Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

April 03, 2006

New Organic Dairy Centre to Open at Alfred

The University of Guelph today announced a new initiative at Collège d’Alfred that will bring together resources and expertise to provide research into the science of dairy production.

The Centre for Organic Dairy Research, led by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, has received more than $580,000 in financial support from the Canadian government through two councils funded by the federal Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Fund (ACAAF). The Ontario-based Agricultural Adaptation Council allocated $410,826 and the Conseil pour le développement de l’agriculture du Québec committed $176,069. Additional support was provided by the University, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Prescott-Russell Community Development Corporation.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Collège d’Alfred,” said Alan Wildeman, Guelph’s vice-president (research). “This will establish Alfred as an important research node in the dairy industry and will provide milk producers with a focused effort in organic agricultural production. We are grateful to the two councils for their support.”

The centre will include a certified organic dairy herd and associated research facilities, and will operate on a cost-recovery basis funded by milk sales. It will also be a conduit for information and technology generated by research at other institutions in North America and Europe, and will operate in both English and French. Research conducted at the facility will be coupled with outreach efforts designed to facilitate the transfer of the knowledge and technology to the dairy industry, both organic and conventional.

“Dairy farming is one sector where high demand is creating significant opportunities for growth,” said Marcel Couture, Collège d’Alfred’s interim director. “It requires support in the form of scientifically grounded research and technology, which we will be able to provide through this new centre.”

Consumer demand for organically produced food, including organic milk, is growing by 15 to 20 per cent a year in Canada. But the Canadian supply is unable to meet the demand, so about 85 per cent of the organic food sold here is currently imported. The Centre for Organic Dairy Research will be overseen by an executive director and an advisory committee made up of representatives of the dairy industry, farmers, processors and producer organizations.

“This project will assist in the development of a world- renowned organic dairy research centre, located right here in Ontario,” said Bette Jean Crews, chair of the Agricultural Adaptation Council. Roger Riverin, a representative of the Conseil pour le développement de l’agriculture du Québec, added: “At a moment when consumers are more and more sensitive to issues such as respect for the environment and animal welfare, this alternative approach offers an interesting and promising response.”

Collège d’Alfred is part of the University of Guelph’s network of Ontario Agricultural College campuses and research stations throughout Ontario. Located near Ottawa in the eastern Ontario town of Alfred, it offers diploma and certificate programs, which are all taught in French.

Marcel Couture, acting director, Collège d’Alfred, (613) 679-2218, Ext. 301
Nadine Buitenhuis, Agricultural Adaptation Council, (519) 822-7554

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824- 4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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