SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA — The Canadian government announced on Jan. 16 funding of C$39.3 million to drive innovation and discovery in barley, wheat, diverse field crops and soybeans over the next five years.

The funding for the four science clusters is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and includes industry contributions of C$28.4 million for a total of C$67.7 million.

“Demand for our field crops continues to grow and these investments in innovation and research will help position our farmers to grow top quality products sustainably, while meeting consumer demands at home and abroad for years to come,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

  The Barley Cluster (C$6.3 million) aims to improve productivity in the science and technology of using barley for food and increase disease resistance. The cluster will be led by the Barley Council of Canada.

“Ongoing investment in barley research and innovation to improve varieties, production practices and utilization is vitally important to the continued sustainability and profitability of the barley value chain," said Brian Otto, chair, Barley Council of Canada.

The Diverse Field Crop Cluster (C$13.7 million) focusses on variety development, crop protection, production agronomy and value-added practices to support diverse crop growth. The cluster will be led by Ag-West Bio Inc.

“Crop diversity is essential for keeping Canada’s agricultural ecosystem healthy and productive,” said Mike Cey, Ag-West Bio director of corporate initiatives. “The Diverse Field Crops Cluster research will develop these high-potential crops, and the markets to go with them. Farmers will have more high-value crops to choose from. The Diverse Field Crop Cluster will deliver both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.”

The Wheat Cluster (C$13.9 million) aims to deliver higher-yielding wheat varieties to producers, and to develop the next generation of Fusarium Head Blight resistant varieties. The cluster will be led by the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition.

“This collaboration between government, producers and industry will allow for greater innovation in variety development and agronomic practices that will keep wheat production strong across the country,” said Terry Young, chair, Canadian Wheat Research Coalition.

The Soybean Cluster ($5.4 million) will help Canadian soybean crops become more resilient and productive, increase the geographic range for growing crops and benefit the environment. The cluster will be led by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance.

“Continued research investment in enhanced crop performance that helps grow and secure Canada’s soybean market share worldwide is imperative,” said Salah Zoghlami, president, Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance. “We are thrilled to see the Canadian government recognize the importance of research in soybean and other crop production to benefit Canadian farmers. Today’s announcement is a great step in helping Canada maintain its global reputation for high-quality, sustainably grown crops."

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, C$3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. Through the AgriScience Program, a five-year, $338 million initiative, the government is supporting leading edge discovery and applied science, and innovation driven by industry research priorities.