The Ontario Research Centres at Elora is set to begin construction on an $18 million hog research facility, with $3.6 million from Ontario Pork and $14.4 million from the Government of Ontario

The new facility will build capacity and expertise at the centre to support research to drive innovation in the swine sector and contribute to the sector’s competitiveness and productivity, the province says.

Beef research will also expand at the centre, with funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. A $1.3 million grant for beef nutrition research will be used to purchase 96 Insentec feeders, a digitized precision feeding system that tracks and adjusts the nutrition for each individual cow as needed.

Also included in the latest provincial budget is a three-year Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund. Beginning this year, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has committed up to $25 million over three years to support projects that will expand processing capacity and food security.

The fund will support projects that help with the shortage of processing capacity, including a rural/Northern stream with a focus on areas that are underserved or experiencing lower economic growth compared with the rest of the province, says the Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF), which supports the announcement.

“Ontario Sheep Farmers is very encouraged by the announcement of provincial funding support for Ontario’s livestock processing sector,” says John Hemsted, chair of OSF. “We have been actively engaged in discussions with the ministry about the critical need for increased processing capacity in Ontario. We know our sheep sector wants to grow and this new support will help make that happen.”

The funding – designed to help Ontario recover from the pandemic by creating jobs and opportunities – is specifically slated to address ongoing processing capacity issues in the province and address the delays many livestock producers have been experiencing.

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