Ontario will soon be home to the most sophisticated sustainable livestock production research centre in Canada, thanks to a new facility planned by the University of Guelph and the provincial and federal governments.

The new $15.5-million Livestock Research and Innovation Centre (LRIC) — Beef Facility will open in about 18 months in Elora, Ont. The project involves U of G, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO).

“This new facility will expand and elevate our hub for world-class bovine research in Ontario,” Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president (research) said during a ceremony today. The event was attended by Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food, and Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, along with U of G and industry officials.

“The state-of-the-art centre will be equipped with the latest leading-edge technologies, and powered by University of Guelph’s research excellence in agri-food. It is an exceptional example of the potency of university-government-industry collaboration.”

Campbell added that the centre will drive fundamental research, helping fuel innovations that enhance livestock health and welfare and that strengthen Canada’s economy.

U of G will operate the facility under its partnership with OMAFRA.

Integrated and multidisciplinary, the centre will bring together scientists, students and stakeholders to study animal production and environmental and energy issues.

It will house leading-edge facilities for animal care and welfare, as well as for cow-calf, nutrition, genetics, forage and feedlot research.

Training and education at the centre will address the needs of the beef industry in Ontario and Canada.

Beef cattle at the Elora research station

The new facility will complement the $25-million Livestock Research Innovation Centre – Dairy Facility that opened in Elora in 2015.

It will replace beef facilities at the Elora Research Station that were built in 1969.

The Ontario government, through ARIO, committed $12.4 million to the project, and the federal government and BFO contributed $3.1 million in total.

“The federal government is proud to partner with the Province of Ontario to support research at a state-of-the-art beef research centre serving all of Eastern Canada,” MacAulay said.

“This investment will make the beef industry even stronger and more competitive, supporting jobs and economic growth in Ontario and across Canada.”

Leal added: “Research and innovation are key contributors to helping our agri-food industry continue to grow and thrive – that’s why our government is proud to be partnering with the University of Guelph to create this world-class research hub. This innovative facility will help grow the beef sector and ultimately provide our farmers with the tools they need to succeed. Today’s investment will support the growth of agriculture today and the farmers of tomorrow – bringing the good things grown in Ontario to consumers around the world.”