The Government of Canada announced last week it is strengthening the sheep and goat industry by helping to eradicate disease, enhance traceability and improve on-farm food safety practices.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, with Member of Parliament David Tilson (Dufferin-Caledon), announced on Feb. 6 spending of up to $6-million to help sheep and goat farmers come through this economic recovery stronger than ever.
“As Canada begins to show signs of economic recovery, the Government of Canada knows that the sheep and goat industry can deliver tremendous returns as it already brings in over $100-million to the farm gate,” said Ritz.
“A strong animal health and traceability system will position Canada’s sheep and goat producers for the premium prices their top-quality products deserve around the world.”
The AgriFlexibility fund, a commitment made under Canada’s Economic Action Plan, will deliver up to $4.5-million to determine the prevalence of scrapie, a fatal neurological disease, in Canadian sheep. This information will help establish a time frame in which scrapie can be eradicated from Canada and international markets can be reopened.
The remainder of the investment of more than $1.5-million will go towards the following three projects:
– $733,000 for the Canadian Sheep Federation’s pilot project to have a select number of producers implement full-scale Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to demonstrate the benefits RFID can provide to the industry;
– $491,000 for the Canadian National Goat Federation and the Canadian Sheep Federation to foster education within the industry on identification and traceability of goats and sheep. It will also be used to further the work done on the Canadian Sheep Federation’s Canadian Sheep Identification Program; and
– $354,000 for the Canadian Sheep Federation in the development of their On-Farm Food Safety Management System. This is the last step in the federation’s On-Farm Food Safety system which could lead to government recognition of their Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP)-based system.
“We are pleased to be working with the Government of Canada to provide more resources and tools for the Canadian sheep producer,” said Dwane Morvik, chairman of the Canadian Sheep Federation.
“Improving access to farm technology and implementing programs to address animal health issues can make a real difference to the bottom line of our farmers and improve our ability to take advantage of international and domestic markets.”
For more information on Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit actionplan.gc.ca.