Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said she is proud of the provincial government’s $13.5 million investments in support of the beef industry with the recent official opening of the Ontario Beef Research Centre near Elora as well as the creation of a new marketing initiative.
“As a proud 4-H Beef Club alumnus and a MPP representing the heart of beef country in Ontario, I want to highlight the importance of this investment,” Thompson said. “This facility will give Ontario’s 6,800 beef farms access to the latest technologies and findings on health, welfare and production. It will help them become more efficient and competitive.”
The new research centre is a partnership between the Government of Ontario through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO), the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and the University of Guelph and reflects an investment of approximately $12.5 million from the Ontario government and more than $3 million from the BFO.
The innovative centre contains two 5,530-square-metre research barns, handling facilities and offices, and 200 acres of land to produce feed. It will house around 750 cattle, which doubles its current livestock capacity. To upgrade and expand feed storage capacity at Elora, ARIO will also invest in feed bunker silos.
It will support research related to animal welfare, reproduction and nutrition as well as meat quality and safety. Research results will be commercialized or shared with beef farmers to be adopted to make animal and production practices more efficient, safer and healthier.
The facility is adjacent to the Ontario Dairy Research Centre and the soon-to-be constructed Ontario Swine Research Centre at the Elora Research Station.
Along with the official opening of the centre, the provincial government also announced it is taking action to support Ontario farmers impacted by trade restrictions put in place by China through the creation of a Market Access Initiative.
Effective September 3, the Ontario government will accept applications for the Market Access Initiative, a targeted cost-share funding initiative open to all Ontario food and agri-product exporters to assist them in accessing new markets. This new initiative is expected to be of interest to agricultural organizations and other value chain partners in the pork, beef and grain sectors.
The Market Access Initiative will commit up to $1 million to market diversification projects and is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
More details about this cost-share programming are available on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website at: Ontario.ca/agpartnership .
“In 2018, the value of Ontario’s agricultural exports to China and Hong Kong included more than $39 million in beef and cattle,” Thompson said. “The provincial government is very aware of the new hardships the trade disputes between China and the federal government are having on local beef farmers and we are strong in our resolve to help improve and grow this vital sector.”