In response to the rising cost of importing beef, the provincial government has announced a project to help local farmers produce more high quality beef right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The government is looking for farmers with experience raising beef cattle who are interested in receiving a small herd of five female Hereford cattle for breeding. The farmers would have to enter a five-year research and development contract with the government.

“This type of activity represents a significant building block in the establishment of a viable beef industry for the province, and is an excellent illustration of this government’s commitment to involve industry in the red meat sector by engaging farmers in meaningful production activities at the primary level,” said Mervin Wiseman President, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture.

In 2016, the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources partnered with a farming operation based in Daniel’s Harbour to raise five beef cattle as a trial run of this project.

“This research project has resulted in significant growth and development in our operation. As opportunities to improve the genetics of provincial beef herds arise, this will be a game changer for the beef industry,” said Shawn Perry of Spruce Grove Dairy Farm.

So far assessments of the health and growth of the herd at Spruce Grove Dairy Farm has been positive and the government is ready to expand the project. The hope is that bringing more purebred cattle to the province will mean eventually farmers will be able to acquire breeding stock from within the local industry, allowing them to produce high quality beef without incurring the cost of transporting cattle from outside the province.

Increasing food-self sufficiency is one way the government hopes to create jobs and generate more revenue in the province. They are currently researching traditional and new production practices of crops and livestock with the aim of diversifying many different areas of the province’s agricultural industry.

The Beef Cattle Genetic Enhancement Demonstration Project is one of fifty projects designed to help the province become more food self-sufficient.