At the annual general meeting of Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canada's Agriculture & Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced July 16 an investment of $11.4 million to the Dairy Research Cluster, led by the Dairy Farmers of Canada.
With further funding from the industry, the total investment in this cluster will be $16.5 million, according to the announcement from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada.
The Dairy Research Cluster aims to foster public trust, drive innovation and stimulate the economic growth of the Canadian dairy sector. The cluster will support cutting-edge research in areas of bovine genetics, animal health and welfare, milk production automation, forage breeding, milk safety and quality and environmental sustainability, the announcement said.
The cluster will also support the development of management practices and tools to reduce on-farm economic losses from production-limiting dairy cow diseases. Through this investment, the sector will also better understand the effects of microbes on milk, dairy product composition and quality and examine the use of alternative tools and practices to antimicrobial use.
"The Canadian dairy sector is a key driver of jobs and economic growth, especially in our rural communities, and this investment will help it remain on the cutting edge of research. We continue to work closely with industry to ensure Canada's agricultural sector remains strong, stable and competitive for years to come," Bibeau said.
Dairy Farmers of Canada president Pierre Lampron added, "The investment provided to the Dairy Research Cluster is essential to enable strong, robust and evidenced-based research material that ultimately helps dairy farmers increase efficiency of their farm practices, particularly milk production, animal welfare and sustainability. Results of these research projects will also contribute to expand knowledge about the health benefits of dairy products. Along with the contribution of other partners such as Lactanet Canada, Novalait, today's announcement is another important step towards ensuring the continuous improvement of our dairy industry."
Dairy is the second-largest agriculture sector in Canada, generating 41,000 jobs on farms and processing plants -- the backbone of many rural communities across Canada, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada said.
Dairy Farmers of Canada is a not-for-profit organization that strives to create stable conditions for Canada's dairy industry by working to maintain the viability of Canadian dairy farms and promoting dairy products and their health benefits.
This research cluster is funded through the AgriScience Program, a five-year, $338 million initiative to support leading-edge discovery and applied science and innovation driven by industry research priorities.