The Alberta Beef Forage and Grazing Centre
The concept for the Alberta Beef, Forage and Grazing Centre arose from concerns expressed to the Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development by individual beef producers and forage/beef interest groups about a lack of essential applied forage research and extension available to beef producers in Alberta. A research-extension group called the Western Forage Beef Group had operated as a federal-provincial organization out of the Lacombe Research Station, from 1995 to 2005, and had a focused approach to these issues. The concerns and inquiries expressed the necessity for a similar group to address current industry issues. Subsequently, focus groups were organized and carried out by a third party, which confirmed the interest and the need for a renewed research and extension effort in the forage-beef area. This led to the formation of a steering committee in the summer of 2011, with representatives from ARD, AAFC, University of Alberta (U of A), Alberta Beef Producers (ABP), Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA), Alberta Forage Industry Network (AFIN) and the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association (CFGA). Support for the concept was recognized throughout all levels of industry and government.
In April of 2015, The Alberta Beef, Forage and Grazing Centre became a reality, with a tripartite agreement between Alberta Beef Producers (ABP), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). It has the mission of developing and transferring knowledge, innovative processes and tools to improve the forage/beef industry.
The Centre utilizes existing AAFC and AF facilities and staff, with a small cash infusion from ABP to assist with core funding and extension initiatives. Operating primarily virtually, it is a network concept, bringing stakeholders together.