Helping sheep and goat farmers improve productivity and increase supply with a new genetic services system
January 7, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of $495,000 for the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement (CCSI) to enable stakeholders to work together to increase innovation and resiliency in Canada’s sheep and goat industries.
Through this investment, CCSI is collaborating with project partners on developing a Canada-wide integrated genetic services system to help sheep and goat farmers improve productivity and increase supply. Farmers will be able to use the new service system to access new developments and industry information on livestock genomics that can improve breeding and provide a more sustainable supply of high quality products along the sheep and goat value chains.
CCSI is working with a number of partners to integrate genetic services, including the Canadian Sheep Breeders Association, Ontario Sheep Farmers, the Canadian Goat Society, Canadian Livestock Records Corporation, Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, Centre d'expertise en production ovine du Québec, AgSights, and the Canadian Meat Goat Association. The integrated system will include services such as phenotype measurements on traits such as growth rate and milk yield, training for farmers to adopt new technologies, genetic evaluation, and research and development.
Canada’s sheep and goat industries offer many growth opportunities for farmers across several agricultural sectors, including meat, dairy and fibre. Increasing industry collaboration in areas such as genetic services will benefit farmers with improved breeding stock to develop a more adaptable, competitive industry.
“Canada has a strong reputation as a leader in livestock genetics and breeding. This investment will enable sheep and goat farmers to benefit from new developments in livestock genetics and improve product quality and productivity.”
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Better integration of services will enhance these organizations’ abilities to deliver on their respective breed improvement mandates, while the breeders and commercial producers will benefit from improved genetics. This will also lead to a more sustainable supply of high quality inputs for other stakeholders in the sheep and goat product value chains.”
- Brian Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement
The funding announced today is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), a $50.3 million, five-year investment to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.
The Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement is a national not-for-profit corporation that provides leadership, innovation and coordination in national genetic evaluations, database establishment and maintenance, program standards and research and development for industries such as pork, goats and sheep.
There are more than 1.2 million head of sheep and goats in Canada on approximately 15,000 farms (2016 Census of Agriculture), with over $250 million of farm cash receipts, which in 2020 had a combined annual revenue of more than $263 million. Potential for growth is large and illustrated by the fact that the number of goats has more than doubled in the last 30 years.
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
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