“Greening” Manitoba cattle industry a priority

“Greening” Manitoba cattle industry a priority
Province’s cattle producers teaming up with local student researchers in unique partnership

Winnipeg, MB - March 27, 2009 – Four graduate students from the University of Manitoba will be working closely with cattle producers to improve productivity of Manitoba cattle operations while at the same time working to further reduce greenhouse gases.

“The provincial government encourages research that supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from a number of sources including livestock, which is one of the province’s largest sources of GHG emissions,” said Manitoba’s Science Technology Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau.  “This research demonstrates how environmental and economic sustainability can go hand in hand.”

The students were connected with the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association (MCPA) through the MITACS ACCELERATE Internship Program, which links the province’s up-and-coming university-based researchers with local companies, community associations and other organizations through short-term research projects. The program is supported by the Manitoba Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy & Mines and Industry Canada.

The project is in response to new provincial and federal land-use policies aimed at minimizing the environmental footprint of the agriculture industry. “Manitoba’s cattle industry has long been one of our provinces most environmentally responsible and positive industries” said Sheila Mowat, General Manager of the MCPA. ”This project builds on our environmental track record of working to reduce our carbon footprint while enhancing the productivity of our industry. The MITACS ACCELERATE Program is enabling us to access the expertise necessary to make this happen.”

Over the next year, the four interns will examine various cow diets and the resulting levels of pathogens and methane produced by the animals under Manitoba’s unique climate conditions. The goal of the research is to identify the ideal amount of protein in cow diet to maximize production while minimizing harmful greenhouse gases and pathogens.

“I want to congratulate these four students for undertaking this important research project through the MITACS ACCELERATE Internship Program,” said the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology. “Our government supports science and technology that improves the lives of Canadians, creates jobs and strengthens the economy.”

“Manitoba’s young researchers are an invaluable asset,” said Dr. Arvind Gupta, Scientific Director of MITACS. “This project is just one example of the type of positive impact which the connections resulting from the MITACS ACCELERATE Internship Program will have on the Province’s environment and economy.”

One of the MITACS ACCELERATE interns working on this project is Ashley Gschaid, a PhD candidate in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Manitoba. “Having been raised on a farm, I am very interested to apply my research to actual issues faced by the cattle industry,” said Ms. Gschaid. “I am confident that my internship research will be of value to cattle producers in Manitoba.”

In April 2008, the Government of Manitoba made a three-year, $425,000 commitment to the MITACS ACCELERATE Internship Program.

MITACS is a federally-funded research network with offices across Canada, including Winnipeg. It brings together academia, industry and the public sector through research and training initiatives to develop cutting edge tools vital to the knowledge-based economy. In 2003, MITACS established a first-of-its-kind internship program, MITACS ACCELERATE, which connects Canadian graduate students and their professors with companies to facilitate knowledge transfer and introduce the private sector to the research expertise within Canada’s universities. For more information about the MITACS ACCELERATE program visit www.mitacs.ca.



Media contact

ErinRose Handy
Manager, Communications
604-754-1440 | ehandy@mitacs.ca
Monique Rodrigues
Senior Communications Specialist
604-347-6837 | msilvarodrigues@mitacs.ca