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University of Calgary receives animal health research boost

22 October 2020

The governments of Canada and Alberta are investing in farmer-led research and animal health diagnostics at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

The $3.44 million agreements were finalised in March and will help the faculty launch a pilot project to expand its diagnostic service unit for animal disease diagnosis and welfare until February 2024.

This will create an animal disease and diagnosis welfare capacity at the university, which will provide diagnostic pathology, bacteriology and other testing services to the province’s veterinarians.

Devin Dreeshen, Alberta's Minister of Agriculture and Forestry said, “Quick, readily available animal health diagnostics are essential to helping Alberta’s vets support our agriculture sector. This agreement will ensure the University of Calgary will be able to substantially increase their capacity so that they can better serve our farmers and ranchers.”

The pilot project is a made-in-Alberta solution for quicker, more affordable results for vets and producers, and greater learning opportunities for the university’s students.

Research is key to the success Alberta’s farmers and ranchers. It draws in strategic investments that create high-quality and rewarding jobs while ensuring that agriculture continues to lead Alberta’s economic recovery.

This agreement is a part of the Alberta government’s commitment to ensuring farmers and ranchers lead agriculture research priorities, not government. Establishing Results Driven Agriculture Research, an arm’s-length, non-profit corporation, is a first step in making sure research funding priorities are producer-led. Over the long term, RDAR will assume ongoing responsibility for the funding agreement with the University of Calgary.

Jason Juan, MLA for Calgary Foothills commented, “Calgary is already home to one of Canada’s leading veterinary medicine programmes and expanding the University’s enhanced animal welfare and disease diagnosis capacity is a natural fit. This investment in agriculture research supports our province’s livestock sector and creates jobs, keeping highly skilled workers employed right here in Alberta.”

Under this new model, agricultural research in Alberta will lead to tangible benefits for farmers, including higher profits, a more abundant food supply at lower cost for Albertans and ultimately a higher quality of life in rural communities.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said, "Our livestock producers take great pride in caring for the health and well-being of their animals. Increased access to quick and affordable diagnostic testing will support them in managing their livestock health, so they can continue to put safe, quality food on the tables of Canadians.”

Quick facts

The grant is comprised of the following

  • $2.04 million from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership
  • $1.4 million from the Strategic Research and Development Program

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments, with the aim of strengthening the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity.

Programmes and activities are focused on:

  • Growing trade and expanding markets
  • Innovative and sustainable growth of the sector
  • Supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector

In Alberta, the partnership has committed a federal-provincial investment of up to $406 million over five years towards strategic programs and services that are aligned to national objectives and tailored to priorities in Alberta.



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