It was a big day for Saskatchewan’s Beef sector yesterday with the official opening of the U of S Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence at Clavet.

The $38 million dollar facility was funded through a variety of partners from the University of Saskatchewan to the Federal and Provincial Governments, Western Economic Diversification,  A & W, the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association and more.

University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff says this unique centre will research and model all aspects of raising livestock on the prairies, helping to meet the needs of producers and consumers in Canada, while also helping to sustainably produce food for a growing world population.

“It will break down barriers between academics and livestock and forage producers and bring scientists from across disciplines together to promote an integrated approach to solving industry issues.”

Provincial Agriculture Minister David Marit says the government is excited about the new facility and all it has to offer.

“ It’s nice to see these groups all come together and not without challenges. They obviously overcame some challenges that they worked through to get to where we are today. It’s a fantastic day! Really is a day to celebrate as a Government, the University, the Private sector, and the industry.”

SCA Chair Rick Toney sees the state of the art facility as an investment in the future of the beef industry when it comes to beef and forage research.

“I’m ecstatic about the opening of this Centre it will focus on research and keeping us at the leading edge for economics for quality. Forages are so important for our livestock industry because that’s what we’re feeding cattle; better forages will sequester more carbon. There are those environmental things and all the things that are going to keep our industry stable and this is where it’s going to happen. This centre holds our future.”

The facility will encompass research on everything from forage development to grazing management, cow-calf management, cattle reproduction, feedlot health, growth, and productivity.

The U of S Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence covers 27 quarters of land in two locations. The Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit includes a 1500 head capacity feedlot and intensive environmental monitoring. The Forage and Cow-Calf Research and Teaching Unit include 300 cows and the Goodale Research Farm includes 165 breeding cows, as well as horses, bison, and deer for research.

The University notes the Goodale site which is at Floral will be upgraded in 2019.

The director of the LFCE will be Kris Ringwall, a beef cattle specialist and former director of North Dakota State University’s Dickinson Research and Extension Centre.

Ringwall will start November 1 and will report to the deans of both the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

Funding for the $38 million dollar facility came from a number of sources. The University of Saskatchewan provided $11 million, while the federal and provincial governments provided another $10 million under the joint Growing Forward 2 agricultural research funding deal. Another $1 million came from the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA), the fast-food chain A&W donated $5 million, Western Economic Diversification provided $4.5 million with various other organizations providing smaller amounts. 

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