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Growing Forward

February 19, 2014 It was with great pleasure that the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC) received the announcement that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will contribute $4 million to Canadian poultry research under the AgriInnovation Program (AIP), part of the Growing Forward 2 program.

The announcement was made yesterday at the Arkell Poultry Research Station, University of Guelph on February 18th. Funding will support a Poultry Science Cluster, which CPRC will administer.

A “cluster” brings together multidisciplinary teams of scientists to solve complex problems and to create synergies in research efforts. It is a way to make the most of available resources and supports a strong business case for investing in Canadian poultry research. Pooling intellectual and financial resources to address issues of common interest is a powerful way to maximize the impact of our collective investment in research.

“Our member organizations have made a strong commitment to Canadian poultry research in both funding and resources and take pleasure in partnering with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in this important initiative,” said Roelof Meijer, CPRC Chairman and turkey producer from Alberta.

The Poultry Science Cluster provides capacity to resolve many current issues facing the poultry industry. The unique cooperation among scientists, industry partners and government departments across Canada will synergize efforts to address these issues. The scale of the Cluster allows for basic research and more near-term, applied studies that will provide both immediate answers and future information for the poultry and food industries, as well as factors impacting consumer wellbeing.

“The cluster approach allows industry and researchers to take a longer term view than usual when planning and conducting research on important issues for the poultry industry, consumers and society in general,” said Meijer. “I offer my thanks to Minister Ritz for the federal government’s support of poultry research, which helps to ensure a vibrant and sustainable industry.”

April 1, 2013 marks the official launch of the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) policy framework for Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector. GF2 is a $3 billion dollar investment by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments and the foundation for government agricultural programs and services over the next five years.

More from the GF2 website »

CPRC submitted an application to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for a new five-year Poultry Science Cluster under the AgriInnovation Program (AIP), part of Growing Forward 2. The application is supported by a broad range of industry organizations and companies that have come together to provide resources to support the proposed research.

September 2012 Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture reached agreement on the content of the Growing Forward 2 policy framework for the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sector. The new five-year agreement includes investments in strategic initiatives of over $3 billion for innovation, competitiveness and market development, including a 50% increase in governments’ cost-shared initiatives.

More information is available from AAFC’s press release.

June 2012 CPRC, in cooperation with research partners across the country, is developing a comprehensive poultry research proposal to be ready for the start of Growing Forward 2, Canada’s next Agricultural Policy Framework. Consultation meetings are being held with poultry research stakeholders across the country.

November 2010 Member of Parliament Ed Fast (Abbotsford), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, officially announced that CPRC will receive up to $1.8 million to lead a Poultry Science Cluster. The Cluster brings together expertise from across the country to tackle some important research issues for the industry.

Click here to view Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) news release.

The funding comes from the Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations Program, a $158 million five-year program announced in May 2009 to support industry-led science and technology projects. The program is delivered nationally by AAFC as part of the federal commitment to Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative designed to support the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of our agriculture industry.

Activities within the Cluster can be divided into three main themes, which align with national research priorities:

  • The biology and control of gut-borne bacterial diseases in poultry
  • Biology and control of avian influenza in poultry
  • Innovative production technologies and practices for Canada’s poultry sector

The proposed research is divided into 11 core activities led by 21 principal scientists and a number of support personnel from the following institutions:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Montreal
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization

CPRC is contributing $589,000 towards the research over three years. Coupled with the funds from AAFC and those from other industry organizations ($170,000) and government offices ($293,000) plus in-kind contributions, the total Cluster budget exceeds $3 million. The following organizations are contributing funding for research within the Cluster:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Agriculture Funding Consortium (Alberta)
  • Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Canadian Poultry Research Council
  • DSM Nutritional Products
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Poultry Industry Council
  • Saskatchewan Agriculture Fund
  • Saskatchewan Chicken Industry Development Fund

This collaboration among scientists and support organizations is the core value of the cluster approach to research and is that which CPRC is developing as part of a national poultry science strategy. Pooling intellectual and financial resources to address issues of common interest is a powerful way to maximize the impact of our collective investment in research.

Research within the Poultry Science Cluster is scheduled for completion early in 2013. The work fits in well with Canada’s existing poultry research programs and promises to yield valuable information for the industry. Among the expected outcomes are a better understanding of certain poultry diseases, novel means of their control, and recommendations on management practices that will further improve poultry health and welfare. We will bring you details on the outcomes of this research as it becomes available.

