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Alberta's $356 Million Livestock Makeover

17 June 2008
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

US - Due to the changing face of the global livestock industry many believe that Alberta's production practises will need a radical overhaul to remain competitive in the years to come. In response, the provincial government has unveiled a long-term strategy and investment of $356 million to stabilize and strengthen the industry.

“Alberta’s livestock industry is facing significant challenges and needs a major and fundamental change,” said George Groeneveld, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “Albertans want a competitive and sustainable livestock industry, but this will not happen until we start doing things radically different. The industry needs to regain its competitive advantage and although these changes will not be easy, they are necessary.”


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"It is vital that producers believe in the sustainable future of this industry."
George Groeneveld, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

Mandatory traceability and the development of a new Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, are key to implementing this new strategy. The government will invest $56 million this year to create the agency, which will report directly to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Included in that amount is $40 million that will be redirected from the ministry’s existing budget. The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency will support the livestock industry with a focus on directing funds, resources and programs towards strategic priorities.

The Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy outlines eight priority initiatives developed to achieve significant change in the industry. These changes will redirect resources to key priorities, revitalize the livestock industry, enhance the value chain and refocus efforts to achieve a sustainable and competitive livestock industry.

To assist in stabilizing the industry during the first phase of this transformation, producers will receive $150 million in immediate funding. An additional $150 million will be available in January 2009 once certain conditions have been met. This second payment will be issued only after age verification and premise identification practices have been adopted and verified for each individual producer.

“Government will work closely with the livestock industry throughout this transformation process,” said Groeneveld. “Producers who are unable or unwilling to transform their business by meeting these new verification and identification conditions may need to consider ways to exit the industry. It is vital that producers believe in the sustainable future of this industry.”

The challenges facing the livestock industry include persistent labour shortages, restricted access to foreign markets, packing plants operating significantly under-capacity, lack of a shared strategic vision, lack of product differentiation, overdependence on the U.S. market, lack of an integrated federal-provincial government policy framework, and increasing environmental impacts.

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