The Alberta Beef Industry is world renowned for having high-quality beef.

Beef was Alberta's largest agri-food export last year, and at $3.9 billion, it makes up 22 per cent of the province's total agri-food exports.

Because of the importance of the beef industry, both the Canadian and Alberta governments are going to provide the Alberta Beed Producers (ABP) with almost $1.9 million to go towards it's on-farm food safety program Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+).

This funding will come through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Through the VBP+ certification program, they provide in-person and online training, on-farm third-party audits, and certifications that beef producers adhere to the highest beef production standards.

On top of making it cheaper and easier to get the VBP+ certification, this funding will help the agricultural sector become stronger and more resilient for generations to come, as well as helping Albertans feel more confident that the beef they are eating is sustainably produced and safe.

"Alberta Beef Producers is a valuable partner that is helping our producers maintain a culture of safe and sustainable beef production. By supporting the refresh of Verified Beef Production Plus, we’re recognizing our producers for the great work they are already doing and giving them the support they need to improve their operations," explained Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation RJ Sigurdson in a media release from July 10th.

The Alberta Beef Producers will be using the funding to build on the VBP+ program to make sure they align with the national standards.

Through this funding, there will also be financial incentives for the beef producers.

Farmers and ranchers in Alberta will be able to access upwards of $5,000 to go towards approved expenses that will help their operation to align with the VBP+ certification guidelines.

Some of the approved expenses are the audit fees, livestock handling equipment, and herd management software.

On top of that, any operation that completes the VBP+ training, but has not achieved certification, is eligible to receive up to $2,500 for the same expenses.

Alberta Beef Producer Chair Brodie Haugan says this funding will allow for more outreach. 

"So producers should see more on-the-ground events happening, specifically pushing for training and what not for the program. We're really going to be pushing on the youth aspect, so really trying to get the 4-H groups and members, and as well, there's going to be an aboriginal portion with this."

The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3.5 billion, five-year investment by federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and is intended to help strengthen the competitiveness, resiliency, and innovation of Canada's agriculture sectors.

That $3.5 billion includes $1 billion in federal programs, as well as $2.5 billion that will be cost-shared, with 60 per cent from the federal government and the remaining 40 per cent from the provincial/territorial government for programs that will be designed and delivered by the provinces and territories,

Currently, there are 394 farms that are VBP+ certified and one million acres of native grassland in Alberta are managed by VBP+ verified operations.

To learn more about the Verified Beef Production Plus, click here.

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Alberta Beef Producer Chair Brodie Haugan click on the link below.