Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada news release
Canada’s productive agricultural lands are an important asset for our hardworking farmers, a strategic resource essential for maintaining global food security and the sector’s continued profitability. Over the last 35 years, Canada’s average crop area per farm has doubled, accounting for over 90 million acres in 2016, or nearly 60 percent of total farm area. Research plays a critical role in sustaining and managing Canadian crop production.
Today, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, announced an investment of up to $6.3 million in funding to the Western Grains Research Foundation for a five-year Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Program. With an added industry contribution of up to $2.7 million, up to $9.0 million will be directed to agronomy research into multi-crop, integrated crop production that will help keep farmers on the leading edge.
Agronomy, or the science and practice of crop production and farmland management, brings together knowledge of how plants, soils, insects, microorganisms and climate interact with each other in a given area. Research completed under this science cluster will focus on resiliency to climate change, improving the sustainability of crops in multi-crop, whole-farm cropping systems, and knowledge and technology transfer. This is the first AgriScience Cluster focussed solely on agronomy research.
Today’s announcement is part of Minister MacAulay’s ‘Growing Canadian Agriculture’ tour, where he will meet with farmers, processors and industry leaders, as well as participate in rural agricultural events across the country, to hear ideas on how to capture new growth opportunities for the sector.
“Research and innovation are vital to growing and sustaining Canadian crop production. Demand for our grains and other field crops continues to grow around the world and the Government of Canada is working hard to help farmers meet that demand, today and for years to come, through strategic investments in science and cutting edge research.”
– Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
“Producers face many agronomic challenges that cut across multiple crops. The focus of this Cluster is to use an integrated approach to study agronomic issues for everything from soil health, crop rotations, adapting to climate change and dealing with threats such as weeds, insects and disease. The research projects included address many of these agronomic challenges and will aim to find solutions to production threats, as well as further develop sustainable and resilient cropping systems.”
– Dr. Keith Degenhardt, Chair of the Research Committee, Western Grain Research Foundation
• Canadian field crops accounted for 158.7 million acres in 2016, with 2017 crop receipts totalled $34.1 billion.
• The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. The Partnership builds on Growing Forward 2, the previous five-year agreement that ended on March 31, 2018.
• The Partnership includes programs and activities to enhance the competitiveness of the sector through research, science and innovation.
• Through the AgriScience Program, a five-year, up to $338 million initiative, the government is supporting leading edge discovery and applied science, and innovation driven by industry research priorities.