© AgMedia Inc.
by SUSAN MANN
The federal government is helping the Canadian dairy genetics industry boost sales in international markets with $1.22 million in funding.
Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, made the announcement today at the Dairy Farmers of Ontario annual meeting in Toronto.
The money will help the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association fund a variety of targeted international market development initiatives to increase the volume and value of dairy cattle embryo and semen exports and raise awareness of Canada’s top quality genetic programs.
Rick McRonald, Association executive director, says some of the markets they want to increase exports to are Europe, China and Southeast Asia. The United States market is important but the Association doesn’t get funding for market activities there as part of this initiative.
Canadian dairy genetics exports hit $177.8 million in 2008, a 73 per cent increase over 2007. Numbers for 2009 still have to be finalized but McRonald says they’ll be down considerably compared to 2008 because of the global economic recession and the collapse in the world milk price. “The world price of milk has absolutely clobbered the sales of dairy genetics, particularly live animals, but semen as well.”
Live cattle exports have almost dried up totally and the “average price of a dose of semen exported has dropped dramatically too,” he explains.
Most of the $1.22 million will be spent to provide education about Canadian genetics and train people how to inseminate cows or do embryo transfer and to provide courses on nutrition. Some of the money will also be used for trade shows.
“One of the biggest activities is all of what is done around the Royal Winter Fair,” McRonald says, adding it’s the biggest Canadian show the Association uses to tell the world the good news about Canadian livestock dairy genetics.
The $1.22 million in funding comes from the federal government’s Agri-Marketing program, a four-year, $88-million initiative that assists producers and processors to increase Canadian product exports.
On Tuesday the province of Ontario committed $300,000 to the Johne's Education and Management Assistance program, a four-year effort to prevent the spread of the common bacterial infection of the intestinal tract of cattle.
According to a provincial government press release, there are 400,000 dairy cows in Ontario. The average dairy farm has 60 cows.
Dairy is Ontario's largest commodity with annual sales approaching $1.7 billion. <strong><span style="color: rgb(128, 0, 0);">BF</span></strong>