Saskatchewan agriculture got a boost from both the federal and provincial governments on Tuesday.
Nearly $10 million in funding will be distributed to 39 crop-related research projects through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).
“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,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food.
“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.”
Research project-funding is being awarded on a competitive basis.
“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 Scott Moe, Saskatchewan premier.
“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.”
In addition to the $9.8 million in funding, $3.1 million will also be available for funding these research projects, thanks to a number of agricultural businesses.
“Sask Wheat has invested $12.9 million of producer funding through the ADF process since 2015. The program provides opportunities for quality, innovative projects that will benefit Saskatchewan grain producers,” said Brett Halstead, Sask Wheat chair.
“The ADF funding process allows us 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.
“The benefits of farmer-funded research goes beyond farm gate, increasing market opportunities for Canadian crops and leading to a stronger agriculture sector and provincial economy.”
Nearly $5.8 million of the $9.8 million will go to 18 wide-ranging University of Saskatchewan (USask) crop research projects.
Crop research being done looks into disease-resistant and nutritious crops, human health applications of cannabis, biodegradable plastics made of plants, and tracing the carbon footprint of an agricultural operation.
“This major investment in USask research is indicative of the key role the university plays in growing Saskatchewan’s capacity as a world leader in the agricultural sector,” said Karen Chad, USask vice-president of research.
“The adoption of new agricultural technologies and creation of competitive, value-added products has the potential for real-life benefits, including new jobs and increased economic prosperity for the province.”
ADF is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership which is a five-year, $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments.
It includes a $388-million investment for Saskatchewan agriculture.