March 7, 2014
Vaccination programs are an integral part of our livestock industry. Animal health and productivity have improved and vaccinating animals at key points in the production chain help prevent losses due to disease at the ranch and the feedlot. Building immunity in the herd also reduces the need to treat sick animals. There are currently many different vaccine delivery methods and schedules available to cow-calf producers. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Dr. Philip Griebel of the University of Saskatchewan is studying the efficacy of intranasal vaccination as a strategy to prevent pneumonia in fall weaned calves. More>>
March 4, 2014
One of the province’s largest processors, JBS Food Canada Inc. (JBS) in Brooks, is taking a proactive approach to advancing employee safety and efficiency, and improving margins through increased competitiveness. With the help of an Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) grant, JBS Brooks will relocate plant equipment to improve team member safety in the head bench area, and alter the process used to recover beef cheek and head meat in an effort to extend market reach. More>>
February 28, 2014
On February 26, Northlands launched Alberta Flavour, an initiative that helps small-to-medium sized Alberta processors succeed in the provincial market. By field-testing local food products on foodservice menus, processors gain valuable experience in marketing their product to consumers. This will help meet the consumer demand for more high-quality local food options, while also helping to increase the amount of Alberta food on consumers’ plates.
Edmonton-based Siwin Foods has successfully piloted the initiative with their potstickers (pictured) and Northlands is looking to replicate their success with Latin Foods and Calahoo Meats. ALMA is proud to be part of the introductory stages of this initiative and is looking forward to seeing its future success.
February 27, 2014
Based in Leduc, Siwin Foods is a domestic food company with international ambitions. A subsidiary of Yantai Xiwang Foods Company of China, Siwin was established in 2004 and operated out of leased space at the Leduc Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator (APBI). Siwin produces a range of ready-to-eat meals with a heavy focus on Asian cuisine. Over the last ten years, Siwin has been struggling with production bottlenecks at the APBI space due to its rapid growth. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Siwin is building a new $13 million processing plant in Edmonton. More>>
February 25, 2014
Diseases can spread rapidly through swine herds. In these situations, the best course of action is to either quickly isolate or treat infected animals to prevent further infections. Unfortunately, many contagious diseases can spread before an affected animal starts showing outward signs of illness. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Dr. Nigel Cook of the Lacombe Research Centre is evaluating infrared technology that can potentially detect ill animals sooner, leading to quicker treatment and more effective disease control. More>>
February 21, 2014
Understanding potential market needs and listening to consumer demands undoubtedly influences diversification in any business. High River Colony (High River) is tackling automation and efficiency plans to meet the demand pull of consumers and markets that pay premiums for high quality, locally-raised and processed poultry products. More>>
February 11, 2014
Despite being one of the most troublesome diseases in the dairy industry, Johne’s disease is not commonly treated through vaccination. In fact, no vaccines for Johne’s disease are registered in Canada.
As Dr. Jeroen De Buck of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine explains, “One of the major concerns with current Johne’s vaccines is that they only prevent clinical symptoms and don’t protect against infection. Therefore, cattle can still become infectious and spread the infection.”
Currently, Johne’s disease transmission is avoided through best practices and mitigation strategies; however, Dr. De Buck’s research team is looking to find a way around the various obstacles that prevent effective Johne’s vaccination. With the help of funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Alberta Milk, the team is conducting research to create a vaccine that prevents Johne’s infection. More>>
February 7, 2014
Change within an Alberta livestock and meat industry association is sometimes needed to maintain relevance and effectiveness. With this in mind, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) underwent major restructuring to increase its accountability to industry and provide a unifying voice for beef breeds in Canada. More>>
January 31, 2013
In towns throughout rural Alberta, there is often a small set of businesses that form the town’s nucleus. Bashaw Meats is one of those businesses in the town of 900 in central Alberta. The butcher shop was purchased by Carrie and Darren Pearson in 2003. The Pearsons operated the business out of the original location – a building nearing a century old - until Alberta Health Services health inspectors issued a shutdown in 2011, leaving the future of Bashaw Meats in doubt. With the support of the community and matching funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Bashaw Meats has reopened with a new building and ambitious plans for the future. More>>
January 28, 2014
Alberta’s cattle see their feed change rapidly throughout their growth cycle. Milk and fresh grasses give way to stockpiled forages or dry hay and grain as the calves grow. The feed shift is compounded by other unique challenges for Albertan cattle like the distances they must travel from farm to auction and then auction to feedlot. During periods spent in loading areas and trailers, animals can go hours without sufficient access to feed. Many animals bear the interruption without any problems. Some, however, do not.
