WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Canada’s Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn on May 16 announced the governments will provide a combined C$20 million toward projects under the new Grain Innovation Hub, supplemented by additional funding from industry partners expected to bring the total investment to over C$33 million.

“Canada continues to be a global leader in agricultural innovation,” said Ritz. “This investment will help drive the economy through research, development, commercialization and collaboration right along the value chain, leading to increased productivity and profitability for our producers.”

The Grain Innovation Hub will help improve production, processing and value-added uses for cereals, oilseeds and pulses through research and other initiatives. Governments will work with stakeholders throughout the grain industry to identify and pursue suitable projects that elevate grain-based opportunities to a global scale.

“Our province has a deep and historical connection to the grain industry, which continues to drive our economy from the farm gate to the urban landscape,” said Kostyshyn. “The Grain Innovation Hub is an excellent opportunity to strengthen our grain industry, anticipate challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. By working together strategically, our grains can play a significant role in meeting the dietary and health needs of a growing global population.”

Kostyshyn said the Grain Innovation Hub will bring together partners from across the grain industry to support these initial priority areas:

•           The Manitoba Corn Development Initiative is intended to increase total corn acreage by expanding production to new parts of the province and developing corn that better meets the needs of the livestock sector and other end users.
•           The Functional Food and Feed Opportunities Project will help turn Manitoba-led research and development into commercial food processing investments, built on related research about consumer behaviour and attitudes toward food and health.
•           Targeted agri-food research and development and strategic investments in equipment, human resources and commercial development will be done in partnership with Manitoba’s grain industry stakeholders.

“Congratulations to the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba for taking this important step to renew and build upon Manitoba’s status as a ‘go to’ centre of innovation for the domestic and international grain industry,” said Earl Geddes, chief executive officer of the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi). “We see Cigi as an integral part of this new innovation hub through our work with, and on behalf of, farmers, industry and customers to develop products using the quality crops grown in Western Canada.”

Two projects recently funded under Growing Forward 2 that support the mandate of the new Grain Innovation Hub include C$1 million in new equipment for Manitoba Corn Growers to conduct agronomic studies on how to grow corn in new areas in the province and significant infrastructure investments at the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine to study the effects of different foods on human and animal metabolism.

“Manitoba farmers, who are the foundation of the province’s grain value chain, will benefit greatly from this investment,” said Doug Chorney, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers. “It will not only provide new research to help us in producing grain, but it will also create new uses for our grain commodities, and ultimately, new marketing opportunities.”

The Grain Innovation Hub is funded by the federal and provincial governments under Growing Forward 2 and industry partners. In Manitoba, the federal and provincial governments are investing C$176 million under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.