WGRF research budget to hit $18 million next year

The Western Grain Research Foundation will spend $18 million next year to support field crop research that benefits western Canadian farmers.

The WGRF announced its 2015 research spending plans this week, following a Nov. 19 board meeting held in Saskatoon.

“WGRF is the largest producer funder of crop research in Canada,” said board chair Dave Sefton in a Nov. 27 news release.

“Crop research is vital for the development of new farm management practices and improved crop varieties.… WGRF invests in research covering a variety of field crops. As producers we should be very proud of this investment because we will be the ones who benefit most from this increased commitment to research.”

Executive director Garth Patterson stressed the importance of the foundation’s ongoing relationships with member organizations and research funding partners.

The WGRF has a goal to increase research investments that benefit western Canadian farmers.

Its 2015 WGRF research budget of $18 million is more than double the $7.3 million that it invested last year.

Recent spending highlights include:

• A $5 million contribution to the Genome Canada Large Scale Applied Research Project.

• A five-year, $2.16 million investment in a program known as the Systems Approach to Crop Sustainability. It will focus on agronomic practices that enhance the sustainability of crop production by identifying and promoting improved agronomic and management practices.

• A $100,000 per year rotational contribution to graduate scholarship programs in agriculture based at the University of Manitoba, the University of Saskatchewan and University of Alberta.

• A $9.6 million contribution to programming delivered through the five-year, $25 million wheat cluster.

• A $1.5 million contribution to programming delivered through the five-year, $11.2 million barley cluster.

The foundation has also commissioned a study to evaluate agronomy research capacity in Western Canada. Its findings are expected to be announced in the next few months.

“WGRF is committed to continued collaboration on agricultural research funding at both the federal and provincial levels to leverage public, private producer and private industry investments into crop research to increase the industry’s competitiveness” said Patterson.

“WGRF is currently co-funding with 30 organizations on more than 125 research projects worth over $22 million.”

The WGRF board comprises 18 producer representatives from western Canadian agricultural organizations.

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