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Agriculture minister announces $1.6M investment in livestock genetics

Gerry Ritz hopes investment will open new market opportunities for Canadian dairy, sheep and goat farmers

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show on Wednesday [Sept. 10] to announce a $1.6 million investment for the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA) as part of the Growing Forward 2 initiative. Minister Ritz was joined by Dave Mackenzie MP for Oxford and Michael Hall, the Executive Director for the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association.

The dollars aim to help increase the sale of Canadian dairy and small ruminants (sheep and goat) genetics to export markets around the world. The target is to grow the sale of export livestock genetics by 10 percent by 2015. In 2013 the three livestock sectors combined generated over $120 million in export sales. The industry eyes to increase market sales to more than $123 million. Hall said that selling more genetics abroad provides revenue opportunities to 12,750 dairy farmers and more than 1,000 sheep and 450 goat breeders across Canada.

"Our Government remains committed to supporting the agricultural sector through strategic investments to grow markets both nationally and internationally,” Minister Ritz said in a release. “This investment will help the dairy and small ruminant genetics industry open up new global markets and promote Canadian products to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry."

Funds are earmarked to aid with promotion, training and educational materials which will be created by the CLGA. The not-for-profit trade association has a membership of about 70 livestock organizations and has a presence in 100 countries worldwide. In this case, CLGA will represent the dairy, goat and sheep sectors to identify creative ways to market Canadian genetics from that of competitors. CLGA is tasks with focusing on 45 different markets.

(Contributed photo by Jennifer MacTavish: Jillian Craig, Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency (OSMA), Minister Gerry Ritz, Michael Hall CLGA, and Gary Fox OSMA Director enjoying lamb kabobs).


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