Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence – A Canadian Concept for Communicating about Dairy Cattle Care & Welfare

With a country as big as Canada, it might not be surprising to learn that there are numerous Canadian universities, from coast to coast, working in agriculture and agri-food. Nearly every province boasts a strong set of scientists producing new research to improve the way we produce food. The Canadian dairy industry is one strong example, where research on dairy cattle nutrition, health, and welfare are carried out in five veterinary colleges, and numerous other institutions. However, with so much new knowledge being produced, it may also not be surprising to learn that research results don’t always get spread to the appropriate audiences from coast to coast.

In spring of 2018, Dr. Steven Roche of ACER Consulting worked with Dr. David Kelton and the Dairy At Guelph team at the University of Guelph to bring scientists and industry together to discuss strategies for leveraging years of collaboration and investment within industry academia to extend the reach of our scientific communication efforts. With dairy cattle care and welfare being an important issue scientists and researchers are working on across the country, it was decided this would be the focus.

ACER were brought in to help draft a concept paper for the idea, that described the need for a coordinate effort, and the potential approaches that might be used to streamline scientific communication efforts moving forward. ACER were also asked to help coordinate and facilitate a number of meetings between key industry and academic representatives to further develop the idea.

Several workshops were held to discuss the concept, with members from:

  • Prominent universities involved in dairy research:
    • University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Guelph, McGill University
  • Dairy farmer organizations:
    • Dairy Farmers of Canada, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Producteurs de laitier du Quebec
  • Dairy processors:
    • Dairy Processors Association of Canada, Saputo, Gay Lea
  • Pharmaceutical companies:
    • Zoetis, Boeringher-Ingelheim
  • Allied industries:
    • Valacta, Novalait, CanWest DHI

These discussions led to a final concept paper that is now being used to pursue funding investments that will enable the Canadian dairy industry to coordinate a stronger national partnership to develop and share knowledge, information, research results, and resources to Canadian dairy producers, their on-farm advisors, and industry stakeholders across the value chain.


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Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph

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