Government invests in Canadian poultry research

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Chicken Farmers of Canada was very pleased by the announcement that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) will again be supporting poultry research in Canada, this time through the AgriScience Program of the newly formed Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The announcement was made on May 24th, at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal in St. Hyacinthe by Minister Bibeau.

“Our Government is committed to helping Canada’s poultry sector maintain consumer trust and stay on the cutting edge by finding new and innovative solutions to challenges faced by the industry,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This funding will play an important part in ensuring that the sector is able to continue to grow sustainably and do more to meet high consumer demand.”

“Chicken Farmers of Canada applauds the Government of Canada for its support of poultry research in Canada,” said Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada. “The support we have received from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada demonstrates awareness, at all levels, of our ongoing commitment to be innovative as we respond to evolving consumer demands.”

The Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC) submitted the application to AAFC for a poultry research cluster, supported by all the national poultry groups. This will now be the third time that CPRC is administering a national poultry cluster which addresses key research priorities for the sector.

“Funding for the third poultry science cluster allows the poultry industry to conduct research projects that reflect the priorities of the industry and Canadian consumers,” said Helen Anne Hudson, Chair of the Canadian Poultry Research Council. “Canadian poultry farmers are constantly evolving their production practices in response to these priorities which include: the enhancement of the health and welfare of the animals, improving food safety, development of innovations in antimicrobial alternatives and vaccines development, as well as research in preserving the environment and long-term sustainability of the poultry industry in Canada. As part of the cluster, funding will also be used for knowledge and technology transfer to farmers and other poultry value chain members such as input suppliers, processors and the retail component of the industry.”

The AAFC Cluster provides an opportunity to significantly leverage industry funding as the federal government will support projects at a rate of 70% and will allow another 15% to be covered by provincial funding. The total Cluster budget is over $12 million, with AAFC contributing up to $8.24 million.

Throughout 2017, CPRC held calls-for proposals, selected projects and conducted reviews by a scientific advisory committee. The poultry cluster provides capacity to resolve many current issues facing the poultry industry. The unique cooperation among scientists, industry partners and government departments across Canada will synergize efforts to address these issues.

This funding, which is in addition to an investment of $3.78M from industry, will be used to develop new products and processes to address threats to the poultry value chain and improve poultry health and welfare. It also aims to develop best management practices at the farm level to improve food safety and reinforce public trust.

The project builds on the successes of two previous poultry clusters and is expected to result in the development of alternatives to antibiotics through research on antimicrobial use and resistance, as well as healthier and safer products by the poultry food chain. The research is also expected to lead to improvements to the health and welfare of turkeys and laying hens and maintain the long-term viability of the poultry value chain through improved bird production, virus benchmarking, development of precision agriculture tools, and controls on effluents from production operations affecting the environment and greenhouse gases.

This Cluster includes 19 different research projects under the following themes:

  • Antimicrobial use and resistance
  • Food safety
  • Poultry health and welfare
  • Sustainability

As part of the Cluster, CPRC will be including a knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) initiative to ensure that the results of the research are disseminated to industry stakeholders. For more information on previous research projects, check out CPRC’s website at http://cp-rc.ca/.

Chicken Farmers of Canada, along with the four other national poultry organizations, established CPRC back in 2001 to foster innovation, science and education within poultry research. The Council was established with a mandate to create and implement programs for research and development that address current and future industry needs.

Since its inception, CPRC has allocated over $4.4 million to foster poultry research, and these funds have been leveraged to over $25 million.