It was a big day for Saskatchewan agriculture Jan. 27.
Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit announced $7.5 million in funding for livestock and forage-related research through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). This includes more than $4.1 million in funding for 24 livestock and forage-related research projects and nearly $3.5 million in operational funding for the Prairie Swine Centre and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan.
“Despite challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, our farmers continue to make sure Canadians and people around the world have access to our high-quality food,” said Bibeau. “The projects announced today will help to advance important research so our farmers can find even more sustainable and efficient ways to produce this food and continue to grow the sector.”
“Through the ADF, producers benefit from research into new forage varieties, improved livestock feeding systems and management of animal diseases that drive industry growth,” Marit said. “This year’s projects will expand the growth potential of the industry by exploring topics such as water quality, cost of production, diagnostics supports, animal health, forage production, quality and breeding. Innovation helps our producers meet the Saskatchewan Growth Plan objectives of increasing livestock cash receipts to $3 billion and increasing value-added revenue to $10 billion by 2030.”
Support from the ADF is awarded on a competitive basis to projects that create future growth opportunities and enhance the competitiveness of the industry.
This research will impact producers across commodities with studies that benefit bees, bison, beef cattle, swine, poultry, dairy cattle and sheep. For example, one project led by Kerri Finlay will look at how removing sulphates from agricultural ponds improves cattle health. Another project led by Dr. Murray Jelinski will use watering bowls to study antimicrobial resistance. Kathy Larson will lead a project that will examine how cow/calf producers are using production and financial data to make management decisions on their operations.
The Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers Development Commission is a new ADF industry partner this year.
“Saskatchewan alfalfa seed producers are pleased to be able to participate in the co-funding of important forage research projects, including development of a salt-tolerant alfalfa cultivar adapted to western Canada,” Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers Development Commission Director of Research Wayne Goerzen said. Goerzen also noted that this research will benefit producers across the prairies.
In addition to funds committed by the federal and provincial governments, livestock and forage research projects announced this year are also receiving nearly $324,000 from the following partners: Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission, Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers Development Commission, SaskMilk and Alberta Milk.
“With renewed support from the ADF, the Prairie Swine Centre will continue to generate and deliver novel research results from our Engineering, Nutrition and Ethology Research Programs,” Prairie Swine Centre CEO Murray Pettitt said. “This funding will directly benefit the Saskatchewan pork value chain. In the past 15 years, our research program has contributed an average return on investment of $4.10 per pig/year to the industry, and the funds enable us to attract additional research funding for the benefit of the industry.”
“We are thankful for the ongoing support through the ADF,” VIDO Director Dr. Volker Gerdts said. “Infectious diseases continue to threaten animal health and production, and this funding helps ensure our cutting-edge research and development benefits producers.”
The ADF is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $388 million agreement between the federal and provincial governments to invest in strategic initiatives for Saskatchewan agriculture.
For more information, including a full list of funded projects, please visit www.saskatchewan.ca and search “Agriculture Development Fund.”