$15.5 million beef research centre to be built at Elora, Ont.

(l-r) - Daniel Atlin, Vice President External, University of Guelph; Michael Chong, MP Wellington-Halton Hills; Minister Lawrence MacAulay; Minister Jeff Leal; Joe HIll, BFO Vice President; Malcolm Campbell, Vice President of Research, University of Guelph; Ted Arnott, MPP Wellington-Halton Hills (courtesy Beef Farmers of Ontario)

Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal, his federal counterpart Lawrence MacAulay and representatives from the University of Guelph and Beef Farmers of Ontario broke ground on Thursday for a $15.5 million Livestock Research and Innovation Centre for beef to be built at the Elora Research Station.

The province has committed $12.4 million to the project, with $3.1 million coming from the federal government and Beef Farmers of Ontario, according to the university.

“Research and innovation are key contributors to helping our agri-food industry continue to grow and thrive – that’s why our government is proud to be partnering with the University of Guelph to create this world-class research hub. This innovative facility will help grow the beef sector and ultimately provide our farmers with the tools they need to succeed,” said Leal.

The new beef centre, which will complement the $25 million dairy research centre that opened in Elora in 2015, will replace the current beef facilities at Elora that were built in 1969. It’s joint partnership between the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, the Beef Farmers of Ontario and the University of Guelph, which will operate it together with Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

MacAulay announced $2 million in federal funding for future genetics and feed efficiency research.

“The federal government is proud to partner with the Province of Ontario to support research at a state-of-the-art beef research centre serving all of eastern Canada,” he noted.

“The Elora Beef Cattle Research Center is the only remaining facility in eastern Canada that has the capacity to conduct beef production research on a meaningful and integrated scale,” noted BFO vice president Joe Hill. “A new facility will support and attract researchers who are interested in advancing livestock research in various areas from forage production to genetics, cattle production and feeding, food safety and beef quality.”

It’s expected the beef facility will be open in about 18 months.

“This new facility will expand and elevate our hub for world-class bovine research in Ontario,” said Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president of research during the ceremony on Thursday. “The state-of-the-art centre will be equipped with the latest, leading-edge technologies, and powered by University of Guelph’s research excellence in agri-food. It is an exceptional example of the potency of university-government-industry collaboration.”

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