Alberta unveils new ag research group

A new plan for farmer-led research was revealed today by Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen.

Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) is described as a non-profit, arm’s length agriculture research organization. Dreeshen said its formation was a result of January consultations with farmers, ranchers and the agriculture industry.

An interim board was announced, headed by Dr. David Chalack as chair. Chalack chaired the former Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency before it was dissolved in 2016 through budget cuts.

Dr. Gerald Hauer was named interim CEO of the new entity. Hauer is the former chief veterinary officer for the province and most recently headed the livestock and crops research branch with the department.

Clinton Dobson is the research director. He is the former director of Alberta Agriculture’s innovation grant section and former research manager with ALMA.

Other board members include:

o Brian Otto

o Tom Steve

o Kelly Smith-Fraser

o Nichole Neubauer

o Dr. Stanford Blade

o Matt Sawyer

o Melissa Downing

o Vance Yaremko

“It is imperative that agriculture research in Alberta achieves outcomes that can be applied in the field and on the ranch,” said a news release about RDAR.

In the same release, Dreeshen said he views the new group as a “massive springboard” for economic growth.

“We will make sure farmers direct research priorities. RDAR will ensure Alberta’s agriculture industry has more financial flexibility and autonomy to fund longer-term projects. Governments shouldn’t force ideology on research priorities – research priorities should be determined by industry,” said Dreeshen.

The group will be provided with $2 million in grant funding to support its initial setup. According to a proposed timeline, the research agenda is expected to be finalized by December and then a permanent board of directors, chair and other members will be installed between January and March 2021.

The government’s 2020 budget included agriculture research funding of $37 million.

Contact barb.glen@producer.com

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