November 2020

Feed additives or genomics? Can cows be made to produce less GHGs?

Researchers are working hard to lower the carbon footprint of agriculture, particularly beef, through four main approaches. Gentec-associated researcher John Basarab, newly with UAlberta, talks to Gentec about genetics and food additives as possible solutions. Read more here.

Experts discuss food affordability and access

Gentec-associated researcher Ellen Goddard, Bob Lowe, President of the Canadian Cattleman’s Association, Gisèle Yasmeen, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada  and Joshna Maharaj, chef, activist and author of a new book, Take Back the Tray participated in a webinar on Food Affordability and Access hosted by The Globe and Mail with support from the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. Read her summary of the event here.

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Well, we're all facing a very different Holiday Season this year. For starters, there won't be a laser tag event at Gentec. Nonetheless, we send you our very best wishes for happy festivities with close friends and family, and a great 2021!
Be safe and well this holiday season!

Infographic: Cows get too much blame for climate change

Back in 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization published a study called Livestock's Long Shadow. It stated that livestock produced a staggering 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. In other words: livestock were doing more harm to the climate than all modes of transportation combined. That got a LOT of media attention. But the methodology was flawed. 18%….? Not true. The FAO and the senior author owned up to their error and published corrections. Unfortunately, those got almost NO media attention. Since then, scientists and the livestock industry have been trying to correct the misconception. This infographic shows more accurately who is producing the most methane. Spoiler alert: it's not cows.

What's happening in ag research?

Last month, we noted that Gentec-affiliated researcher John Basarab will be continuing his work at UAlberta. This is part of an evolving story. This month, we report that the Alberta government is funding an arm's-length agency to take over its responsibilities in ag research. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

What will it take for cell-based meat to make a dent in the market?

A large proportion of people polled say they are interested in trying cell-based meat or even making an important part of their diet. Before this happens, this new industry must prove that it can produce meaningful amounts of product. And that's just one of the hurdles. Read more here.

Alternative proteins

It takes years and resources to grow animals to eat; and months and other resources to grow plants that produce protein. On the other hand, protein-making microbes can double their mass in hours and could give traditional protein sources a serious run for their money in a world concerned with resource use and sustainability. Read more here.

Canadians trust their food system

Canadians are optimistic about their food supply, even as the supply chain faces exceptional pressure and scrutiny due to the pandemic. The food sector's response to the pandemic also received high praise from consumers. Download the study by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity that provided these results here.

Videos: The benefits of ag technology

Unfortunately, we couldn't bring you this video directly but you'll find it here, along with the comments from the Filipino farmer who planted GMO and non-GMO corn. When you see them side-by-side, knowing how much benefit a good crop can bring to consumers and farmers alike, it's hard to see the downside of technology.
Farmers in developing countries (eg, Patience Koku in the video above, and Adriel Alvarez in the one above that) want to grow biotech crops for their fellow citizens in spite of some local resistance.
Gene editing is a powerful technology that can change how (and if) we feed our growing global population. From turning gene expression on and off to tagging particular sequences fluorescently, this short animation explores some of its exciting possibilities.

The essential farming tool: iPhone

It's not necessarily that farmers spend less time in the fields these days, it's just that they take an extra tool with them. Like other Canadians, they are spending more time purchasing supplies online and participating in video conferences. Read more here.

Plant or animal protein?

While animal-based proteins are more "complete" in terms of the types of amino acids they contain, plant-based proteins must be combined to get the same result. This article provides an excellent and easy-to-understand explanation of how proteins work, what they do, and what to watch out for to make sure you don't end up with nutritional deficiencies.

Happy birthday, Human Genome!

It's been 30 years this month since the human genome project was launched. So much has happened in the field since then. Just think of Check out this podcast with Eric Green, director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute.


December 1. AIC Conference 2020 Session: A better investment climate – government investment and taxation. WEBINAR
December 2. Reproductive Failures in the Beef Herd. BCRC WEBINAR
December 8-10. Agricultural Excellence Conference. VIRTUAL
December 15. How to Digitize Your Farm. WEBINAR
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
January 6. Ontario Agricultural Conference. VIRTUAL
January 13. Meeting your Production Goals. Records for Animal Health and Performance. BCRC WEBINAR
January 27. Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference. VIRTUAL
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