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Beef breeder program gets economic development nod

Temiskaming-Cochrane Breeder Co-op program helps finance herd expansion
Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc. was recognized for its beef breeder program, which helps farmers expand their herds and makes farming more sustainable. (Supplied photo)

A program that helps expand beef agriculture in northeastern Ontario has been recognized for its economic development efforts.

The Temiskaming-Cochrane Breeder Co-op Bovine Expansion program was named Project of the Year during the 2018 Community Economic Development Awards on Sept. 18 in Timmins. The project is an initiative of Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc., which provides funding and resources to support economic development in the region.

Under the project, the local breeder co-op administers financing to area beef farmers to help expand their herds and make the farm operation more sustainable in the long term, the organization notes in a Sept. 26 news release.

“Part of the program is interest-free money. It’s a way for farmers to grow the market, grow the area, expand the beef industry and keeps families and youth in the area,” the organization says.

“It lets farmers grow animals that use marginal lands that can’t be cropped for human consumption and allows the cattle to turn cellulose into protein which benefits everyone in the economy."

Over the last 15 years of its operation, the program has provided $4.2 million to 158 co-op members. There has never been a missed payment and there has never been a write-off, so the money keeps circulating in the local community, the group notes.

Project partners include FedNor, Farm Credit Canada, Beef Breeder Co-op and only four out of 61 Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) offices, which includes Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc.