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May 11, 2012

Olds College receives $945,000 for New Livestock Project

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The Government of Canada announced the support of 35 community colleges that will partner with businesses to conduct research projects in the areas of information and communications technologies, environmental technologies, natural resources and energy. The Honorable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology made the announcement while addressing the Polytechnics Canada Annual Conference on May 8, 2012.

“Collaboration between government, applied researchers and the private sector is vital to building an innovative economy,” said Minister Goodyear. “The College and Community Innovation Program supports research collaborations between companies and colleges. It illustrates the importance our government places on creating the conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive in this country.”

Olds College, University of Alberta and their industry partners’ proposal submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) under the new College-University Idea to Innovation program for a three year, $945,000 project entitled “Use of Genomic Tools to Improve Feed Efficiency in Purebred Hereford Cattle” was approved. This will mark the start of a new, and in some cases renewed, collaboration between Olds College, University of Alberta, Livestock Gentec, ARD, Canadian Hereford Association and the Integrated Beef Research Station (Cattleland).

 The project will allow the livestock industry to reap the benefits of the scientific research involving residual feed intake (RFI).  It will characterize RFI in purebred Hereford bulls, produce a RFI expected progeny difference (EPD) using both phenotypic and molecular information, and use genotypes to assist in the validation of an existing RFI single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panel produced by Livestock Gentec. This project will provide the means of identifying more efficient sires and improve the profit margin and competitiveness for many Canadian beef cattle producers.

“These investments provide Olds School of Agriculture, Olds College Farm and our students with access to the people, resources and tools they need to be at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Tanya McDonald, Dean, Olds College School of Agriculture. “Our students will benefit through active participation in the data collection and from the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with the University of Alberta and our industry partners,” she adds.  “The ultimate goal is create sustainable partnerships that will sharpen our innovative edge and have a positive impact on our country and industry.”

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