The governments of Saskatchewan and Canada will invest a total of $9.8 million this year in 39 crop-related agricultural research projects.
The funding will be delivered through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund, one of the primary funding sources for agricultural research projects that benefit Saskatchewan crop producers.
“Saskatchewan’s agriculture sector has incredible growth potential and this targeted investment will help our producers and agri-businesses innovate to continue to deliver what the world needs,” said Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe in a joint news release issued Jan. 12.
“This investment supports the bold goals in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan that will see our crop production increase to 45 million tonnes, agriculture exports increase to $20 billion and value-added revenue increase to $10 billion.”
“Despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s crop sector has continued to work hard to ensure Canadians and families around the world have access to high-quality products,” added federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
“Investing in research helps producers grow the food the world needs in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. These applied research projects will help producers innovate and create growth.”
Financial support for ADF projects is awarded on a competitive basis to researchers involved in projects that are important to Saskatchewan’s crop producers.
In addition to funding provided by the federal and provincial governments, industry organizations will contribute more than $3.1 million to ADF projects approved in 2021.
Non-governmental support for the approved projects was provided this year by the Western Grains Research Foundation ($750,000), the Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers ($15,000), the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission ($40,000), the
Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission ($295,000), the Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission ($18,000), the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers ($1.04 million), the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission ($678,000), the Alberta Wheat Commission ($218,000) and the Manitoba Crop Alliance ($125,000).
Researchers at eight organizations and research institutions qualified for ADF funding this year.
Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon will receive nearly $5.8 million in ADF support. Other funding recipients are based at Agriculture Canada ($2.525 million), the University of British Columbia ($645,000), the University of Regina ($299,000), Saskatchewan Polytechnic ($249,000), Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification ($117,000), Carleton University in Ottawa ($97,800) and the University of Alberta ($78,000).
Pulse crop-related research projects garnered the lions share of this year’s ADF funding, securing a total of nearly $4.5 million, compared to $1.36 million for cereal crops, $864,000 for oilseeds, $404,000 for alternative crops and $95,000 for forages.
Projects related to general crop research will receive nearly $2.6 million.
Brett Halstead, chair of SaskWheat, said the ADF program provides critically important funding for innovative projects that will benefit Saskatchewan grain producers.
Approved 2021 projects related to the wheat industry include a pair of University of Saskatchewan projects that will look at maximizing disease resistance in wheat and increasing grain yield in CWRS wheat varieties while maintaining grain protein levels and baking quality.
“The ADF funding process allows (SaskWheat) to collaborate with other prairie crop commissions, connect with researchers and fund projects that are developing crop varieties with greater yield potentials and resistance to common pests and environmental stressors,” said Halstead.
“The benefits of farmer-funded research goes beyond the farmgate, increasing market opportunities for Canadian crops and leading to a stronger agriculture sector and provincial economy.”
The ADF is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.