Like rapid shifts in feed, feed restriction can contribute to acidosis – a situation where acid builds in the animal’s stomach, the inner lining becomes inflamed and ulcers form. This compromises gut function, making it difficult for the animal to properly breakdown and absorb nutrients from its feed. If gut function cannot recover, the condition will develop into full blown acidosis.
Dr. Gregory Penner of the University of Saskatchewan has spent years studying acidosis and related factors. His recently completed research project focused on the problem of feed restriction in feedlot cattle and its impact on gut function. More>>
January 23, 2014
High pressure processing (HPP), the application of high pressure to packaged products, is an extensively-researched area for meat processing. HPP can maintain many product quality attributes while providing other benefits, such as a reduction in processing time, and a reduction or elimination of bacteria and pathogens with a resultant increase of shelf life. With funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Dr. Haihong Wang recently led a team of researchers in determining the optimum HPP processing parameters for increasing shelf life of ready-to-eat meats and fresh marinated beef steaks while maintaining sensory and functional properties of these products. More>>
January 21, 2014
Reddi Food Group has seen rapid growth from the original company (Reddi Food Solutions) Wayne Porterfield founded in 2011. Porterfield first started operating out of a suite at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s (ARD) Food Processing Development Centre (FPDC) in Leduc. Reddi Food Solutions grew its customer base by offering a range of case-ready fresh and value- added products. The small company was nimble enough to provide a range of custom processing solutions to their clients and pilot their productions lines at FPDC. The company continued to add clients and eventually the space in Leduc wasn’t enough for its growing clientele.
Porterfield and Western Quality Meats in Calgary decided to merge in March 2013 to form Reddi Food Group. Reddi Food Solutions gained a Calgary processing and distribution location and Western Quality Meats adding product lines, equipment, new clients, and processing management to their business. The combined entity took Reddi Food from a small to a medium-sized processor, but the real growth has just begun. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Reddi Food Group (Reddi Food) is renovating its processing environment, adding new products and partnering up with other companies looking to expand their market share. More>>
January 17, 2014
Located at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Prairie Diagnostic Services (PDS) provides commercial testing services for animal health. It handles a significant amount of the laboratory diagnostics for large animals in Western Canada, including cattle, pigs, poultry and bison. PDS has the largest capacity and the most diverse test offering of the three publicly-funded veterinary labs in the West. With support from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD),the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Agricultural Development Fund (ADF), and the federal-provincial-territorial Growing Forward 2 framework, PDS is looking to broaden the diagnostic services it offers to Western Canada’s meat and livestock industries. More>>
January 14, 2014
Centennial Foodservice (Centennial) has come a long way from its meat packing days. During its 47 years of operation, Centennial has grown into a reliable and successful food wholesaler and manufacturer. This includes federally-inspected butcher shops and processing rooms in Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary, as well as a grinding facility that makes the Sterling Silver burger – the company’s unique creation. Products produced in these facilities are fed into their significant foodservice distribution network, comprised of eight locations in Western Canada, and sales to retail and non-distributive customers across Canada. More>>
January 9, 2014
Just a little reminder that ALMA is still accepting LOIs for this funding cycle (by March 2014) and we are looking for your transformative ideas. In order to be considered for funding this year, the final deadline for LOIs will be Friday, January 24, 2014 through our online application system. Please apply to www.fundingconsortium.gov.ab.ca/ALMA under the ALMA Research and Development Program.
Projects can be between 20K to 500K, anywhere from novel research ideas to commercialization. All projects must deliver outcomes that will address an industry priority or issue.
Note: Any LOIs that have previously been declined by ALMA in 2013-2014 will not considered for funding.
January 6, 2014
Christmas lights coming down in provincial neighbourhoods traditionally mark more than just the end of the Yuletide season. For turkey producers, the combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas coincidentally marks their biggest time of year. In fact, the two holidays account for over 75 per cent of turkey sold in Canada all year. By collaborating with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and other industry partners, Alberta Turkey Producers (ATP) is hoping to convince consumers to add turkey to their everyday meal plans. More>>
January 3, 2014
The Straw Man Team – David Andrews, John Kolk and Kim McConnell – have issued a report, “Recommendations from the Straw Man Process”. The report is also posted on the website www.strawmanbeef.ca along with an appendix containing additional background information.
