On behalf of Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz

On behalf of Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz

Livestock genetics international pursuits funded

More funding is being given to directly impact Canadian livestock producers.

More funding is being given to directly impact Canadian livestock producers.

The Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA) recently received a grant of more than $1 million from the provincial government to expanding international marketing.

The announcement was made by Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins, on behalf of Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz, at Morsan Farms southeast of Ponoka.

“We’re proud to support this forward thinking sector. We’re working hard to ensure science-based trade with our customers around the world, regaining access for our world class livestock genetics in the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine and other key markets,” said Calkins.

Activities to accomplish Canadian growth worldwide include attending trade meetings, trade missions, holding training and educational seminars, working to develop new markets and undertaking market assessments for emerging markets.

“Our government knows that trade creates jobs, economic growth and keeps our economy strong. In April we will be launching Canada’s new agricultural policy framework, Growing Forward 2,” said Calkins

The new program, which is now accepting applications, will help producers gain and maintain access to national and international markets.

Calkins said Growing Forward 2 represents more than $3 billion in federal provincial and territorial initiatives for market development innovation and competition.

“That includes a 50-per-cent increase in cost shared investments,” he added.

The Government of Canada’s first Growing Forward program comes to an close at the end of this year’s budgetary cycle. Part of Growing Forward 2 is to double the investment in market access, research and market diversification.

Calkins feels, with the investment the CLGA will continue to open markets and provide not only live animals but Canadian genetics embryos and semen a solid international market base, bringing more revenue back to Canadian producers.

Canada has a good standing on the international market and a lot of work has gone into improving Canada in international eyes since the BSE (Mad Cow Disease) situation of 2003, but there’s still more work to be done.

“We’re in the middle of negotiations with countries like India. We’re got a foreign investment protection agreement with China and of course we’re engaged in the Trans-Pacific partnership and the Canada-Europe agreement, that’s getting closer and closer to becoming a reality,” said Calkins.

Canada has entered into other free trade agreements with Jordan, Columbia, Peru and the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Nor way and Switzerland).

Negotiations have been concluded but are not in force with Honduras and Panama.

There are ongoing negotiations also underway with: Andean Community Countries, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Central America Four (CA4), the Dominican Republic, the European Union (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement CETA), Japan, Korea, Morocco, Singapore and Turkey.

“The direct effort will be . . . the trickle-down effect in revenue, stemming from more markets and broader customer base,” said Calkins.

CLGA executive director Rick McRonald also knows the government’s investment will directly benefit Canadian producers.

He says the market for embryos and semen is strong but the market for live animals is weaker, and there are many reasons for that.

Because live animals markets are not operated on a “day-to-day” basis the market opportunities may wax and wane over a period of years.

“You have to be ready when that market’s open and you have to have technical access,” said McRonald. That’s what this new investment is working to craft.