January 2010 Major milestones are often best achieved through partnership. The Growing Forward program as delivered nationally by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is an excellent opportunity for the poultry sector to partner with federal government to bolster Canada’s poultry research effort. CPRC, on behalf of the Canadian poultry sector, assembled an application to AAFC to create a poultry science “cluster”. The application involves a number of scientists across Canada working in collaboration to address national research priorities. If the application is successful (results of the review are expected early in 2010), the cluster will secure considerable government funding to match industry’s investment, including previously untapped AAFC support for poultry research.

September 2009 Growing Forward, the new agricultural policy framework delivered nationally by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), is designed to help Canadian agriculture turn new ideas and technologies into viable market opportunities. Programs emerging from Growing Forward represent opportunities for the Canadian poultry sector to partner with AAFC in supporting new research. On behalf of the sector, CPRC, in conjunction with universities, government and industry organizations are developing an application under the “Canadian Agri-Science Clusters” initiative. A “cluster” is a group of scientists with varied, complementary expertise from a range of institutions working towards a common goal. The cluster application will cover three main themes, which are consistent with CPRC’s 2009 research priorities. They are:

1. Biology and control of avian influenza in poultry
2. The pathogenesis and control of enteric bacterial diseases in poultry
3. Innovative production technologies and practices for Canada’s poultry sector

CPRC has committed up to $600,000 over three years for the program. Regional industry organizations across Canada have been given the opportunity to review the proposal and invited to participate in the application to AAFC. Their participation will increase the scope of the research program. Pooling industry funds to address issues of common interest is a powerful way to maximize the impact of our collective investment in research.

July 2009 On May 29, the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture announced $158 million to support industry-led innovation initiatives through the Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations Program. The program will be delivered nationally by AAFC as part of the federal commitment to Growing Forward, the new agricultural policy framework. The program is designed to help Canadian farmers turn new ideas and technologies into viable market opportunities.

On June 1, Dr. Jacques Surprenant, Science Director, Livestock Production Systems, AAFC presented to CPRC the details of the program, with emphasis on the funding opportunities that may be of most interest to the poultry sector. CPRC is investigating those opportunities. Dr. Surprenant was also present at the SAC meeting June 2. Part of that meeting was a discussion on the potential for individual research proposals to be integrated into one or more grant applications to Growing Forward. This application(s) would be made by CPRC on behalf of Canada’s poultry sector and, if successful, could result in a 3:1 match of industry dollars for research – a significant multiplication of industry dollars. The CPRC continues to build the Canadian poultry sector’s relationship with the Research Branch of AAFC and embraces the opportunity to partner through Growing Forward. Where appropriate, the CPRC will also be considering partnering with other funding bodies, such as NSERC, to support poultry research in Canada.


Poultry Welfare Centre

January 2013 A recent addition to the Centre is Dr. Alexandra Harlander-Matauschek, who moved in January to Guelph from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Dr. Harlander-Matauschek is interested in continuing her past work on feather-pecking in laying hens, and is embarking on a study to determine if common commercial strains of layers differ in locomotory skill development and their ability to adapt to complex production environments such as aviaries. Results from this research will provide the layer industry with information to help select birds that are appropriate for the production system in which they are placed and adjust management practices that help prepare young birds for those different environments. Dr. Harlander-Matauschek is also collaborating on a study looking at the impact of ammonia on the welfare of layers, broilers and turkeys.

January 2012 The Department of Animal & Poultry Science at the University of Guelph has announced a new Assistant Professor position specializing in Poultry Welfare. Please click here for details of the position and how to apply.

December 2010 As part of Poultry Welfare Centre, the University of Guelph is pleased to announce a new PhD Scholarship in Poultry Welfare. Applications are due March 1, 2010. Please click here for program details.

April 2009 Canada’s poultry industry announced in April 2009 the formation of a “virtual centre” of poultry behaviour and welfare at the University of Guelph (UofG). The centre consists of a cluster of welfare experts at the University that will communicate and collaborate with animal and poultry welfare scientists across the country. The four-way agreement, signed by the Poultry Industry Council (PIC), CPRC, AAFC and the UofG, includes assignment of an AAFC research scientist, Dr. Stephanie Torrey, to the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at Guelph, which represents a significant step forward in AAFC’s support of the poultry sector. Dr. Torrey is developing her research program at Guelph and is collaborating with scientists across Canada on a variety of projects relating to poultry welfare. An Advisory Committee with representatives of each of the four signing partners will help develop the cluster and provide advice regarding its overall research strategies.