The following is a message from the team:
This is a report on advancing the Canadian beef INDUSTRY. It is not a strategy for an individual business enterprise like a ranch, a feedlot, a packer or a retail or food service company. Nor is it a strategy for industry associations; each of these are important and require their own strategy that is relevant to the members they serve. It is an ‘industry initiative’ composed of building blocks that will support existing enterprises and organizations aimed at enhancing the overall profitability, competitiveness and synergist alignment of Canada’s beef industry from genetics to retail.
We invite you to read this relatively short, easy-to-read report. And we encourage you to discuss the recommendations with your friends, neighbours, colleagues and business partners from all sectors of the beef supply chain … and keep the industry moving forward.
With the release of the report, the straw man process has come to an end. We were moved by the involvement and significant level of engagement from a large number of people across the entire beef industry spectrum. We are inspired by the commitment and desire of individuals and all sectors of the industry to capitalize on the ‘shining light opportunity’ and the future prosperity that lies within the grasp of the beef industry. And as three individuals who are passionate about the success of Canada’s beef industry, we are very grateful for the encouragement provided to us as we accepted the challenge to inspire dialogue and action. Thank you to each of you for your input, your support and your commitment to move the industry forward.
The Straw Man Team
David Andrews John Kolk Kim McConnell
December 19, 2013
Respiratory infections are a serious issue for the pig industry. Even when an animal is treated and recovers, lung scarring can lower the carcass value for the producer and the processor. Three bacterial pathogens, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, Actinobacillus suis and Haemophilus parasuis are responsible for respiratory infections that directly result in major losses to the pig industry world-wide. More>>
December 17, 2013
The inside of a broiler breeder barn is a balancing act. Chick production is the main concern of a producer in the Canadian hatching egg industry, but on a practical level, it all comes down to weight and feeding of their breeding flock. Breeder hens produce best when they are at their ideal weight. If a hen is over or under fed, then her egg production and fertility decline. The same impact can be felt if a rooster is over or under fed, as his mating success drops and overall flock productivity suffers. Maintaining an entire flock at their ideal weight, however, is an extremely difficult task. Chickens have a rigid hierarchy with dominant birds clustered at the top. When it comes to feed time, these dominant birds push to the front and gorge themselves. The smaller, submissive birds are left waiting for a chance to get at any feed that lingers after the larger birds are satiated - this is where the term pecking order originates, after all. More>>
December 13, 2013
Canadian Premium Meats Inc. (CPM) is a federally-inspected slaughter and meat processing facility in Lacombe, Alberta. The plant serves a variety of meat marketing companies by offering custom slaughter and wholesale processing. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), CPM is upgrading its equipment to make it easier for its customers to export their products to international markets. More>>
December 12, 2013
FutureFare is the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency’s annual feature celebration of Alberta’s dynamic agricultural leaders who, with foresight and an industrious spirit, are helping transform Alberta’s meat and livestock sector.
Join us at Futurefare 2014: Feeding the Demand on June 16 and 17, 2014, to discover the names and faces behind the innovative projects navigating industry forward. This year's conference consists of an evening fireside chat on June 16 and a full-day conference on June 17.
We look forward to seeing you there! Click here to register now.
December 12, 2013
Enterococcus species, microflora found in the intestinal tract of poultry and other bird species, causes serious diseases resulting in significant losses in Albertan and Canadian broiler flocks. With an Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency grant, a team of researchers, led by Dr. Susantha Gomis of the University of Saskatchewan, are investigating sources of infection and appropriate prevention and control methods to minimize industry losses. More>>
December 6, 2013
Dr. David Bressler of the University of Alberta is well-known in the meat and livestock industry for taking processing byproducts and turning them into marketable biomaterials. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Dr. Bressler’s current research project focuses on using whey – a byproduct of the cheese-making industry – to produce ethanol. More>>
December 3, 2013
Edmonton-based Select Ready Foods Inc. (Select Ready) produces quality, frozen Alberta meat products for Canadian food service and retail customers. With funds from two Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) grants, Select Ready will soon have the capacity to develop a total of 10 new food items using Alberta pork. More>>
December 2, 2013
Shaun Haney, RealAgriculture.com, interviews David Andrews about the recent Beef Industry Straw Man meeting place and the goal in creating a Canadian beef industry strategy. For more information about this initiative, visit http://www.strawmanbeef.ca/ and click here to listen to the interview on RealAgriculture.com.
