Function & Funding

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is Canada’s national industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. The BCRC’s mandate is to determine research and development priorities for the Canadian beef cattle industry and to administer Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds allocated to research.

Producer-Led & Canada-Wide

Directed by a committee of beef producers from across the country, the BCRC plays an important role in identifying the industry’s research and technology transfer priorities influencing public sector investment in beef, cattle and forage research. The BCRC funds leading-edge research and extension activities to advance the competitiveness and sustainability of Canada’s beef cattle industry. 

The BCRC operates as a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and was established by the CCA in 1998. 

Value from Every Research Dollar

The BCRC is funded through a portion of the mandatory, non-refundable, producer-paid Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off (also referred to as the ”national check-off”) that is collected on cattle sales throughout Canada. 

An independent study evaluating economic benefits from the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off shows that the producer-funded research activities deliver an extremely high return on investment. The most recent benefit-cost ratio study showed Canadian cattle producers earned $34.50 with every national check-off dollar invested in research. This was mainly attributed to research historically being underfunded and the fact that applied research tools are directly available to producers. Learn more about the value of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off.

The returns from beef research funding reach beyond the beef cattle industry. Investments in research and technology transfer allows the Canadian beef industry to play a leading role in responsibly meeting global food production needs. A study of the indirect and induced impacts of the beef sector reflects a bigger picture of how the industry is a sustainable driver of Canada’s economy, contributing $21.8 billion to Canada’s GDP and generating approximately 1.3 million jobs across related sectors of the economy.

The BCRC leverages other industry and government funding including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Sustainable Beef and Forage Science Cluster. The BCRC developed the first Cluster under Growing Forward in 2009 to focus beef research funds toward core research priorities with the greatest benefit to the Canadian beef cattle sector. 

These industry-defined research priority areas include: 

  • Feed Efficiency & Utilization
  • Forage & Grassland Productivity 
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Animal Health, Welfare & Antimicrobial Resistance 
  • Beef Quality 
  • Food Safety 
  • Technology Transfer

The first Cluster proved to be a very successful step towards improving coordination of beef research funding in Canada while generating meaningful, applicable results. The second Cluster (2013 – 2018, under Growing Forward 2) built on the success of the first. 

 The Sustainable Beef and Forage Science Cluster (2018 – March 31, 2023) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership AgriScience Program, continues to build upon Cluster successes. It aims to grow beef exports and supply growing global beef demand by supporting research and technology transfer that advances Canadian beef and forage production while enhancing industry competitiveness and the public’s trust in responsible production. Joint industry and government commitments to the third Cluster totalled $21 million, including $14 million in funding from AAFC, $5 million in industry funding through the research allocation of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off, and $1.5 million in in-kind contributions from industry in the form of cattle, equipment, and materials. Funding has been directed to 26 studies to be completed by March 31, 2023.

Leader in Technology Transfer

The BCRC plays a leading role in increasing industry uptake of relevant technologies through its knowledge dissemination and technology transfer strategies. This information sharing across a broad audience of producers, researchers, funders, government and other industry organizations supports communication and extension networks across the country.

The BCRC informs producers and other industry stakeholders on the latest in Canadian beef cattle research, empowering them to make informed decisions about production practices. This is done through interactive tools and calculators, videos, fact sheets, industry magazine articles, webinars, blog posts, infographics and more that can be found at BeefResearch.ca, Facebook and Twitter.  

These extension resources are made possible by the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off. We welcome and encourage the distribution of BCRC content, with attribution to the Beef Cattle Research Council.

Collaborative Strategies

 As a leader in the development of the Five-Year Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy, the BCRC facilitates and encourages collaboration and coordination among researchers, extension specialists, other funding agencies and industry to maximize the benefits obtained from all investments in beef research. 

The Strategy is a framework for coordinating beef research, priorities, funding and technology transfer efforts. The Strategy identifies key research and extension priorities to maximize investments and focus on outcomes that support the industry’s 10-year goals in the areas of:

  • greenhouse gas and carbon sequestration,
  • animal health and welfare, 
  • land use and biodiversity,
  • water,
  • beef quality and food safety, 
  • human health and safety and 
  • technology.

BCRC’s Guiding Principles

The beef industry has defined several core principles that the BCRC uses to guide its research and extension activities: 

  1. Increase producer profitability by increasing productivity or decreasing costs of production and risks.
  2. Develop, enhance and encourage adoption of beneficial practices and innovations that maximize the environmental benefits industry provides and continue to reduce our environmental footprint, while supporting industry competitiveness.
  3. Support continuous improvements in Canadian beef demand through advancements in the quality and safety of Canadian beef.
  4. Generate science to inform decision makers, policy and best management practices and to support consumer confidence and public trust.
  5. Develop, enhance and encourage adoption of leading-edge technologies that support industry competitiveness, automation and sustainability.
  6. Ensure the maintenance and rejuvenation of critical research capacity and infrastructure that facilitate proactive inquiry and innovation to support industry advancement.

Verified Beef Production Plus

In addition to sponsoring research and technology development in support of the Canadian beef industry, the BCRC funds and oversees the Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program. This voluntary, market-oriented, producer-managed program provides training and auditing for animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship, along with on-farm food safety practices throughout the Canadian beef value chain. Visit the VBP+ website for more information on this valuable industry initiative.