Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and Dr. Keith Degenhardt, Vice-Chair of the farmer-funded Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), announced their renewed commitment to wheat and barley variety development in Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the WGRF have signed a new five-year research support agreement for AAFC wheat and barley breeding.
Under this renewed partnership with AAFC, WGRF will invest more than $21 million to support AAFCâ€™s western wheat and barley breeding programs until 2020. These funds, derived from farmer check-offs on wheat and barley sold in western Canada, represent the biggest ever industry investment in AAFC research. It will underpin AAFCâ€™s scientific capacity in plant pathology and physiology, entomology and grain quality and will enable specialized research equipment upgrades in support of all disciplines.
â€œWheat and barley contribute billions of dollars annually to Canadaâ€™s economy. This substantial investment in wheat and barley variety development will advance innovation, giving Canadian grain farmers a competitive edge to meet world demands for food and feed,â€ MacAulay said.
â€œThe benefits of investing wheat and barley check-offs into breeding are clearly recognized and valued by farmers and the Federal government. Check-off investments of over $90 million since 1994 have resulted in the development of 120 wheat and barley varieties. Our new investment of $21.4 million provides stability to AAFC wheat and barley research until 2020 and ensures that AAFC will continue to develop new varieties for many years to come,â€Â Degenhardt added.