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$1.9M in funding will help Alberta beef producers get farm food safety certified

Cattle graze at sunset near Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 8, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh) Cattle graze at sunset near Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 8, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
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The federal and provincial governments are providing nearly $2 million to help Alberta beef producers take part in an on-farm food safety certification program.

Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) will receive almost $1.9 million to make it easier and cheaper for producers to get Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) certified, through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the province announced W

“The VBP+ certification program provides in-person or online training, an on-farm third-party audit, and a certification that helps producers adhere to the highest standards of beef production,” the Government of Alberta said in a Wednesday news release.

“Altogether, the program ensures that Albertans feel confident that the beef on their tables is safe and sustainably produced.”

The funding will help the program align with the latest national standards and introduce new financial incentives for producers, the province said.

Farmers and ranchers will have access to a maximum of $5,000 for approved expenses that help them make their operations align with VBP+ guidelines.

Some of the approved expenses can include audit fees, livestock handling equipment and herd management software.

“Alberta Beef Producers is excited to see government support for the beef industry’s dedication to food safety, environmental stewardship, animal care and biosecurity. This funding supports the hard work of producers across this province who continue to deliver the world's best Alberta beef,” Brodie Haugan, the chair of Alberta Beef Producers, said in the release.

According to the Government of Alberta, beef was the province’s largest agri-food export in 2023, at $3.9 billion.

“By supporting the refresh of Verified Beef Production Plus, we’re recognizing our producers for the great work they are already doing and giving them the support they need to improve their operations,” RJ Sigurdson, Alberta’s minister of agriculture and irrigation, said.

The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3.5 billion investment from federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen Canada’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector.

“Beef producers right across Alberta care deeply about food safety, animal health and environmental stewardship,” Lawrence MacAulay, the federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, said.

“This vitally important funding will help them build on their already high standards and become even more sustainable, so they can keep providing top-quality, nutritious food to Canadians and folks around the world.”

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