Canada’s livestock auction marts, assembly yards, privately owned community pastures, fairs and exhibitions will be able to get federal funding for upgrades that support farm gate-to-grocery traceability.
The federal government on July 10 pledged $20 million over the next three years from its Agricultural Flexibility Fund for a Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative, to upgrade handling systems in auction marts and other facilities in order to track individual animals as they’re mixed with other herds.
Contributions under the initiative are meant to help owners of commingling sites to alter animal handling structures, which could include physical infrastructure changes, building modifications or technical and trade services – for example, purchasing and installing gates or pens.
The goal, the government said, is to enhance traceability capacity at sites where live animals routinely commingle, as such sites are considered high-risk areas because diseases could be easily transmitted.
“A superior traceability system also helps protect the security of our food supply by allowing us to quickly and effectively track down a potential problem before it can spread,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release. “This will, in turn, help us open up new markets for Canadian livestock producers on the world stage.”
The government’s announcement follows a pledge from Canada’s federal and provincial agriculture ministers, who met this week at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., to implement a mandatory comprehensive national traceability system for livestock and poultry by 2011.