Leading-Edge Dairy Research Facility Planned

January 11, 2012 - News Release

A new livestock research centre intended to model sustainable animal agriculture systems is being planned by the University of Guelph, the provincial government and the Ontario dairy industry.

The Research and Innovation Centre, Dairy Phase, will be built at the current site of Elora Research Station in Elora, Ont., one of the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) facilities operated by U of G under its partnership agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

Future phases of the project may include research facilities for swine, poultry and beef.

“This world-class facility will position Ontario at the forefront of innovation and technology development in agri-food, particularly for livestock research,” said Rich Moccia, U of G’s associate vice-president (strategic partnerships). “It’s an excellent example of the power of university, government and industry collaboration.”

Ted McMeekin, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, added: “This research and innovation centre shows how, working together, partners can build a strong future for Ontario agriculture and Ontario’s economy.”

Bill Emmott, chair of Dairy Farmers of Ontario, said his group’s involvement “represents a firm commitment to collaborative research with our industry, government and university partners.”

ARIO chair Stewart Cressman added: “We are the envy of other jurisdictions with our partnerships. Modernizing our research infrastructure with partners from government, the University of Guelph and industry is the only way we can work towards a prosperous, productive economy fuelled by the quality foods that our innovations yield.”

Agri-food is among the most important economic drivers in Ontario today, contributing $33 billion to the province’s gross domestic product and sustaining more than 700,000 jobs. The dairy industry alone contributes $5.5 billion to Canada’s GDP and 73,000 jobs.

Construction of the first phase of the new complex, involving both new facilities and renovations, is expected to begin later this year.

Besides providing cutting-edge technologies and infrastructure, the complex will bring together scientists from many disciplines to study rural/urban environmental, social and economic issues.

Research and innovation will cover human health; food safety; animal welfare, productivity and reproduction; new products and procedures; and bioengineering and renewable energy. The centre will use resources such as feed, water and energy more efficiently, and will spur development of new “rural knowledge centres” for bio-based products and green technologies.

The project is expected to provide 100 short-term construction jobs and 25 full-time positions at the Elora station.

The Elora livestock research complex is the latest example of the benefits of the U of G/OMAFRA partnership, Moccia said. “It promotes a research culture that contributes economically, environmentally and in human capital to Ontario. It’s based on developing knowledge in agricultural sciences at the University and mobilizing it into innovation, talent and agricultural industries and jobs for the province.”

Under the partnership, the University manages research and education programs and related facilities, three regional campuses at Alfred, Ridgetown and Kemptville, and 14 off-campus research facilities, including Elora, supported by annual funding from the Ontario government.

Begun in 1997, the agreement was renewed and improved in 2008. It returns more than $1.15 billion to the Ontario economy each year, and provides many social, environmental and health benefits for the industry and province.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1