Canada s beef producers continue to show their commitment to on-farm food safety. Recent participation figures for Verified Beef Production (VBP), the national beef on-farm food safety program, shows an increasing percentage of the national herd participating in the program.
That s an important message for Canada s domestic and export customers, says Terry Grajczyk, manager of the VBP program for the Canadian Cattlemen s Association. It is the kind of information that will be useful in ongoing efforts to build marketing confidence, such as Canada Beef Advantage marketing promotion.
Producers take workshop style training to learn about the voluntary program fundamentals and how they can use Standard Operating Procedures to enhance animal health and feed management. They have the option of having their records audited by an independent validation auditor to verify their efforts.
There are more than 80,000 beef producers across the country and because of that number and their geographic distribution, producer training has been the primary goal of the program, says Grajczyk. To date, more than 15,400 producers have participated in VBP training workshops, including over 750 producers who have chosen to complete the online version of the training course. The online version has been designed as easy to use, even for dial-up Internet connections.
Using a weighted average approach that means that 55 to 60 per cent of Canada s beef production is covered under the VBP program, says Grajczyk. As well, more than 700 of these producers have opted to proceed to the next step of having their cattle operations audited and become Registered.
Support from provincial governments has helped participation, adds Grajczyk. For example, support in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and PEI for workshops, equipment purchases and on-farm auditing is one reason producers are able to participate.