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BCRC Activities and Progress in 2012

Season’s greetings from the staff and council members of the Beef Cattle Research Council. Wishing you and your herd a joyful, healthy, and prosperous holiday season.

This year has been very busy and productive for the BCRC. This annual report highlights our core activities in 2012. To download a printer-friendly PDF version, click here: /files/pdf/2012_bcrc_annual_report.pdf

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is Canada’s industry-led funding agency for beef research. Its mandate is to determine research and development priorities for the Canadian beef cattle industry and to administer National Check-off funds allocated to research. The BCRC is led by a committee of beef producers who proportionally represent each province’s research allocation of the National Check-off.  It operates as a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

The BCRC plays a key role in leveraging additional revenue for beef cattle research using industry contributions made through National Check-off to secure dollars from other, primarily government, funding organizations.  Recognizing this, the Council works to ensure the highest return on investment possible for industry contributions to research through ongoing consultation with other provincial and national funding organizations to coordinate national beef research priorities and improve collaborative efforts around the research evaluation and selection process.

On average nationally, the BCRC receives approximately 15% of the National Check-off.  Every National Check-off dollar directed to the BCRC for research was matched by six Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) dollars through the current Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster.

The BCRC also oversees and supports the national Verified Beef ProductionTM (VBP) program. This provides a practical means for efficient administration and access to development and implementation resources for the program. It also provides an appropriate forum for policy development to then be taken forward to the CCA Board.

Value of Research

Investments in beef research have several benefits, including an improved ability to meet increasing global food demand, which is expected to double by 2050. Lagging productivity in combination with increased competition for land and water challenges the industry’s ability to maintain positive margins and fulfill increased demand for food in a sustainable manner. Future growth in Canadian beef production depends in large part on investments in research.

For Canadian beef cattle producers, every check-off dollar invested in national research programs delivers an average return of $46 in producer benefits. Producers benefit from advancements in production competitiveness related to animal health and welfare, feed grains, feed efficiency and forage and grassland productivity. They also benefit from the maintenance or improvements in consumer confidence and beef demand through research related to food safety and beef quality.

Advancements in Canada’s cattle industry also positively impact the nation’s economy. In 2012, the beef sector contributed $33 billion to Canada’s GDP through direct and indirect sales of goods and services. The beef sector generates 228,811 jobs in Canada with every job in the sector yielding another 3.56 jobs elsewhere in the economy. In addition, for every $1 of income received by beef industry workers and farm owners, another $2.08 is created elsewhere. Consequently, advancements in research that positively contribute to the growth and sustainability of the Canadian beef industry are beneficial to the broader economy.

Efforts continue to focus on integrating economic analyses as an integral part of BCRC research. Canfax Research Services is working with BCRC to assess the economic returns to beef research in Canada, develop BCRC research priorities, track the economic benefit of BCRC funded research over the long term, and inform areas in which greater technology transfer is needed.

Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster

The Science Cluster is a partnership between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) to ensure that proactive and strategic investments in applied research are allocated to programs that have the greatest potential to move the Canadian beef cattle sector forward. The partnership is focused on enhanced coordination and collaboration, and alignment of research activities with industry priorities to increase productivity, reduce costs, advance sustainability, and increase demand for Canadian beef.

The BCRC developed the Cluster under Growing Forward in 2009. Joint industry and government funding commitments through the Cluster totaled $11.25 million directed to 32 research programs. Information on each of these projects is available under the research section of

The first Cluster (April 1, 2009 – March 31, 2013) has proven to be a very successful step towards improving coordination of beef research funding in Canada while generating meaningful, applicable results. The next Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster (April 1, 2013 – March 31, 2018) under Growing Forward II will build on the success of the first.

The establishments of proposed research programs under the second Cluster was an extensive process that began in early 2012.  Proposed investments focus on a portfolio of research that contributes to the industry’s ability to meet the growing global demand for high quality, safe beef through responsible and profitable production practices that support a sustainable future for the Canadian beef cattle industry. AAFC has not yet confirmed a leverage ratio in order to determine a total budget or number of research programs able to be funded in the second Cluster.

Like the first Cluster, investments in the second Cluster will lead to several benefits:

  • Maintenance or improvements in production competitiveness
  • Support for science-based policy, regulation and trade
  • Provide public education and advocacy information
  • Support of the Canadian Beef Advantage
  • Maintenance of professional capacity to ensure that research facilities with experienced professionals are in place to respond to emerging or critical issues in an expedient manner
  • Encouragement for greater uptake of research knowledge and technologies by industry

The National Beef Research Strategy

The BCRC and national Beef Value Chain Roundtable recognize that continued focus needs to be placed on aligning other provincial and national industry and government funders to develop a single national research strategy with defined research outcomes.  The National Beef Research Strategy, released in June 2012, is available online. The Strategy is intended to:

  • Ensure all of industry’s research priorities are adequately addressed
  • Strengthen future funding requests from industry to federal and provincial governments
  • Maximize the value of all investments in research within the Canadian beef cattle industry

The development of the national strategy involved the participation of key stakeholders and major beef research funders across Canada. It gained the commitment of the major funders to coordinate funding to achieve short, medium, and long-term outcomes in alignment with industry’s priorities. The desired research outcomes proposed under the second Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster are directly aligned with those established under the National Beef Research Strategy.

Extension and Technology Transfer

The BCRC continues to advance the implementation of its Knowledge Dissemination and Technology Transfer Strategy, which was developed and initiated during the first Science Cluster, and is focused on converting applied research into effective tools that drive industry competitiveness. A Beef Extension Coordinator was hired in January 2012.

To date, much of the foundational work needed to deliver research information to industry has been developed, including a new extension website,, which provides access to general information on research topics, fact sheets on in-progress and completed projects, and blog articles that help producers make informed decisions on implementing innovation into their production practices. Social media tools are also utilized, and a video series called Beef Research School is currently being developed in partnership with  Visit to view the videos.

During the second Cluster, the BCRC will continue to deliver regular communication to industry and expand their efforts through new mediums, such as webinars, videos and cost of production decision tools. Feedback will be gathered to inform enhancements to the website’s content and functionality, and a greater emphasis will be placed on promoting and enabling the engagement of researchers with industry, such as the involvement of young researchers in an industry-led mentorship program.

For More Information

To learn more about the BCRC, including how it’s funded through the National Check-off and Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster, more information on the National Beef Research Strategy, and core areas of research focus under the second Science Cluster, visit our website at

To stay up to date on the results and innovations derived from beef research, and to learn how they can be utilized on-farm to benefit a producer’s herd, land or bottom line, join our mailing list at

Communications from the BCRC can also be found through the CCA’s e-newsletter, Action News, provincial cattle organizations’ newsletters, email updates and magazines, and through a regular research column that appears in Canadian Cattlemen magazine.

The sharing or reprinting of BCRC Blog articles is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council and list the website address,

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.  Contact us directly at or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.  Stay connected by following us on Twitter @BeefResearch, liking us on Facebook, and subscribing to our YouTube Channel.

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