Earlier this week, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced nearly $7.7 million in funding for 46 crop-related research projects through the province’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).
“Research in agriculture is the key to maintaining a competitive edge, and that’s why the federal government, in partnership with provinces and agriculture organizations, invests in research," MacAulay said. "These millions of dollars invested into crops research in Saskatchewan over the years will help create growth and put more money in the pockets of farmers within the sector."
“Ongoing investments into research and development provide Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers the ability to be competitive in the global marketplace, while producing food sustainably,” Stewart said. “Continual innovation through the ADF leads to improved crop varieties, more value-added processing and cutting edge farming practices and knowledge, keeping our agriculture industry strong.”
Ag Minister Stewart also noted that for every $1 invested into the crop development center there's a $7 benefit to Saskatchewan producers when averaged across all crops. Minister Stewart also went on to say that 96% of all lentil crop in Saskatchewan are crop development center varieties. For every $1 that is invested in lentil research, there's a $29 return to Saskatchewan lentil producers.
The 46 projects receiving funding this year are diverse and include research on: improving plant breeding technology specifically to test for DON toxins that are the result of fusarium head blight infection in wheat; optimizing loss-sensing technology on farm equipment to minimize losses at harvest; and the development of a pulse-based replacement for shortening that can be used in baked goods, to name a few. Ag Minister Stewart noted the fusarium research was of particular interest to producers in Saskatchewan and could mean millions of dollars for producers in the future. This week's ADF announcement leverages significant funding from industry partners, on top of government funding. A total of almost $3.7 million is being committed from partner organizations that include Western Grains Research Foundation, SaskPulse, SaskCanola, SaskFlax, Sask Wheat and Alberta Wheat Commission.
“We welcome governments’ continued commitment to agricultural innovation,” Managing Director of the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan Kofi Agblor said. “The CDC has released more than 450 new varieties of crops since its inception, varieties that today account for significant acreage across the prairies, illustrating just how significant an economic contribution research makes to the agricultural economy. We look forward to continuing this important work.”
ADF funding is part of the $26.8 million the Government of Saskatchewan committed to agriculture research for 2016-17. Funding for ADF projects is provided under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
For the full list of projects, click here.