Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

August 20, 2013 16:13 ET

Harper Government Invests in Innovation to Enhance Competitiveness of Canada's Beef Sector

AIRDRIE, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Aug. 20, 2013) - Canadian beef producers will benefit from key investments in science and innovation with the support of the Harper Government. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, and Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose, today announced an investment in the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) to lead a research cluster of industry experts, scientists and universities to enhance the competitiveness of Canada's beef sector.

Canadian beef producers have a long and proud history of producing top-quality food that is enjoyed around the world," said Minister Ritz. "Working with industry and academia our Government is making strategic investments to help the sector meet the growing global demand for high quality, safe beef and to ensure the Canadian cattle industry remains competitive and sustainable for the future."

This investment of $14 million will bring together scientific expertise for research in key areas such as improving beef quality and food safety; animal health and welfare, including detection and prevention of animal disease; feed production and efficiency; as well as environmental sustainability. The research cluster will support what industry has identified as the highest priority research, done by the best experts in the country to enhance food safety, beef quality, feed utilization and the use of forages.

"Research drives the improved production efficiencies that enable cattle producers to raise more beef using fewer resources," said Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) President Martin Unrau. "The research objectives of the Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster under Growing Forward 2 will build on the successes of the first cluster and further improve efficiencies that enhance the overall sustainability of Canada's beef cattle industry."

This cluster builds on an earlier investment of $8.7M made through Growing Forward, for a beef research cluster focused on reducing production costs, increasing feed efficiency and decreasing the impact of animal health issues. Preliminary research results from the first cluster suggest that cattle producers can reduce their total feeding costs by 27 to 45 per cent by swath grazing corn or triticale during winter months, which is significant given that a one per cent savings in total winter feeding costs saves the sector $6 million annually.

The Canadian beef industry is a key driver for the economy, and serves as the second largest source of farm cash receipts within agriculture. In 2012, Canadian producers exported over $2 billion in live cattle and beef to global markets and brought in over $6.5 billion to the farm gate.

The cluster is supported under the AgriInnovation Program, a five-year initiative of up to $698M that is designed to serve as a catalyst for innovation by supporting research, development, commercialization, and adoption of innovative products, technologies, and services. The terms of this investment are subject to the signing of contribution and collaboration agreements.

The new Growing Forward 2 policy framework, which came into effect on April 1, 2013, will continue to drive innovation and long-term growth in Canada. In addition to a generous suite of business risk management programs, governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness, and market development.

For more information on the Growing Forward 2 agreement and the AgriInnovation Program, please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Jeff English
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz

    Tracy Sakatch
    Beef Extension Coordinator
    403-275-8558 ext. 410

    Gina Teel
    Communications Manager
    403-275-8558 ext. 406