January 2008 Efforts are ongoing towards development of a Poultry Welfare Research Cluster in Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has been a partner in this initiative from the start and, since the process began, has moved, to a large extent, to seeking financial partnerships when staffing new positions. As a result, industry funding on the order of $50,000 per year for 5 years is being sought to support staffing a Lead with appropriate support for this national poultry welfare cluster. The position will be an AAFC scientist co-located at the University of Guelph. It has been suggested that the industry support be split between the CPRC Members ($30,000 per year) to reflect the national scope of this initiative and the poultry industry of Ontario ($20,000 per year) where the successful candidate will be located. This industry contribution would be leveraged 8:1 with other sources for 5 years; the estimated annual budget for the Cluster is $401,700, including salary & benefits for the Lead, technical support, graduate student support, office & lab space, research supplies, travel & publications and outreach & technology transfer activities. After 5 years, the position will continue without further cash inputs from industry. Creation of this welfare cluster position represents a unique opportunity to secure AAFC support for a new poultry scientist for Canada. The successful candidate will not only produce new welfare-related research in Canada, but will perform a coordinating role to foster collaboration among researchers across Canada working to improve the welfare of our birds. Both the CPRC Members and the Poultry Industry Council Board of Directors are considering the proposed funding structure.

July 2007 The selection committee reviewed the 6 proposals for leadership of a Canadian Virtual Centre for Poultry Welfare Research, then met June 6 to score and rank the proposals. After reviewing the applications and selection committee recommendations, the CPRC Directors will, on behalf of the Canadian poultry industry, present to AAFC their recommendation for the institution(s) most appropriate to lead the Centre.


Strategic Planning

June 2012 The draft National Poultry Research Strategy is presently being reviewed and discussed by the poultry production sector and is being made available to other industry stakeholders for comment. This important document identifies issues that are important to poultry producers and their industry partners and it will establish CPRC’s agenda for the next several years.

December 2011 Input from the 2010 workshop has been incorporated into a new draft National Poultry Research Strategy that is being reviewed by industry, researchers and other stakeholders for further comment. The national poultry organizations have had an important influence on the direction of the strategy.

May 2010 The CPRC hosted “Canada’s Poultry Research Program”, a workshop held in Ottawa May 12 and 13, 2010. The event examined Canada’s current poultry research program, assessed its research priorities, and discussed its future direction. Specifically, the stated purpose of the workshop was to work toward the development of a National Poultry Research Program in Canada by:

  • Reviewing the current poultry research agenda in Canada, and identifying any key research gaps.
  • Clarifying the emerging issues, challenges and opportunities for the poultry industry in Canada, and the associated research implications/needs.
  • Obtaining feedback on a draft Science Strategy for Canada’s Poultry Sector (proposed by CPRC for discussion) in light of the needs, current agenda and gaps.
  • Clarifying the role of CPRC and other key players in funding and implementing the strategy.

December 2009 Significant among CPRC’s activities in 2009 were visits with a number of organizations across Canada that have a stake in poultry research. Feedback from these organizations and discussions with CPRC’s members revealed a clear need and desire for CPRC to play a greater role in coordinating a national poultry research program thereby maximizing Canada’s poultry research investment. Pursuing a Canadian poultry science cluster is considered a significant step in the right direction, however the scope of the cluster is only the beginning of what might be accomplished in the future. CPRC will continue to communicate with funding agencies and other poultry research stakeholders in developing a national poultry research strategy that will foster much more coordination and put Canada’s poultry sector in a better position to take full advantage of future opportunities.

January 2008 CPRC Members have provided valuable feedback on the first draft of the strategy implementation plan. A revised draft incorporating these comments has been distributed. Further revisions will be made after receiving reaction from CEMA, which is anticipated mid-February. Staff are aiming for Director approval of an implementation plan at the Annual General Meeting scheduled in March.

November 2007 CPRC staff have submitted the first draft of a plan designed to implement CPRC’s strategic plan. The document recommends various actions towards achieving the objectives listed in the Strategic Planning Session report. CPRC Directors are now considering these actions (and the resources required to carry them out) and will vote on which should be pursued. Depending on the extent of new activities approved, CPRC may adjust its level of staffing.