Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability


Canada's Verified Beef Production program continues solid growth

Posted: June 19, 2012

Canada's on farm food safety program for beef, the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program, continues to attract strong beef producer participation across the country. That is good news for the national beef industry which is aggressively building its international brand on buyer confidence.

"Both the participation levels and the trends they represent are important," says Terry Grajczyk, national manager of the VBP program for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. "Particularly rewarding and valuable for those involved with the program are the comments from producers participating on its value and ease of use."

Numbers show there is overall growth across Canada with 16, 597 beef operations trained in VBP. Two thirds of Canada's beef production now comes from VBP-trained operations. That's a 10 percent increase from the previous year. Percent of cow calf participation is at 38 percent and feedlot, 82 percent.

One particularly interesting statistic is the participation in the online training geared for dial-up users, says Grajczyk. Producers have the option of completing the initial training at their own pace online which makes it widely available. This past year, a total of 1,135 producers completed online training, a more than 50 percent increase from the previous year.

The number of "Registered" operations, those which have their operations audited by a qualified third party validation auditor, also increased markedly, with a 35 percent increase over the previous year. Alberta and Manitoba producers led in that growth. "We're approaching the 1,000 mark for producers nationally who have taken the steps to be Registered," says Grajczyk.

Comments from VBP producers show they understand the value of the program and appreciate its ease of use, says Grajczyk. As an example, one participant said: "The audit process was simply a matter of showing the auditor around the operation, answering any questions and then reviewing herd records and answering any further questions."

Another said: "The message I'd like other producers to see is that there is value in this VBP program. It's professionalizing our feedlot or your farm. At the end of the day we handle food and the consumer wants to know that it is being handled properly. This is a vehicle to do that."

"Canada's beef producers have built a reputation for acting responsibly and the participation levels are a way for the industry to reinforce that," says Grajczyk.

More information on VBP is available at www.verifiedbeef.org.

Partial support for this news release is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Growing Forward initiative.