By Michelle Panko, BSA, PAg, Programs Branch
Tyler and Melanie Davidson, along with their two young daughters, own and operate Davidson Cattle Company. Their commercial Angus-Gelbvieh operation is located in southeast Saskatchewan near Qu'Appelle.
Verified Beef Production Plus is the Canadian beef industry’s recognized on-farm food safety program that includes animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship. In the fall of 2019, the Davidsons completed their Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) on-farm audit and received certification.
The goal of the VBP+ program is to increase consumer confidence in Canadian producers and how they raise their beef. The program allows producers to prove their practices are meeting national standards such as the Code of Practice for Beef Cattle Care, national beef biosecurity standard, and environmental farm plans. Consumers and companies are increasingly interested in how their food is produced, and this third-party certification program will assist in building transparency with customers and the international marketplace.
Verified Beef Production Plus is the certification body for the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB). The training producers receive from the program and standard operating procedures that must be implemented on farm align with the CRSB's definition of sustainable beef, which is a "socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes the planet, people, animals and progress."
With certification, the Davidsons will be selling calves from their VBP+ certified operation. Their calves have been age verified and registered in TrustBIX's Business Info Xchange for live animal traceability. They are hoping those animals will be processed through sustainable operations in the beef supply chain so they can receive financial credits back from the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration (CBSA) pilot program.
If you are a producer interested in becoming VBP+ certified, here are the steps you need to take:
- Take the VBP+ training (online or in-person workshop);
- Implement the standard operating procedures that are required. Keep necessary records. You will need six months of records (cow-calf) or three months of records (feedlot) before an auditor will review your operational practices;
- Complete the VBP+ on-site audit.
Saskatchewan cattle producers who complete the VBP+ audit and receive certification may be eligible to access federal-provincial cost-shared program funding under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Assurance System Producer Program. The program is designed to improve the understanding of livestock biosecurity and animal welfare needs and encourage the adoption of best practices through establishment of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, education and awareness, veterinarian assessments, and equipment funding.
For more information about VBP+ and the Assurance System Producer Program, please visit our Canadian Agricultural Partnership web pages or contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre general inquiry line at 1-866-457-2377.