Ottawa announces $39 million in crop research funding

Ottawa will spend $39.3 million to support research that benefits the Canadian wheat, barley, soybean and field crop industries.

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence Macaulay announced the investment earlier today under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The money will be directed into four newly formed research clusters, each of which will be led by existing industry organizations.

• The Barley Cluster will receive $6.3 million and will be aimed at using science and technology to increase the use barley in food. The cluster will be led by the Barley Council of Canada.

• The Diverse Field Crop Cluster will receive $13.7 million and will focus on variety development, crop protection, production agronomy and value-added practices to support diverse crop growth. The cluster will be led by Ag-West Bio Inc.

• The Wheat Cluster will receive $13.9 million and will aim to develop new wheat varieties that deliver higher yields and improved fusarium head blight resistance.. The cluster will be led by the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition.

• The Soybean Cluster will receive $5.4 million and will be aimed at helping Canadian soybean crops become more resilient and productive. It will also attempt to increase the geographic range for growing soybeans. The cluster will be led by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance.

Ottawa’s total $39.3 million investment will be augmented by an additional $28.4 million in contributions from industry, for a total investment of $67.7 million.

“The government of Canada is proud to work side-by-side with industry to help keep the Canadian field crops sector on the cutting edge,” MacAulay said in a Jan 15 news release.

“Demand for our field crops continues to grow and these investments in innovation and research will help position our farmers to grow top quality products sustainably, while meeting consumer demands at home and abroad for years to come.”

Terry Young, chair of the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition, said the investment by the federal government in the Canadian National Wheat Cluster will maintain the high quality of Canadian wheat and lead to new opportunities for producers.

“This collaboration between government, producers and industry will allow for greater innovation in variety development and agronomic practices that will keep wheat production strong across the country,” Young said.

Brian Otto, chair of the Barley Council of Canada, said Ottawa’s support of barley research and innovation is “vitally important to the continued sustainability and profitability of the barley value chain.”

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