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Alberta unveils long-term strategy for livestock industry

A new long-term strategy and a $356 million investment is planned to stabilize and strengthen Alberta's livestock industry. A new mandatory traceability program is part of the new strategy.


June 6, 2008
By Government of Alberta

June 5, 2008

Edmonton, Alb.
The provincial government unveiled a long-term strategy and investment
of $356 million to stabilize and strengthen
Alberta’s livestock
industry.

Alberta’s livestock
industry is facing significant challenges and needs a major and fundamental
change,” said George Groeneveld, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural
Development. “Albertans want a competitive and sustainable livestock industry,
but this will not happen until we start doing things radically different. The
industry needs to regain its competitive advantage and although these changes
will not be easy, they are necessary.”

Mandatory traceability and
the development of a new Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, are key to
implementing this new strategy. The government will invest $56 million this
year to create the agency, which will report directly to the Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Development. Included in that amount is $40 million that
will be redirected from the ministry’s existing budget. The Alberta Livestock
and Meat Agency will support the livestock industry with a focus on directing
funds, resources and programs towards strategic priorities.

The Alberta Livestock
and Meat Strategy

outlines eight priority initiatives developed to achieve significant change in
the industry. These changes will redirect resources to key priorities,
revitalize the livestock industry, enhance the value chain and refocus efforts
to achieve a sustainable and competitive livestock industry.

To assist in stabilizing
the industry during the first phase of this transformation, producers will
receive $150 million in immediate funding. An additional $150 million will be
available in January 2009 once certain conditions have been met. This second
payment will be issued only after age verification and premise identification
practices have been adopted and verified for each individual producer.

“Government will work
closely with the livestock industry throughout this transformation process,”
said Groeneveld. “Producers who are unable or unwilling to transform their
business by meeting these new verification and identification conditions may
need to consider ways to exit the industry. It is vital that producers believe in
the sustainable future of this industry.”

The challenges facing the
livestock industry include persistent labour shortages, restricted access to
foreign markets, packing plants operating significantly under-capacity, lack of
a shared strategic vision, lack of product differentiation, overdependence on
the U.S. market, lack of an integrated federal-provincial government policy
framework, and increasing environmental impacts.