Alta. sheep producers backed for RFID readers, software

A new program to help Alberta’s 1,900-odd sheep producers cover the cost of RFID readers, software, installation and training will complement an earlier program to help cover the cost of RFID tags.

The province and federal government on Tuesday rolled out their Sheep RFID Technology Assistance Program, aiming to encourage use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for animal tracking and movement recording in the sheep sector.

The program, funded through the Growing Forward ag policy framework, will cover 70 per cent of eligible costs for hand-held readers, software, and software installation and training costs.

Funds for software are capped at a maximum $1,000 per applicant, and for software installation and training combined at a maximum $500.

Eligible producers have until March 15, 2012 to apply, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, the two governments said.

The new program comes on the heels of the province’s Sheep Electronic Identification Incentive Program, introduced in February to reimburse up to $3 per approved tag to producers who had bought and applied RFID ear tags for lambs born between Dec. 1, 2010 and Nov. 30, 2012.

Alberta Agriculture Minister Evan Berger said Tuesday that the province had been working with Alberta Lamb Producers to develop a program that "helps producers improve flock management and enhances the integrity of Alberta’s traceability system."

"The availability of the tag incentive program and now the reader/software grant enables more producers to access RFID tools to increase the productivity and profitability of their operations," ALP chairman Phil Kolodychuk, a producer at Bluesky in the province’s Peace region, said in the same release.

Related story:

Tracking incentives offered for Alta. sheep, elk, deer producers, Feb. 17, 2011

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