From FCC Express, by Owen Roberts
Farmers in Ontario say the new Livestock Research and Innovation Centre being built at the University of Guelph’s agricultural research station near Elora is a solid investment in the future of their sector.
A ceremony was held last Friday adjacent to the construction site to recognize the start of the $25-million first phase of the centre, which is expected to open next fall. An array of heavy equipment and earth-moving gear has already been activated for site preparation.
The centre will initially be dedicated to dairy research. Other commodities are expected to be added as the facility progresses, as are additional research partners. Research and innovation at the centre will cover human health, food safety, animal welfare, productivity and reproduction, bioengineering and renewable energy.
The dairy centre is described as a one-stop, state-of-the-art facility for research, education and training. It is intended to bring scientists, industry personnel and farmers together to address challenges and opportunities in the dairy sector. Across its three campuses, Guelph has 60 researchers involved in various aspects of dairy research.
The dairy facility is being developed by the Livestock Innovation Research Corporation, with a $20 million investment by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs, and $5 million from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. The facility is owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and managed by the university.
Speakers at the ceremony noted that the centre will help develop high quality personnel for the research-intensive dairy sector and provide unbiased research results.
“This facility will provide science-based solutions to problems facing the sector,” said institute chair Stewart Cressman, a livestock producer from Petersburg. “It will drive efficiency in production, quality and safety.”
“We need an effort like this to develop and keep livestock expertise in Ontario,” said corporation chair Ralph Dietrich, a dairy producer from Mildmay. “This facility is breaking down barriers between commodities to make livestock and poultry as good as it can be. It, and all it represents, gives me additional hope for the future of the industry and for being able to someday transfer my farm to my kids.”