The Alberta government unveiled a $30-million catalyst package April 22 to spur innovation and diversification in that province’s livestock and meat industry.
Five new grant programs will be delivered by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA). The programs focus on international market development; value-added market development; research and development; industry development; and on-farm technology adaptation. They will help achieve the goals of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy (ALMS), a comprehensive plan designed to return the livestock and meat industry to profitability and competitiveness.
“This marks a major milestone for the strategy and new opportunities for our livestock and meat industry,” said George Groeneveld, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “The programs will help industry create a profitable and sustainable future by providing support for new initiatives and research that will increase our competitiveness in the global market.”
Grants will help producers and their organizations accelerate international marketing, explore domestic markets, research environmental management, target consumer awareness or stimulate leading-edge research developments.
ALMA Board Chair Joe Makowecki said: “Our ALMA mandate is to act as a catalyst and these programs show our commitment to moving our $4.3-billion livestock and livestock products industry forward.”
Applications for the new programs will be accepted starting May 1.
The program details are as follows:
• ALMA’S international market development program will contribute $6 million to stimulate expansion and diversification of export markets by increasing market share, assisting industry associations and businesses with international market assessments, and complementing funding for the development of value chains and supply chains.
• The Value-Added Market Development Program has been allocated $2 million for the 2009/2010 fiscal year to stimulate expansion and diversification of the domestic market for Alberta livestock and meat products by assisting with market assessments, and complementing funding for the development of value chains and supply chains.
• The Research and Development Program has a budget of $12 million to enable both basic and applied research initiatives that complement ALMA marketing, differentiation and cost reduction priorities by aligning research and funding with ALMS priorities to improve the profitability of the livestock and meat industry
• The Industry Development Program, with a budget of $5 million, is designed to help the livestock and meat industry achieve long-term competitiveness.
• The $5-million On-Farm Technology Adaptation Program is designed to stimulate the adoption of leading edge research developments that improve cost competitiveness and support the ALMS by accelerating the investment in technologies that significantly improve production costs, productivity, food safety, animal welfare and environmental sustainability of Alberta’s livestock industry; increasing sales of meat products; encouraging new private sector capital investment in Alberta; enhancing Alberta’s competitive position in the meat and livestock sectors; and, complementing ALMA’s Research and Development Program. For more information on the programs and application process visit alma.alberta.ca