Viterra will contribute $2 million to the Global Institute for Food Security over the next five years.
“We’ve had a lot of success in working with industry partners to find the best practices, whether those practices are in seed technology, items related to yield agronomic improvements,” said Viterra president Kyle Jeworski.
“We’re really confident that partnering with the Global Institute will result in improvements for the farmer base and for overall western Canadian agriculture.”
The University of Saskatchewan, PotashCorp and the Saskatchewan government established the institute last December to increase sustainable crop production, increase global food security and develop a bio-economy in Western Canada.
“What we’re about is facilitating research … of a particular kind,” said institute deputy director Ernie Barber.
“We’re doing it by investing in people that are in other units, so they’re colleges, they’re in other institutions such as the Natural Resource Council and AgFood Canada.”
Viterra’s contribution is in addition to the initial commitment of $35 million from PotashCorp and $15 million from the provincial government for the next seven years. The contributions will average $7.4 million a year.
The institute’s research projects will focus on healthy soil crop resiliency, value chain optimization and non-food bio-product and profitability.
Viterra will also provide land near its rural facilities for research projects and identify farmer participants for research trials.
“Along the lines of a broad geographic scope, again, we work very closely with our farmer base day in and day out,” Jeworski said.
The institute is now evaluating research proposals, some from agriculture graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan and hopes to make announcements early next year.
“If we invest $1 million a year in research teams, inevitably that will generate significant opportunities for graduate students in the sense there will be support for graduates, and might I say, undergraduates as well.”