Federal money earmarked to improve genetic services for sheep and goat industries


The Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement (CCSI) will use $495,000 in federal funding to work with industry partners to develop a Canada-wide integrated genetic services system to help sheep and goat farmers improve productivity and increase supply.

Working with the Canadian Sheep Breeders Association, Ontario Sheep Farmers, the Canadian Goat Society, Canadian Livestock Records Corporation, Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, Centre d’expertise en production ovine du Québec, AgSights, and the Canadian Meat Goat Association, CCSI will develop a new service system for livestock genomics that can improve breeding and provide a more sustainable supply of high quality products along the sheep and goat value chains.

The integrated system will include services such as phenotype measurements on traits such as growth rate and milk yield and provide training for farmers to adopt new technologies, genetic evaluation, and research and development.

“Canada’s sheep and goat industries offer many growth opportunities for farmers across several agricultural sectors, including meat, dairy, and fibre. Increasing industry collaboration in areas such as genetic services will benefit farmers with improved breeding stock to develop a more adaptable, competitive industry,” says Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in announcing the funding.

The first objectives of the project is to enhance genetic improvement services to the industry, including improvements to Genovis, the current genetic improvement system for sheep; modernizing the system for animal registration of sheep and goats; increasing the quality and quantity of information available to dairy goat breeders; developing genetic evaluations for meat goats; facilitating the exchange of data between service organizations and with on-farm software companies that support genetic improvement; and preparing for an expanded use of genomics as a selection tool.

“Better integration of services will enhance these organizations’ abilities to deliver on their respective breed improvement mandates, while the breeders and commercial producers will benefit from improved genetics. This will also lead to a more sustainable supply of high quality inputs for other stakeholders in the sheep and goat product value chains,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement.

The funding is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), a $50.3 million, five-year investment to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.

The CCSI is a national not-for-profit corporation that provides leadership, innovation, and coordination in national genetic evaluations, database establishment and maintenance, program standards, and research and development for industries such as pork, goats and sheep.

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