Whether our industry thrives is determined by the profitability of raising cattle and consumer demand for Canadian beef. Grain prices, which are projected to continually rise, and gradually declining red meat consumption per capita in Canada yet expanding markets overseas will be major influences in the future of the Canadian beef sector. How will government funded research and innovation help to overcome long term challenges?
The following presentation outlines Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research capacity and partnerships, describes examples of noteworthy research underway, and explains how that work can help benefit the industry.
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Beef in BC magazine and is reprinted with permission.
Telling the future by looking at the past… is like driving a car by looking in the rear-view mirror – Herb Brody… but history helps illuminate the present. Shortly after Confederation, agriculture became a nation-building tool to settle the west and prevent US expansion.
Agriculture provided freight for Canada’s railroads, fed the urban population, and supplied millers, processors and exporters. Canada’s Experimental Farms Stations Act of 1886 supported productivity-boosting research. This provided even more freight, food, and economic spin-offs. Canada’s farm population declined as technology and mechanization reduced the need for labor, and an expanding economy produced new jobs in other industries. When Canada’s first agricultural census was completed in in 1931, 31.7% of Canada’s population lived on farms. By 2006, 2.2% of Canada’s population lived on farms. Agricultural productivity continues to increase, but other economic sectors have grown even faster. Last year, Canada’s beef industry and economic spin-offs contributed $32 billion to Canada’s economy, about 1.7% of Canada’s $1.8 trillion gross domestic product.
For immediate release
June 10, 2013
Calgary, AB – The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) welcomes today’s announcement of federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 funding of $1.25 million over five years for the creation of a forage research chair at the University of Saskatchewan.
As highlighted in the 2012 National Beef Research Strategy developed by the BCRC and the Beef Value Chain Roundtable, Canadian beef industry stakeholders strongly identify the need for continued and reinvigorated forage and grassland productivity capacity and research. The new research chair position will help address this concern. Continue reading
Representatives from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Andrea Brocklebank (Research Manager) and Dr. Reynold Bergen (Science Director), recently attended a Research Stakeholder Consultation hosted by the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association in Regina. The November 22 meeting provided an opportunity to discuss and prioritize Western Canada’s beef and forage research issues. More than twenty other participants representing Alberta Beef Producers, Manitoba Beef Producers, Saskatchewan Forage Council, the Saskatchewan Forage Network, Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada also attended the meeting.
It quickly became clear that forage research was a shared concern for all of the groups in attendance, so the conversation quickly focused on the shortage of forage research expertise. The lack of forage breeders is particularly acute. Continue reading