In a progressive move to bolster agronomic research, the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) has confirmed sanctioning more than $7.6 million for the second phase of the Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster (ICAC). This generous funding has been facilitated by continuous support and collaborative partnership with Minister Lawrence MacAulay and the Government of Canada.
The recent announcement detailed a breakdown of the five-year Cluster’s funding. Of the total $7.6 million, the AgriScience Clusters under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) contribute over $4 million. WGRF provides more than $1.9 million, and the remaining $1.5 million is chipped in by industry collaborators.
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay emphasized the significance of agronomic practices that foster resilience and bolster crop production, accentuating their importance to the Canadian economic landscape. He elaborated, “The nationwide research facilitated by this cluster will offer innovative solutions to prevailing agronomic challenges, augmenting profitability and endorsing environmentally-conscious practices to future-proof the sector.”
Laura Reiter, the Chair of the WGRF Board, highlighted the integrated approach of the ICAC, which goes beyond evaluating individual crops. She mentioned, “By studying the interplay of crops within a system, ICAC empowers WGRF to support broad-spectrum agronomic research, equipping farmers with insights and tools to surmount agronomic challenges.”
Scheduled to span from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2028, the Agronomy Cluster will finance seven distinct projects. These initiatives resonate with the core research objectives of both WGRF and the Sustainable CAP. The research endeavors will prioritize agronomic challenges, heightening sector profitability, amplifying carbon capture, curtailing nitrous oxide emissions, and enhancing resilience against climatic shifts and herbicide resistance.
Wayne Thompson, the Executive Director of WGRF, expressed his optimism, drawing from the successful outcomes of the maiden Agronomy Cluster. He elaborated on the synergy required in sculpting such a unique cluster, appreciating the diligence and concerted efforts of all researchers and co-funders in this initiative.
Several esteemed research bodies will be partaking in these efforts, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation, and universities like the University of Alberta, Brandon University, University of Manitoba, Manitoba Agriculture, and the University of Saskatchewan.
In acknowledgment, WGRF extended gratitude to all ICAC funders, including key players like Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, and the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, among others.
With this strategic funding, the agricultural sector is poised for transformative research outcomes, fostering a sustainable and productive future.