New generation of VBP programming planned
January 31, 2014
Verified Beef Production (VBP) is in the early stages of a project to add on-farm modules for biosecurity, animal care and environmental stewardship. In an easy-to-use manner that complements current farm level practices.
Question: Why is this being done?
A: In some markets there are indications that customers are asking for more assurances of sustainable production practices, and this is a way to respond to anticipated needs. This is an opportunity to look at ways producers can secure further recognition for credible production practices. Adding new options is expected to demonstrate Canada's beef industry commitment to responsible production. Other commodities are also doing this, and VBP as the practical delivery side had the potential to do these add-ons in a seamless manner.
Question: How will this fit with existing sustainability programs?
A: Previous and ongoing work will be used, including existing materials such as the beef biosecurity standard, Environmental Farm Plan, animal care code, and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. This includes educational materials and on-farm tools where appropriate.
Question: What is the expected timeline?
A: Initial exploration work has been completed over the past year, and funding support was secured in December 2013. Next steps include which modules will be adopted first and specific timelines for each. The funding covers the next three to four years through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Growing Forward 2 AgriMarketing program which is appreciated.
Question: What should producers know?
A: We are very aware that producers will want adequate input and to assist in finalizing specific details. We are in the early stages of determining a stakeholder consultation and participation plan, to ensure adequate oversight and input. As in the VBP program, we are aiming for practical/low-cost, achievable, flexible and credible programming. We will need producer guidance in this area. These modules are not geared to add extra work to a producer's day; rather the aim is to complement what producers do.
Question: When will we hear more on this?
A: There is plenty of behind-the-scene work underway, and when there are more, tangible steps completed, producers will hear about it. Those with comments or suggestions are welcome to contact us directly, either your provincial VBP coordinator or national VBP manager. Specific contact information is found under VBP Across Canada in the VBP website.