The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced funding last month for the development of a new state-of-the-art research facility at the Olds College Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TAC).
TAC will act as a technology training hub for regional livestock producers, as well as a research resource for students studying livestock production at the college. With a focus on beef cattle and sheep, TAC will be set up to help producers enhance production efficiency, herd health and animal welfare on their operations. The funding for TAC amounts to $350,000 per year for five years to support the core operations, and is renewable if the centre is successful.
“Every year research is conducted on new products, or on new practices that can really make a difference to the profitability of the beef industry,” said Stephen Scott, executive director of the Canadian Hereford Association. “Unfortunately, the commercialization of research outcomes into new on-farm practices is a rare occurrence. The Technology Access Centre will be a place for producers to bridge the gap between the newest science and implementation of these practices on their own operations. The centre will provide Alberta beef producers with the tools they need to remain competitive in a changing marketplace.”
Operating within Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI), the applied research arm of Olds College, TAC will be overseen by an advisory board with members drawn from the OCCI and various industry stakeholder groups.
“Olds College is known for its long-standing history in agriculture training, and this makes us the ideal location for the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production,” explains Tanya McDonald, acting vice-president of advancement at Olds College.
“TAC will allow us to work directly with producers in helping solve problems faced in every livestock operation.”
It will also help the college expand its collaborations with the University of Alberta, Livestock Gentec, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as well as individual producers.