Dairy and beef research is part of British Columbia’s history – 100 Mile House Free Press
Before going into this week’s thoughts, allow me to correct the record of a statement I made in my last column in which I referred to a visit to “the Federal Dairy Research Station in Agassiz…”
In fact, the particular research I referred to was actually work done at the same address as the federal research station, by a separate entity from the University of British Columbia, the UBC Dairy Education and Research Center.
The facility is on land leased from the federal government adjacent to the federal research station. The lease is part of the station that researches forages, beef/milk, pork, poultry and other livestock.
On the Government of Canada website, further research is taking place that “…includes improving manure management in corn and grass forage for the dairy sector: reducing greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse and ammonia, improved nutrient management and efficient use of natural resources for dairy, pork and poultry products. , and other livestock farms.
To all credit: The dairy calf care research my article refers to was done by UBC at the Agassiz location. Thanks to the BC Dairy Council for alerting me and my editors to the error.
Most readers are probably aware that the governance of agriculture under the Constitution of Canada is a joint responsibility of the Government of Canada and the provinces. The main funding programs for producers are generally the result of five-year federal-provincial agreements.
Trying to figure out who does what can be complicated since some independent entities such as UBC’s Center for Dairy Education and Research are single companies that often have multiple sources of funding.
It should be noted that about half of BC’s beef comes from the dairy sector: retired cows and bull calves raised to maturity.
That said, most beef cattle research is under the supervision of different academic and industry organizations. I mention two in Canada.
The first is the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), which is Canada’s industry-led funding body for “beef, cattle and forage research”. Its funding comes from livestock sales levies, other industry and government funding. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada funds a sustainable beef and forage science “cluster”.
The BCRC operates as a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, established in 2001.
Some producers will remember the beef industry research conducted by the Western Beef Development Centre, a division of the Prairie Agriculture Institute, over the years. It evolved into a new facility at the University of Saskatchewan called the Forage Cow and Forage Calf Research and Education Unit.
There is an increasing emphasis on the transmission of research results to users (producers). This works best if producer oversight and input is built into research design and implementation.
British Columbia’s image is a whole other story, which will come in a later article here. I want to further develop the capacity of the beef industry to provide oversight of development and knowledge transfer to those who would use the research results.
One organization to watch and support is the BC Forage Council.
Our food security and the beef industry depend on it.
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