Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced a $1 million investment in genomic technologies for the cattle sector today.
Canada’s cattle and
beef sector contributes
upward of $33 billion
to the economy.
“Canada’s beef sector contributes significantly to the country’s economy,” said Minister MacAulay. “Investments in genomic testing offer producers a science-based approach to improve the selection of beef breeds for improved productivity and quality.”
The funding will support the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) as it endeavours to increase the adoption of genomic technologies. Through a partnership with Livestock Gentec, the CBBC will demonstrate the value of genotyping beef cattle.
“One of the main objectives of the project was to encourage genotyping and some of the barriers to that was the cost,” said John Crowley, research scientist with Livestock Gentec and director of scientific and industry advancement with the CBBC. “People weren’t sure whether they wanted to do a $50 or $80 test on their animals.”
Through the project, producers of various breeds of cattle will be eligible for matched funding to support genomic testing, Crowley told us. In other words, for every $1 the producer or breed association spends, $1 worth of the test is covered through the project.
In addition to offering greater affordability to producers, the project will also address the needs of various breeds depending on their genomic status — either developing reference populations or providing genomically-enhanced expected progeny differences (EPDs) to young animals.
“Canada produces some of the best genetics in the world and this is recognized around the globe,” said CBBC president David Bolduc. “It is important that we continue to invest in research in emerging technologies such as genomics so we can maintain this pole position and to give producers here in Canada tools with which they can accurately improve the efficiencies of their production. We are very grateful for this support from AAFC and look forward to delivering some exciting results.”
The investment is being made through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year, $50.3 million federal program.