01/23/2013 11:29 EST | Updated 03/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Ottawa and Saskatchewan team up on agriculture research projects

SASKATOON - Ottawa is teaming up with Saskatchewan to kick in $3.2 million to the province's agriculture fund for 23 livestock and forage research projects.

The announcement was made Wednesday at a cattle industry conference in Saskatoon by federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and his provincial counterpart, Lyle Stewart.

Some of the items on the list include developing new vaccines for calves and poultry and developing new feed varieties.

There will also be field-testing of a vaccine for chronic wasting disease, a prion disease that affects deer and elk and is related to mad cow disease.

Ritz said that agriculture research is a priority for the federal government as each dollar invested generates significant returns at the farm gate.

Jack Hextall, who sits on the fund's board, called it good news for consumers as well as producers.

"This kind of research helps us develop a better product, at a better price, and it also helps to give people confidence that their food is being produced safely," he said.

The government funding leveraged another $3.1 million in third-party funding, giving the 23 projects a total of 6.5 million to work with.