by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is welcoming federal cash for a program to keep tabs on cattle as they move through the production chain.
Federal funds to the tune of $3 million will be used to expand the Beef InfoXchange System, says an association news release issued Thursday.
“This expansion of the BIXS program is precisely what the Canadian cattle industry has been waiting for and I thank Minister Ritz for his support for the BIXS data base,” stated Travis Toews, the association’s outgoing president, in the release. Gerry Ritz, federal agriculture minister, had announced the financial commitment on Thursday at the association’s meeting in Ottawa. The money is over and above $5.36 million applied to the system a year ago from the federal agriculture flexibility fund.
A spokesperson from the association could not be reached for comment.
According to the association’s website, the traceability system is voluntary and uses the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) tag to compile information about an individual animal.
The association describes the system as being able to combine information entered via the CCIA program and the Canadian Livestock Tracking System with other information. It touts the system as a way to capture and exchange information across the beef production chain about individual animals, including health, genetics and carcass performance.
So will it help producers obtain a premium for their animals? “Not necessarily,” a question and answer section on the association’s website says.
“BIXS enables better communication between the cow-calf, feedlot and packing sectors on an individual animal basis and offers a way for producers to develop business relationships,” it explains. “As those business relationships form, premiums may indeed come.”
The association oversees the system’s design and operation, which is implemented by U.S.-based FoodLogiQ LLC. The company’s Canadian arm is based in Calgary, Alberta. The system’s database is also housed in Alberta.
The association’s Thursday news release said the federal funds would enhance its ability to put more information into the system’s database and provide a participation incentive for producers.
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On Friday, the association announced that MacGregor, Manitoba farmer Martin Unrau will replace Toews, who has completed his two-year term as its president. Dave Solverson, an association director from Alberta, will serve as vice-president.
New board directors appointed by provincial member organizations include: Cathy Sharp and Pat Rutledge (Alberta); Brent Griffin and Kevin Woods (Saskatchewan); Heinz Reimer (Manitoba), Tom Wilson and Matt Bowman (Ontario); and George Smith (Nova Scotia). Byron Templeton, Alberta, will represent the Canadian Beef Breeds Council on the board. BF