he federal government is helping to increase profitability and access new markets for Ontario’s goat industry.
On Aug. 11, Perth-Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced over $700,000 in spending to establish an integrated dairy goat genetic improvement program.
The GoGen pilot project, which will be overseen by Ontario Goat, will help the goat industry make genetic improvements to increase milk production and improve meat quality through superior genetics. The funds will also be used to update, modify, and bring efficiencies to current goat genetic tools already provided by the goat industry.
“The goat industry represents one of the largest growth opportunities in Ontario agriculture today,” said Schellenberger. “This project has great potential to help goat producers become more profitable, increase sales and access new milk and meat markets.”
The pilot project will help determine the value and benefits of a domestic genetic improvement program specifically geared to the goat industry and will work with several existing programs, including CanWest DHI for milk testing, www.goatgenetics.ca for goat evaluations, and Gencor (a leader in the cow genetics industry) on genetic evaluation and assessment of artificial insemination tools. Information about the project will be communicated regularly in the Ontario Goat Newsletter and on its website.
“By implementing an integrated pilot program, the Ontario goat industry can demonstrate the value that these combined programs and services can have to the entire goat industry and to the individual goat producer,” said Jennifer Haley, Executive Director of Ontario Goat. “The GoGen project will provide a toolbox full of production management tools that will ultimately help producers become more efficient and return more dollars to their operations.”
“Through the use of pilot herds, this project will allow producers to learn the value of implementing goat genetic improvement programs from their peers,” said Jim Rickard, AAC chairman. “These programs can help position the Ontario goat industry to capture future growth opportunities, both domestic and export, and remain competitive.”
Funding for this project is being provided by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, CAAP is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC).
CAAP is a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million national initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. Eligible CAAP projects could be in areas of traceability, environment, climate change, capacity development, pests and diseases, and more.
For more information on CAAP, visit www.agr.gc.ca/caap. To learn more about AAC, visit www.adaptcouncil.org.