Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grant program helps sheep producers with new technology

  • Improvements for flock management and traceability

Alberta’s sheep and lamb producers will be able to better identify and record movement of their animals thanks to a new Government of Alberta program funded through the federal-provincial Growing Forward initiative.

The Sheep RFID Technology Assistance Program is designed to encourage use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies in the sheep industry to improve animal tracking and movement recording.
"A traceability system is a win-win for Alberta sheep producers, the value chain and consumers," said federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "By helping to expand the livestock traceability system, our governments are reinforcing Alberta’s reputation for producing safe and high-quality food."

“This is great news for Alberta’s sheep industry as they transition to the use of RFID technology for animal identification and movement,” said Evan Berger, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “We have been working with Alberta Lamb Producers to develop this program that helps producers improve flock management and enhances the integrity of Alberta’s traceability system.”

The Sheep RFID Technology Assistance Program is aimed at improving Alberta’s sheep information and traceability systems to support animal health, public health, food safety and industry marketing initiatives and opportunities.

“Alberta Lamb Producers appreciates the support from Alberta Agriculture and Growing Forward in ensuring Alberta lamb producers are well positioned for traceability as well as gaining management benefits from RFID systems,” said Phil Kolodychuk, Chair of Alberta Lamb Producers. “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.”

This initiative will help producers purchase RFID equipment and software. Eligible expenses covered under the program include costs for hand-held readers, software and software installation and training costs.

The program, totaling $300,000, through Growing Forward, will be provided on a cost-shared basis with 70 per cent from the province and 30 per cent from the applicant to a maximum of $5,000 per sheep operation. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2012, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please visit Agriculture and Rural Development’s Growing Forward website for more information, including program application and terms and conditions. (click here)

In February 2011, Alberta announced the Sheep Electronic Identification Incentive Program to encourage the sheep industry to transition to RFID ear tags by reimbursing producers who had purchased RFID ear tags for lambs born between December 1, 2010 and November 30, 2012.

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