ArtiOTTAWA, ONTARIO – Applications for support designed to help the Canadian cattle industry become more competitive is now being accepted by the Government of Canada. Canadian slaughterhouses can now apply to the Abattoir Competitiveness Program and the Slaughter Waste Innovation Program, as announced in the 2010 Jobs and Growth Budget.

The Abattoir Competitiveness Program will make $25 million available to help Canadian cattle slaughterhouses maintain critical slaughter capacity in Canada for over-30-month-old (O.T.M.) cattle while the industry undertakes efforts to become more innovative and competitive when dealing with specified risk materials (S.R.M.). Federally, provincially and territorially inspected cattle slaughter facilities that slaughtered O.T.M. cattle in Canada during 2009 and 2010 calendar years will be eligible for support based on their 2010 production of SRM from O.T.M cattle in Canada.

The Slaughter Waste Innovation Program will make $40 million available to help drive research, development and adoption of innovative technologies or processes to reduce handling costs or return profits from the use or disposal of S.R.M. federally, provincially and territorially inspected cattle slaughterhouses; stand-alone businesses handling S.R.M.; and research or engineering firms in partnership with these parties or with livestock industry associations are eligible to apply.

Announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan to help the cattle sector adapt to cost pressures and improve its competitiveness, these programs were developed from the $500 million Agricultural Flexibility fund.

"We're working with cattle processors to make sure they can become more innovative with specified risk materials, which will help to make them more competitive and the entire value chain more profitable," said Gerry Ritz, Agriculture Minister.

"The cattle industry has faced a number of challenges over the last several years," said Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State [Agriculture]. "These programs will help the cattle-processing sector address short-term competitiveness issues and move towards a more efficient management of Specified Risk Material over the longer term."