CALGARY, Alberta — Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel announced that $3,844,800, through the Western Diversification Program, is being earmarked to support establishing the Canadian Beef Center of Excellence in Calgary, Alberta. Creating the center will enable Canada Beef Inc. to further build Canadian beef brand loyalty with key emerging and international markets.

This facility is designed to help the industry test-market new products and receive feedback from consumers and others in the value-chain, plus it will help educate attendees on the unique product attributes that differentiates Canadian beef as a world-class product. It is further expected to be a focal point for the entire Canadian beef and veal industry, particularly in Western Canada, while supporting the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises' export presence in emerging markets by providing education, leadership, technical expertise and training, plus various marketing initiatives and product innovation activities.

Canada Beef Inc. was created when the Beef Information Centre (BIC) and Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) joined the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (National Check- Off Agency). Canada is the eighth- largest beef exporting country in the world with annual shipments worth $22.9 billion (US$21.4 billion) in 2013. It is the largest sector of the Canadian food manufacturing industry.

"Our government is proud to support this cutting-edge facility. This Center will give our industry a competitive advantage in showcasing Canada's top-quality meats and will allow our producers to capitalize on new and existing market opportunities." Ritz said.

""Our government is committed to finding ways to promote Canadian beef locally and internationally, while generating jobs and economic growth. By enabling local businesses to meet growing consumer expectations, we are helping increase the overall competitiveness of the industry," Rempel added.

"Canada Beef is delighted to be partnering with Western Economic Diversification Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to make the Canadian Beef Center of Excellence a reality. The Center of Excellence will further empower our industry to reach consumers and customers both here at home and around the world to build brand loyalty and generate new marketing opportunities. The Center of Excellence will be a nexus where the Canadian beef industry can drive innovation, build knowledge and awareness, foster important relationships and ultimately create value for Canadian beef and veal producers,” concluded Rob Meijer, President, Canada Beef Inc.