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Grants available to help with traceability programs

Traceability technology helps to track animals or food products from farm to consumer

Traceability is a high priority for the livestock industry in Canada, and federal and provincial governments have been working in collaboration with the industry to develop a National Agriculture and Food Traceability System, primarily focusing on livestock and poultry.

Traceability, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s website is the ability to follow an item or group of items — animals, plants, food products or ingredients — from one point in the supply chain to another.

Traceability systems have three basic elements: animal/product identification; premises identification and and animal/product movement.

As part of the drive towards full traceability, each province has implemented funding programs for producers designed to assist with the cost of implementation — such as purchasing RFID tag readers and software.

Following is an overview of the traceability implementation funding programs available in Western Canada. Programs receive funding through the Federal-Provincial Growing Forward 2 and criteria and delivery agencies vary in each province. Funding for many programs is on a first-come, first-served basis, so producers should apply as early as possible.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan has a generous Livestock Traceability Rebate program, which began in 2009 under Growing Forward 1 and will continue to offer rebates for equipment purchased up to February 2018.

Continuing under Growing Forward 2, the current program offers a rebate of 70 per cent to a maximum of $50,000 for the purchase or lease of eligible handheld or panel RFID tag readers, software, or for training costs that producers incur to learn how to operate their traceability equipment or software. Only equipment purchased after February 1, 2013 is eligible for this round of funding.

Saskatchewan also offers funding through its On-Farm Food Safety initiative as part of its Verified Beef Production (VBP) program. Producers registered under the VBP can receive 50 per cent funding up to $2,000 for individual livestock weigh scales, squeeze with neck extenders and record keeping software.

Producers can also get 50 per cent up to a $1,000 towards the cost of a first VBP certification audit on their farm. As well, if a producer commissions an on-farm assessment by a veterinarian to develop a biosecurity protocol, he or she may apply for 50 per cent of the cost up to a maximum of $1,000.

For more information go to:

Alberta

Alberta has a number of programs funded through Growing Forward 2, including its Traceability Technology Adoption program. The program will reimburse eligible producers for 70 per cent of approved costs for equipment and software that capture animal data for animal management and traceability purposes.

The Traceability Pilot program is designed to help producers, agribusinesses and non-profit organizations evaluate and recommend ideal traceability technologies that are practical and cost-effective. Projects are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and if there is program funding available and the project meets the Program’s priorities the applicant will be sent an application form.

The Traceability Training program reimburses 100 per cent of approved costs up to $25,000 for organizing and delivering training sessions to increase knowledge about how to implement traceability systems. This program is available to industry organizations, groups, and educational and non-profit institutions, not individual producers. Projects are evaluated on a case by case basis.

For more information go to:

Manitoba

The Beef Program component of Manitoba’s Growing Assurance — Food Safety On-Farm program provides technical and financial assistance to beef producers towards adoption of the principles of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association Verified Beef Production (VBP) program.

Eligible producers can access up to $12,000 in funding through three programs.

Once beef producers have completed training and successfully completed a VBP audit of their facilities they can apply for a number of programs to assist with the cost of purchasing equipment that helps them implement traceability and other aspects of their on-farm food safety system.

The Traceability Program offers eligible producers up to $5,000 on a cost-shared basis (65 per cent government funding and 35 per cent applicant) for the purchase of RFID readers and software and accessories such as a carrying case or docking station.

The Food Safety on-Farm Beef program provides cost-shared funding (65/35) up to a maximum of $2,000 for equipment such as a single animal scale, neck extender chute, electric thermometer, calibration devices for medicated feed and water, software and the first audit (up to $500) for the VBP program

The Biosecurity GAP program provides cost-shared funding (65/35) up to a maximum of $5,000 towards the cost of biosecurity assessment by a veterinarian, as well as equipment such as quarantine pens, cleaning or disinfection stations, and compost sites for management of deadstock.

For more information go to your local Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives office or visit its website.

British Columbia

The Traceability Adoption Program for 2015-16 has recently been posted on the B.C. Agricultural Research & Development Corporation (ARDCorp) website. It provides between 50 and 75 per cent cost-shared funding to a maximum of $15,000 to producers for the purchase of traceability infrastructure and staff training costs.

The Traceability Speaker program provides funding to agriculture organizations that hold workshops or other events to educate their members about traceability to a maximum of $3,500 per event and $10,000 per sector. Funding is on a first-come, first-served basis and the program ends March 2016.

The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture also provides a no-cost identification program for producers. The Verified Beef Production program offered through the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, also helps producers access funding — such as through the On-Farm Food Safety Program — for equipment such as weigh scales and squeeze chute neck extenders.

Visit any of the following websites for more information:

About the author

Contributor

Angela Lovell is a freelance writer based in Manitou, Manitoba. Visit her website at http://alovell.ca or follow her on Twitter @angelalovell10.

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