by SUSAN MANN
The Canadian Sheep Federation has received almost $350,000 in federal government funding to combine the industry’s on-farm food safety program with biosecurity and animal care handling guidelines.
Once the programs are combined, buyers of Canadian sheep and lambs will have assurances the animals have been raised “under an integrated farm program that addresses food safety, biosecurity and animal care,” according to an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada press release.
Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht announced the funding today on behalf of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
Ontario sheep producer Rob Scott, Canadian Sheep Federation vice-chair, says the funding announcement is good news. The sheep industry’s on-farm food safety program is voluntary for producers. “We’re trying to develop a culture where people take advantage of these assurance programs.”
The federation is a national, non-profit organization representing sheep and lamb producers across Canada. Its mission is to advance the Canadian sheep and wool industries’ viability, prosperity and expansion.
Scott says the enhanced assurance system will enable producers to maintain and grow domestic markets. It will also help with export market access and contribute to the industry’s credibility on food safety.
The programs being combined are the national sheep and lamb production assurance system called Food Safe Farm Practices, the National Sheep Biosecurity Standard and the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Sheep. The biosecurity standard and animal care code of practice are being integrated into the Food Safe Farm Practices program.
The government funding comes from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriMarketing program. It’s a five-year, $341 million program under Growing Forward 2, the national agricultural policy framework.
In 2014, Canadian sheep and lamb farm cash receipts totaled nearly $157 million, the government’s release says. BF