By Lynn Redl-Huntington
Sask Pork is undertaking a first-of-its-kind in Saskatchewan research project, thanks to funding from the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). Sask Pork will receive $150,000 over three years to evaluate antibiotic use on Saskatchewan hog farms.
“We are so pleased to receive funding for this important project,” said Ravneet Kaur, Manager of Producer Services and on-farm food safety programs at Sask Pork. “Given that several other provinces have already begun work in this area, it’s imperative that we study what’s happening in our own province.”
Current information and historical data from 100 Saskatchewan-based swine farms will be collected and analyzed to track annual antimicrobial usage (AMU) among pork producers across the province. It will be compared to producers in Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba where similar projects have either been completed or are currently underway.
“This project will give Saskatchewan producers the opportunity to assess and evaluate their antimicrobial use in comparison to others so that they continue to have a competitive edge in national and international markets,” said Kaur, who is responsible for provincial delivery of the Canadian pork industry’s national production and on-farm food safety programs. She works directly with pork producers to help them fulfill their program requirements and offers guidance and in-house training on production methods for swine health, biosecurity, animal transport and care.
Antimicrobial resistance associated with antibiotic use in food-producing animals has emerged as a major public health concern. The information generated will help develop provincial baselines, evaluate changes in farm-level antimicrobial usage (AMU) over time, will educate and create awareness about antibiotic use on farms, and provide platforms for future discussions on usage.
“In the longer term, this project will help future research into methods to reduce on-farm antibiotic use and will increase transparency and build consumer trust,” said Kaur. “Healthy animals, food safety, and quality are top priorities for producers and this project will allow us to continue to build on the good work our producers already do.”
By monitoring current and future AMU, producers and their veterinarians will have the tools to make more informed decisions on prudent antibiotic use, with the potential for reductions in use over time, if needed.
The results from this project will be shared with producers and other stakeholders at producer meetings and the Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium held annually in November.
"These investments in research will ensure Saskatchewan continues to set the standard when it comes to new ideas and approaches that support progress and best practices in agriculture not only here but around the world," said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit.
Provincial and federal officials announced a total of $5.1 million in funding in January for 28 new livestock and forage projects in 2022. The funding will support seven swine-related projects with nearly $1.17 million.
Funding for ADF projects is awarded annually to researchers who conduct projects in areas that are important to Saskatchewan’s farmers, ranchers and industry partners. The ADF is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada's agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors.Source : Saskpork