficient feed use so we can continue to supply high-quality, nutrient-dense protein.”
Canada’s beef industry will contribute more than $9.6 million, primarily through the research allocation of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off, bringing the total AgriScience Cluster investment to more than $21.7 million. BCRC Vice Chair Ron Stevenson, a beef producer from Ontario, said this AgriScience Cluster builds on the success of three previous Beef Science Clusters.
“The Science Clusters recognize the beef sector’s determined leadership and encourage producers in their pursuits of innovation and ingenuity,” Stevenson said. “The Cluster will help the Canadian beef industry realize its tremendous opportunity to increase production and exports while ensuring the maintenance of soil health, water quality, air quality and biodiversity.”
Twenty-three projects will be funded between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2028, under three themes: climate change and environment; economic growth and development, and sector resilience and societal challenge. The balanced research portfolio, led by respected scientists through collaborative arrangements between academia, government and industry, will work to achieve objectives with the greatest potential to advance the Canadian beef sector. Some projects will explore improved diagnostic tests and vaccines to manage cattle diseases, new forages that can thrive across Canada and food safety technologies in beef processing facilities that reduce water and energy use, while others will develop practical, science-based resources and economic decision-making tools for the industry.
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