LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, CANADA — Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced on July 8 the first of its kind C$3.4 million public-private-producer partnership (P4) wheat breeding program.
 
This inaugural collaboration between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, CANTERRA SEEDS and the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) will benefit Canadian producers by advancing the development and commercialization of Canadian Prairie Spring (CPS) wheat varieties. In addition to a federal investment of nearly C$1.2 million, the AWC and CANTERRA SEEDS are investing cash and services to the CPS Lethbridge program.
 
CPS wheat is characterized as having lower protein and weaker gluten than other classes of wheat—properties many consumers around the world require to produce hearth breads such as French bread, flatbreads, pita and crackers.
 
"There's no question that this collaborative approach to research is the way forward in today's competitive environment,” Ritz said. “This partnership between the federal government, producers and private industry will support Canadian wheat producers in the global marketplace by helping them maximize their commercial and trade opportunities."
 
The CPS Wheat Breeding Program supports the government's commitment to provide producers with greater access to new crop varieties and the latest technology to remain globally competitive, as highlighted in the Agricultural Growth Act (Bill C-18), which received Royal Assent earlier this year. With stronger intellectual property rights, there is greater incentive to increase investment in research and development for Canada's crop sector.