Governments of Canada and Manitoba investing up to $2.85 million for Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing up to $2.85 million over the next five years for Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives (MBFI) through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) in southwestern Manitoba.

“The Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives play an important role in peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and accelerating the adoption of best practices in the cattle sector,” said federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay. “Support for the organization will ensure they’re able to continue conducting innovative research that helps increase productivity while minimizing the sector’s carbon footprint.”

MBFI is a collaboration between Manitoba Beef Producers, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Manitoba Agriculture to undertake beef and forage research and demonstration trials with extension programming to support increased profitability and environmental sustainability in the beef industry.

“These funds will expand operational capacity for the MBFI program and will play a major role in continuing to create a successful and sustainable environment for beef producers,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “The more Manitoba farmers can adopt practices and technologies to increase productivity, mitigate risk and minimize carbon footprints, it will only increase the overall sustainability on our landscape.”

The funds will expand MBFI’s operational capacity by creating additional positions to focus on technology and field operations, as well as supports for outreach to producers. Funds will also expand the Manitoba Advanced Grazing Systems Mentor Program, connecting producers to peers with real-world experience in diverse grazing management systems.

“Through ongoing engagement with our beef and forage communities, MBFI outcomes will lower risks for producers by scientifically evaluating existing practices or creating new practices to promote excellence, efficiency and sustainability of practice on farms,” said Tracy Gilson, board chair, MBFI. “The commitment from our collaborators and the provincial and federal governments is critical to accelerating the beef and forage industries.”

Developed in 2014, MBFI operates two research and demonstration farms in western Manitoba where farm practices are evaluated at a field scale, including a research herd of more than 130 cow-calf pairs. The Brookdale farm provides the ideal landscape to study the interface between cattle and wetlands, and the Johnson farm provides replicated pastures ideal for research.

Since 2018, MBFI has worked with 28 collaborators to deliver more than 40 innovative studies to improve economic and environmental impacts of beef production. Research and demonstration projects include precision ranching, rangeland drought response, soil health assessment, pasture rejuvenation, habitat assessment, herd health and forage variety testing along with others, noted Johnson.

The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3.5-billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.