The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES), the Beef Cattle Research Council
(BCRC) and other beef industry partners are collaborating to strengthen local expertise dedicated to the sustainability and competitiveness of the Canadian beef industry. Specifically, the two organizations are pursuing the creation of a Research Chair in Beef Production Systems to increase the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of Canadian beef production.
While unique, this new position is highly complementary to existing beef cattle research at the UAlberta and across Canada. The aim is to build on local expertise to deliver practical applied research that combines genetic, forage, feed and management practices at the producer level, link it to new best practices and bolster management practices through the integration of new technologies.
An important outcome will be increased communication and technology transfer of beef cattle research at UAlberta to all industry stakeholders. Examples may include improved forage options that increases energetic efficiency, enhanced gut function reducing methane emissions (cow-burps), and/or selection for animals with enhanced health or resiliency resulting in less antibiotic use. Together, these would all help improve the economic sustainability of producers and environmental and social sustainability through lower greenhouse gas production and lower land, feed, water, and other resource use.
To ensure ongoing alignment between the Chair and the goals and objectives of the beef industry, the beef industry will participate in the candidate selection process and sit on an Industry Advisory Committee to consult on research, extension, and other strategic initiatives.
BCRC has committed $1.5 million over 10 years towards the creation of this research chair, subject to UAlberta securing matching funds. An individual beef producer has pledged a private gift of $1 million, leaving only $500,000 to be raised before September 30 to secure this position.