The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency announced in Red Deer Wednesday it will invest $8 million to develop better feed for animals and boost the industry’s competitiveness.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development George Groeneveld announced the funding help at the Central Alberta Conference on Seizing Feed Grain Opportunities.
The cost of feed is the biggest issue facing livestock producers and the cash will be used to develop improved feeds and better ways to use that feed. The project will also identify links between feed and animal nutrition and find ways to use feed grains more effectively.
“As a beef producer, I know feed accounts for over half my production costs,” said Groeneveld, in a news release announcing the funding. “That percentage is even higher for other livestock producers. So investing in better feed, and better use of that feed, will be a positive influence on the bottom line for producers.”
While improved production practices will reduce feed costs for livestock producers, feed grain producers will also benefit by seeing better values for higher-quality feeds. In 2008, Groeneveld announced the Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy aimed at building an internationally respected, competitive and profitable livestock and meat industry. Over the past year, the Meat and Livestock Agency has met with industry players to develop a feed grain strategy.
The initiative fits squarely with the agency’s mandate of affecting long-term strategic change for the province’s livestock and meat industry, says Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency board chair Joe Makowecki in the release.
“This problem is decades old and there are stacks of studies to prove it. The investment from the agency means we are finally tackling a basic competitive issue for the industry.”
Jack de Boer, chairman of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association says “a healthy feed grain industry is critical to the success of the livestock sector.”
Alberta Barley Commission chairman Terry Young says, “This initiative has the potential to transform the feed crop sector, through research and investment in better feed grains more suited for the livestock sector.”