A recently expanded Cargill canola research facility in Aberdeen, Sask., could lead to groundbreaking oilseed innovation, according to company officials at a grand unveiling Tuesday.
Renovations and a 14,000 square-foot expansion at the Cargill building come at a price of $3.5 million.
“It’s everything, from people to capital investments, to equipment, in order to achieve the type of output that we want from this program,” said Mark Christiansen, managing director of Cargill Global Edible Oil Solutions.
The facility, obtained about eight years ago by Cargill, now boasts an expanded pathology lab, a new quality assurance lab, a ventilated seed prep room, improved lighting and UV repelling windows.
The pathology lab can be used to develop canola strains resistant to disease like blackleg and clubroot. A growth chamber allows researchers to manipulate heat and moisture to test the efficacy of Cargill products.
“All of those innovations are going to help farmers get their crop in the field and off,” said SaskCanola executive director Janice Tranberg.
Even a kitchen and adjacent eating area are designed as a showcase for research and development.
“The people who aren’t in this business, who still have the interest to know where their food is coming from … this is what we do and it’s a very unique position for Cargill,” Christiansen said.
The announcement comes as the largest importer of Canadian canola plans to implement stricter regulations on the amount of waste product permitted in Canadian canola shipments.
Effective Thursday, China says it will only allow canola with no more than one per cent dockage in shipments – down from the present figure of 2.5 per cent.
SaskCanola is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is visiting China, to seek a “science-based solution.”
“It’s based on a disease and it doesn’t appear that by decreasing dockage, you decrease the transmission of that disease,” Tranberg said.
China is the recipient of 40 per cent of Canada’s canola exports.
With files from The Canadian Press