GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2013) - The Harper Government is helping dairy farmers improve their herd management. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today an investment for the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) to develop software that will evaluate disease-resistant traits in livestock.
"Our Government is proud to support innovative projects like this one that strengthen the dairy industry in Canada," said Minister Ritz. "This investment will help farmers increase their competitiveness through better management of their herds and improved animal health on their farms."
CDN provides genetic evaluation services to dairy farms across the country. Data is collected on cattle through a national genetic evaluation system, which provides information to farmers on over 60 traits, such as the quality of milk produced and occurrences of disease in their herds. This investment of up to $54,000 will be used to develop a specialized software program to track mastitis in dairy cattle-a mammary gland infection that results in poor milk quality and is costly to the sector.
Farms across Canada will report each incidence of mastitis, enabling CDN to eventually determine disease-resistant traits in cattle, allowing farmers to better select animals for breeding. This will result in better milk quality, reduced use of antibiotics and improved animal welfare, ultimately helping to boost the bottom line of dairy farmers.
"This initiative will add to the comprehensive portfolio of genetic and genomic evaluation services offered by CDN to help Canadian producers have more profitable dairy farms and places Canada amongst the first countries in the world with a national system to improve disease resistance," added CDN General Manager, Brian Van Doormaal.
This project is supported through the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP), a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011. AIP is part of the Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting-edge science and technology. AIP boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies and processes for the agricultural sector.
In September 2012, federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Agriculture reached agreement on the five-year Growing Forward 2 (GF2) policy framework. The new agreement will continue to drive innovation and long-term economic 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 about AIP and other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programs, please visit www.agr.gc.ca. To learn more about GF2, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2.