As part of its push to achieve "modern" agriculture, China has been ramping up subsidies for improved livestock breeds. Initially, the subsidies have been focused on dairy cattle and hogs. Now there are plans to expand the program to beef cattle and sheep. September 3-5, the Ministry of Agriculture is holding a training conference in Changchun for 150 officials from veterinary and breeding stations who are in charge of carrying out the program.
According to the Ministry, there are already clear results from the program. Over half of dairy cattle are covered by the subsidy and national milk production per cow has risen about 10%. The utilization of boar breeding in project areas has risen ten-fold and the rate of artificial insemination has risen 8-10 percentage points nationally. Dairy and hog farmers’ subsidies for breed improvement have increase their incomes about 23 billion yuan with clear increases in profits. The breeding system has been improved. Dairy cattle breed improvement subsidies have rapidly increased the construction of breeding stations and strengthened the farmers’ knowledge of good quality semen. Hog breeding stations have also been built and a network of artificial insemination stations has been established. The project has also reduced the spread of disease, set up a grass roots network of technical support teams for the basis of a modern livestock industry.
The coverage of the program will be expanded in 2009 and funding will increase to include pilot projects for beef cattle, sheep breed improvement. The director of the Ministry's animal husbandry office stressed that each region should take on greater responsibility and urgency in implementing the program in 2009. Grasp supervision of the breeding and semen quality; standardize utilization of funding; stable advancement of beef and sheep breed improvement pilots; provide sufficient manpower to arrange the hog breed subsidies; preserve livestock farm profits.