“Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) respects the fiscal constraints faced by the Federal Government and is ready to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)” says Dave Sefton, Chair of WGRF. “Producers want to continue to use check-off funds to work with private industry to develop new approaches to funding crop research. For over a century, AAFC and provincial governments have been key funders of agriculture research, particularly wheat and barley variety development. Now is the time for producers and industry to find ways to increase cereal research investments to levels competitive with other crops and other countries” says Sefton.
“AAFC management is doing their best to work within budget constraints to continue their commitments in wheat and barley variety development in the short term,” says Garth Patterson, WGRF Executive Director. AAFC’s long term plan is to focus on wheat germplasm development and not wheat variety development. “This is an opportunity for WGRF to partner with other producer organizations and industry to develop a new approach for wheat variety development,” says Patterson.
“The closure of the Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg is unfortunate in a time of need for increased research capacity” says Sefton. “AAFC management has assured WGRF that the cereal programming will continue in Morden and Brandon. WGRF remains committed to its $4 million dollar contribution towards a Centre of Grains Excellence in Winnipeg.”
“We do understand that the reduction in the Federal agriculture research budget will have an impact in Western Canada,” says Patterson. We encourage AAFC management to release budget details as soon as possible to enable WGRF and others to work with AAFC to develop solutions.”
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Western Grains Research Foundation
Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) is a farmer funded and directed non-profit organization investing primarily in wheat and barley variety development to benefit western Canadian producers. Through investments of over $57 million WGRF has assisted in the development and release of more than 110 new wheat and barley varieties over the past decade and a half, many of which are today seeded to large portions of the cropland in Western Canada. WGRF also invests in research on other western Canadian crops through the Endowment fund. Since 1981 the Endowment Fund has supported a wealth of innovation across Western Canada providing over $26 million in funding for over 230 research projects.