The goal is to develop a Canada-wide integrated genetic services system to help sheep and goat farmers improve productivity and increase supply.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com
The Government of Canada has announced an investment of $495,000 to the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement (CCSI) which will work to increase innovation and resiliency within Canada's sheep and goat industries.
CCSI will work with partners develop a Canada-wide integrated genetic services system to help sheep and goat farmers improve productivity and increase supply.
These farmers will be able to use the new service system to access new developments and industry information on livestock genomics that can improve breeding and provide a more sustainable supply of high-quality products along the sheep and goat value chains.
The integrated system will include services such as phenotype measurements on traits such as growth rate and milk yield, training for farmers to adopt new technologies, genetic evaluation, and research and development.
Partners working with the CCSI include: Canadian Sheep Breeders Association, Ontario Sheep Farmers, the Canadian Goat Society, Canadian Livestock Records Corporation, Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, Centre d'expertise en production ovine du Québec, AgSights, and the Canadian Meat Goat Association.
The hope is that the genetic services will benefit farmers with improved breeding stock to develop a more adaptable, competitive industry.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, who said: “Canada has a strong reputation as a leader in livestock genetics and breeding. This investment will enable sheep and goat farmers to benefit from new developments in livestock genetics and improve product quality and productivity.”
The funding is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), a $50.3-million, five-year investment to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.
With over 1.2 million head of sheep and goats in Canada on approximately 15,000 farms, and a combined annual revenue of more than $263 million in 2020, potential for growth is large—in fact, the number of goats has more than doubled in the past 30 years.
Brian Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer for the CCSI said: “Better integration of services will enhance these organizations’ abilities to deliver on their respective breed improvement mandates, while the breeders and commercial producers will benefit from improved genetics. This will also lead to a more sustainable supply of high-quality inputs for other stakeholders in the sheep and goat product value chains.”