The dairy cattle industry formed the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) which located itself in Guelph. Dr. Jim Wilton was a member of their first Board of Directors to provide input from the research community. Collaboration between CDN and CGIL is important to future improvements in genetic evaluation technology in dairy cattle. Collaboration of individual faculty with specific artificial insemination organizations or breed associations have also been formed.
Milk recording in dairy cattle also had to be taken over from AAFC, although this was already partially accomplished by each province. There was an urgency for the provinces to work together to control costs and to standardize programs. Vision 2000 was the new milk recording program which came online in late 1999. The dairy industry is working hard on a Data Exchange System in order to reduce duplication and become more cost effective for dairy producers, as well as offering more flexible services.
Lastly, the separate artificial insemination organizations in Canada joined under the Semex Alliance umbrella. They formed one sire selection group, a marketing group, and tried to streamline operations across Canada. Alta Genetics, however, separated from Semex and joined forces with the US and the Netherlands to compete against the Semex Alliance within Canada and worldwide.
During the last six years, Canada has seen the number of bulls in the top 100 worldwide lists shrink from 12 down to 1. Government moves to free trade have also caused fears about the future of the Canadian dairy industry. A big challenge for CGIL, in all species, is to get information on our research projects out to individual producers in an easily understandable format.
In a move to improve efficiency and reduce duplication, research dollars in the dairy sector were consolidated into a group called DairyGen, a committee of CDN. Consequently, research dollars from artificial insemination and breed associations are contributed to DairyGen rather than those organizations working separately with researchers. Thus, CGIL dairy researchers must request funds from DairyGen, who will obtain matching dollars from the federal government, e.g. Ag Canada's MII program. Also, researchers can obtain matching funds from the federal government (NSERC CRD Program) for industry sponsored research.