It’s an unavoidable part of livestock farming that sometimes, animals die on the farm unexpectedly. How to manage those situations is a problem the livestock industry has long been grappling with and looking to the provincial government for support in the search for solutions.
That’s why a recent announcement of a two-year, $1.5 million investment by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to help improve deadstock removal, handling and disposal is welcome news for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA).
The Deadstock Capacity Initiative, offered through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, is a cost-share program being delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council; project applications can be submitted from September 21, 2023 to February 1, 2024.
“As a former dairy farmer and now a chicken producer, I know firsthand how hard it is when livestock die unexpectedly on the farm and how important it is to have safe, practical and economically feasible disposal options,” says OFA Director Paul Maurice, who has been actively involved in the deadstock file and the search for long-term, sustainable solutions through his role with OFA.
Last year, in response to a request from OFA and Ontario livestock groups, OMAFRA provided funding for a research study to gain a better understanding of the deadstock issue in Ontario and develop recommendations for a path forward.
These include establishing a coordinating body to ensure ongoing development and implementation of solutions that respect geographic differences and the needs of the various livestock sectors in Ontario, and continued investment in sustainable deadstock management, particularly to ensure ensuring ongoing, uninterrupted collection.
This new program, notes Maurice, will help address some of the gaps and recommendations, and provide opportunities for the deadstock industry to streamline operations and improve accessibility by increasing capacities and establishing new service standards.
More information on the deadstock issues and how it affects Ontario livestock farmers is available here.