November 29, 2013
Alberta’s cattle enjoy carefully designed diets that contribute to the quality and nutrition of the meat they produce. In addition to forage, grains and minerals, cattle feed includes vitamins and other essential nutrients. In order to improve meat quality, feed managers and researchers are constantly testing new feed combinations. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Dr. Mike Dugan of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is studying the effects that high dietary concentrations of vitamin E have on the quality of beef. More>>
November 25, 2013
ALMA would like to congratulate Kim McConnell for winning the 2013 W.R. Motherwell Award for his dedication to the Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) of Canada program. This program is designed to recognize farm operators aged 18-39 who show excellence in Canadian agriculture. This year’s recipients were Michael Kalisvaart and Karen Jansen from Gibbons, Alberta and James and Amanda Kinsman from Berwick, Nova Scotia.
Click here to learn more about the 2013 OYF Awards.
November 25, 2013
Sustainability and environmental stewardship are a reality in all industries and agriculture is no exception. APC Nutrition Ltd. (APC) is meeting this reality and making good on their motto, “Reclaim. Renew. Return.” With the help of an Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) grant, APC has purchased specialized equipment to salvage beef blood plasma and return it to the marketplace in the form of a high-quality animal food protein additive. More>>
November 20, 2013
High Hydrostatic Pressure (HHP) processing is gaining acceptance as an effective tool to eliminate pathogenic organisms and increase food safety. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, Drs. Lynn McMullen and Michael Gänzle of the University of Alberta are assembling a research team to evaluate the effects of low temperatures on the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and other spoilage organisms. The findings will be used to increase the efficacy of HHP processing. More>>
November 15, 2013
The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency is proud to present FutureFare 2014 on June 16-17, 2014 at the River Cree Resort. Registration opens in December, but we strongly urge you to mark those days now to ensure your attendance.
We look forward to seeing you in June.
November 15, 2013
ALMA would like to pass on congratulations to Gastropost for its two recent victories in the area of social media. Gastropost received a Gold Award at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards and an EPPY award, the latter of which is a worldwide competition held by Editor & Publisher magazine.
Gastropost is an exciting way for food lovers in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to share photos on the respective websites and social media channels. These photos complete weekly food missions such as “Just Desserts” or “Eat Local,” which are then published in the National Post.
To learn more, please click here to check out their Edmonton website.
November 7, 2013
Folic acid is a familiar supplement for mothers-to-be, but there are many other nutrients that play an important role in fetal development. Choline is known to be essential for fetal development and maternal health, but dietary choline intake is difficult to estimate. This is due to limitations in the available information on the sources and amount of choline in local foods, and is further complicated by the presence of several forms of choline. University of Alberta professors Curtis, Field and Jacobs are combining their interests in the fields of human nutrition, food science and analytical chemistry to make the case for a wider awareness of the importance of adequate choline intake for optimal health, especially during the periods of pregnancy and lactation for women and during infant development. More>>
November 4, 2013
At this week’s North American Meat Association’s (NAMA) Outlook Conference in Chicago, Canada’s Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz, spoke to the importance of eliminating Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) on Canadian products.
With an established annual loss of $1 billion to Canadian agricultural industries, recent changes to COOL could mean that this number will increase in the coming years. This is why Canada is getting ready to impose retaliatory tariffs with authorization from the World Trade Organization next year. Items such as beef, pork, wine and sugar products are among the products that Canada will look to add tariffs to should COOL remain in effect.
Minister Ritz was joined at NAMA by Alberta Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson, Alberta Agriculture Deputy Minister Jason Krips, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn. ALMA President and CEO, Gordon Cove, was also in attendance and endorsed Ritz’s message. “Minister Ritz’s address today was essential in delivering strong and effective messaging on COOL to an American audience,” said Cove. “COOL hits hard on Canadian industries, but our industries are not the only ones feeling the effects. That’s why we need to start considering moving this discussion to a place that creates circumstances that work better for everyone.”