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Ottawa invests in Canadian bison industry

Ottawa invests in Canadian bison industry

Minister Bibeau announced funding for the Canadian Bison Association

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Canada’s bison sector received a federal investment to help it increase market access.

On July 13, during the International Bison Convention in Saskatoon, Sask., Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the Canadian Bison Association would receive up to $133,611 over two years ($66,805 per year).

The funding, which comes from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriMarketing Program, will help the Canadian Bison Association expand market access for bison in Europe and increase imports to the U.S.

"This investment is very important in assisting the bison industry in rebuilding European markets as well as supporting strategies to ensure growth in exports to the United States,” Terry Kremeniuk, executive director of the Canadian Bison Association, said in a statement. “A significant portion of the increase in consumer awareness and exports globally can be attributed to the ongoing funding received through the AgriMarketing Program."

Canada exported about $90 million of bison and related products in 2021.

This investment is in addition to $124,548 the federal government invested in the bison sector between 2018 and 2021 to grow market access and increase trade relationships.

The bison industry in Canada has trended upwards.

The 2021 census of agriculture counted 989 bison farms across the country compared to 975 in 2016.

Provincially, Ontario and Alberta saw the largest growth in the number of bison farms.

Alberta added 27 bison operations between the 2016 and 2021 censuses while Ontario gained three more.

The bison population in Canada has also increased.

The 2016 ag census counted 119,314 bison while the 2021 ag census recorded 149,539 bison.

That’s an increase of 30,225 bison, or 25.3 per cent.

Provincially, British Columbia saw the largest increase in bison population.

The 2016 ag census counted, 6,504 bison. The 2021 census counted 14,888 bison in B.C.

That’s an increase of 8,384 bison, or 128.9 per cent.

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