The information side of the beef business is getting nearly $8 million from the federal government.
The largest chunk of cash, $5.3 million, will be used to help farms, feedlots and packing plants update their information technology systems to ensure they remain compatible with the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS). BIXS is a beef information exchange system which allows the seamless transfer of animal and carcass data from producer to processor. It’s expected better, and more timely, data will boost production efficiencies while reducing costs.
“BIXS has the potential to provide incredible value to the long-term competitiveness of the Canadian cattle industry,” said Travis Toews, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, which is leading the project.
Another $2.5 million is for Phase II of the Beef Cluster to build on the research already being done by a network of industry, academic and government experts. Research will focus on increasing competitiveness and profitability of beef producers by reducing production costs, increasing feed efficiency, and decreasing the impact of animal health issues.
It was also announced that $364,000 will be spent to enhance the CCA’s “Quality Starts Here Verified Beef Production” (QSH-VBP) on-farm food safety systems.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz dropped by the annual meeting of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association to make the announcement. The BIXS funding will come from Agriculture Flexibility, a $500-million fund set up under the federal government’s Economic Action Plan. Phase II of the Beef Cluster is being funded by the Agri-Innovations Program, a $159-million five-year program that supports industry-led science and technology projects. The dairy, canola and flax sectors have received similar funding. The on-farm food safety systems initiative is funded through Growing Forward, under the Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative (CIFSI). CIFSI supports organizations in developing national, government-recognized on-farm and/or post-farm Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) or HACCP-based food safety systems.