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President Peter Stoicheff and Deans Doug Freeman (veterinary medicine) and Mary Buhr (agriculture and bioresources), alongside A&W representatives Susan Senecal (incoming president and CEO), Jefferson Mooney (chairman emeritus) and Trish Sahlstrom (senior vice-president and chief commercial officer).

A&W Canada invests in U of S research centre

A&W Canada has made a substantial investment in the Canadian beef industry with a $5-million donation toward the University of Saskatchewan’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE).

The LFCE will be a multisite, multi-disciplinary research centre that focuses on the livestock production chain including forage, cow-calf, beef cattle production and environmental research.

“A&W is deeply committed to the Canadian beef and forage industry,” said Jefferson Mooney, chairman emeritus, A&W. “Our investment is an investment in the future of Canadian food and best practices to make that food.”

The donation will be used to fund the construction of the Livestock and Food Building at the LFCE site near Clavet, Sask., create a community outreach and engagement program, and to establish a visiting fellowship in One Health research.

“A&W, the University of Saskatchewan and Canadian ranchers all believe in good food, farmed with care. Together, we are forging new tools and techniques for healthy, sustainable growth,” said Susan Senecal, chief operating officer, A&W. “We are united in a passion for great beef.”

The Livestock and Food Building will be a significant part of the heart of the livestock operations at the LFCE and a major location for research activities. The building will also act as a hub for the community outreach program, which will offer presentations and seminars for both industry representatives and consumers.

Mary Buhr, dean of the U of S College of Agriculture and Bioresources, said this strategic relationship will add another dimension to the university’s One Health initiative and research that focuses on the link between beef production practices, environmental wellbeing, and human health and nutrition.

“The LFCE will take a holistic approach to understanding the relationship between human health, animal health and our environment,” Buhr said. “A&W’s extraordinary support is a demonstration of the power of teamwork to significantly improve the impact of innovative research and outreach on the livestock and forage industries.”

Douglas Freeman, dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, said the development of the LFCE wouldn’t be possible without the extraordinary partnership.

“Two areas of preeminence at the U of S converge with the LFCE: agriculture and One Health,” he said. “The centre also represents a unique partnership between the university, government and industry. The scale of partnership and collaboration are extraordinary. Working together we can accomplish so much more and have a major impact on health, production and food security. We’re excited to develop this new partnership with A&W and work together to achieve the promise and potential of the LFCE.”

Two new facilities for the LFCE are expected to be completed in the spring of 2018 and will complement current livestock and forage research sites. The LFCE, a partnership between the U of S, the livestock and forage industries, and the Saskatchewan and federal governments, will unite livestock and forage field laboratories and science labs in a collaborative centre with a total cost of $37.5 million.

Other funding contributions to date include $10 million from the federal and provincial government through the Growing Forward 2 program, $4.47 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada, $10 million from the U of S, and $1 million from the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association.

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