Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal broke ground at the site of the new Livestock Research and Innovation Centre - Beef Facility in Elora, Ontario. The province is investing CA$12.4 million (m) to help build the centre.
As well as this investment, the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, was also on hand to announce the federal government's CA$2m support of future genetics research at the centre.
The new research facility will be a joint partnership between the province - through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, the Beef Farmers of Ontario and the University of Guelph
Construction of the new beef centre, located adjacent to the dairy facility, is expected in late 2017.
When completed the centre will allow researchers to develop new methods and best practices for more efficient and sustainable beef production, strengthening the competitive advantage of Ontario’s beef sector and maintaining the province’s role as an international leader in livestock research.
Leal said: “Research and innovation are key contributors to helping our agri-food industry continue to grow and thrive. Our government is committed to supporting this innovative facility, which will help grow Ontario’s beef sector and, ultimately, provide our farmers with the tools they need to succeed.”
Joe Hill, vice-president, Beef Farmers of Ontario, added: “The Beef Farmers of Ontario is extremely appreciative of the commitment by the Ontario government to create new innovative and state-of-the-art facilities at the Elora beef research centre. The new centre will ensure we have the capacity to continue to advance beef cattle research in meaningful and integrated ways for years to come. The research will encompass everything from forage productivity, genetics, animal health and welfare to food safety and beef quality.”
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario beef accounts for farmgate sales revenue of $1.3 billion, processing revenue of $3.3bn, and retail sales of $8.9bn annually.
Ontario’s agri-food sector contributes more than $37.6bn towards the province’s GDP and supports over 807,000 jobs while the beef sector operates over 17,400 farms in Ontario, supporting nearly 7% of the province’s agri-food sector jobs and GDP.