By Kari Burnett, PAg, Agriculture Programs Specialist, Swift Current
On May 20, 2020, a new stream of the Assurance System Producer Program was created for grazing associations that operate on Crown land.
This stream provides a funding incentive for Crown land pasture grazing associations to improve participation in biosecurity and animal welfare initiatives for their pastures. Support is available to beef cattle grazing associations operating on Saskatchewan Crown land, including: former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) and Saskatchewan Pastures Program (SPP) community pastures, and other beef cattle grazing co-ops of various structures.
Biosecurity risks in a grazing association setting are elevated by the co-mingling of livestock from different operations. This can increase the risk of disease transfer. Therefore, a veterinarian assessment of the current facility and its operations can offer a better understanding of the risks for the grazing association. With an assessment and the creation of a plan, the veterinarian can provide direction on proper disease management and treatment protocols. The procurement of handling equipment can also benefit grazing associations by improving the welfare of animals during processing. Additionally, by having the appropriate handling equipment available for use by patrons and hired staff, animal assessments and treatments are made easier and the safety of both animals and workers is improved.
The Crown Land Pasture Grazing Association stream of the Assurance System Producer Program requires training or certification through Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+). Verified Beef Production Plus is a voluntary, market-oriented program administered by industry that certifies Canadian beef producers to meet the needs of the value chain. Verification programming has several benefits which can lead to improved animal care, biosecurity, on-farm food safety and environmental stewardship.
There are two funding levels available to Crown land pasture grazing associations: the training stream and the certification stream. Both streams require VBP+ training and the completion of a veterinarian assessment as well as a Biosecurity/Animal Welfare Equipment Recommendation Report. With two rebate streams, Crown land pasture grazing associations can make a choice. The equipment list has also been updated to reflect the needs of a grazing association.
The Assurance System Producer Program is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $388 million investment in strategic initiatives by the federal and provincial governments. For more information about VBP+ and the Assurance System Producer Program, please visit our Canadian Agricultural Partnership web page or contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre general inquiry line at 1-866-457-2377.