National Fund Supports Beef Competitiveness

CANADA - $9.25 million fund to strengthen the competitiveness of the Canadian beef industry has wrapped up activity and released results of more than 120 projects.
calendar icon 16 January 2007
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The National Beef Industry Development Fund (NBIDF) was established by the governments of Canada, Alberta and British Columbia. Among the many projects funded, NBIDF contributed to the commercial beef utilization strategy for BSE recovery, the creation of a new beef economics research institute, beef perceptions audits of top international meat buyers and an assessment of options for traceability in the Canadian beef industry.

"The work supported by NBIDF has been important to the viability of the Canadian beef industry - and invaluable in the wake of BSE," says Dave Plett, a southern Alberta feedlot operator and chair of NBIDF. "The results of these projects will go a long way to promoting and enhancing the competitiveness of the industry for many years to come."

NBIDF was managed by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and directed by a committee of producers and government representatives. Industry consultation fuelled the establishment of four pillar areas for NBIDF investment. These included expanded market share and security; increased product value; improved alignment of the supply chain; and investment in knowledge and education.

Priorities under theses pillars were initially established prior to the BSE incidence in Canada, but were updated quickly to meet industry needs in the wake of the crisis.

"In the immediate aftermath of BSE, the Fund played a critical role in helping to support the industry during periods when check-off funds were drastically reduced," says Plett. "This included both supporting enhanced domestic marketing maintaining and opening new export market development channels."

With an eye to the future, the Fund also encouraged innovative proposals to help the industry reposition itself for a new era.

"The Fund had a strong willingness to promote 'out-of-the-box' thinking and projects, especially within the industry alignment pillar and the knowledge and education pillar," says Plett. "The overriding drive was to support projects that would open new areas of research and development - ones that will generate results to benefit the beef industry beyond the current generation."


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