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Govt Invests in Research to Boost Poultry Industry

by 5m Editor
11 November 2010, at 10:56a.m.

CANADA – The country's poultry producers and consumers will benefit from a Government of Canada investment aimed at helping the industry become more competitive in markets here and abroad. The announcement has been welcomed by producer organisations.

Member of Parliament Ed Fast (Abbotsford), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, has announced an investment of C$1.8 million to bring together scientific expertise from academia, industry and government to address sector priorities and challenges concerning poultry health, food safety and quality, and production practices.

"This investment pulls together the best and brightest poultry scientists to help improve the competitiveness and sustainability of poultry farming," said MP Fast. "This research will enhance production methods and foster innovations for high-quality products for consumers."

According to the press release, the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC), which represents poultry organisations across Canada, will manage this investment to address key priorities identified by the sector. Research will focus on strategies to enhance poultry health and welfare, new production practices, and innovative products including new vaccines to protect birds and people from diseases such as clostridia, salmonella, and avian influenza. By gaining a better understanding of diseases and developing alternative treatments, the industry will continue to provide nutritious and safe poultry products.

Producers are looking for ways to make their operations more sustainable and enhanced farming practices are important to the future success of the industry. This investment will support the CPRC and other industry partner contributions of over $759,000 for the cluster.

"The Canadian poultry industry is pleased to be working with federal and provincial governments, universities and industry organizations across the country on developing the Poultry Science Cluster," said Jacob Middelkamp, Chair of the CPRC. "This initiative focuses a wide range of intellectual and financial resources on key issues faced by our industry and is a significant step towards strategic investment in the future of the poultry sector."

The Canadian poultry industry contributes significantly to the economy, generating farm gate receipts of over $3.2 billion in 2009 for all egg and poultry products.

The Poultry Cluster initiative is delivered through the Growing Forward framework under the Agri-Innovations program, a $158 million five-year program that supports industry-led science and technology projects.

Reacting to the news, Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) said it is pleased to be partnering with the Government of Canada in a major investment in the CPRC.

CFC is one of the five founding members of the CPRC.

"Chicken farmers in Canada have earned the trust of Canadians by continually committing to programs in research, food safety and animal care," said David Fuller, Chair of CFC, "We will continue to work closely with CPRC, our government partners and other stakeholders to ensure that we remain responsive to the needs of the industry, competitive on the world stage and state-of-the-art through ongoing support of poultry research.

"The Canadian chicken industry works closely with its partners to ensure that our birds are raised to the highest food safety and animal care standards. Research initiatives like these provide further demonstration of our collaborative commitment to improving our system. We are firmly behind the wheel in the drive for innovation and growth in our industry," added Mr Fuller.

Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) is also a founding member of CPRC, and has expressed its appreciation of the Federal Government's commitment to poultry industry research.

"The CPRC is committed to implementing programs for poultry research that address industry and societal needs," said Roelof Meijer, TFC Director and Vice Chair of the CPRC. "This investment will benefit Canadian turkey, poultry and egg producers, as well as processors and consumers, by adding to our current funding."

"TFC has had a long and lasting commitment to research, and we commend the Government for its support" says Chair, Mark Davies. "The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) funding will assist TFC in addressing its research priorities through CPRC."