Leading the agronomy research
capacity review

WGRF facilitated a review of agronomy research capacity in Western Canada in collaboration with several commodity organizations. One of the outcomes is Fertile Ground: Agronomic Research Capacity in Western Canada, an exhaustive report assessing the current state of research capacity in the region, and projected capacity to 2020.
Results reveal research capacity is declining due to loss of expertise through impending retirements, a shortage of post-graduate students filling research spots, a lack of adequate equipment, land and buildings dedicated to research, and a lack of adequate staff and funding.

In April 2015, over 110 key stakeholders including producer organizations, institutions, funders, scientists and agronomists attended a one-day conference facilitated by WGRF to discuss how crop production will change in the future and the impact for agronomic research. The result is: Shaping the Future, a report that identifies specific ways to address research capacity needs.
A technical working group and process has been established to look at these needs in two phases.

Phase 1 focuses on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Universities of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as the primary providers of peer-reviewed agronomic research. Phase 2 focuses on infrastructure and equipment needs, as well as other research providers.

1. Situation Report: WGRF commissioned a study by Toma and Bouma Management Consultants to provide an inventory (capital and human resources) of agronomic research capacity in Western Canada, and projected capacity to 2020.

The report ‘Fertile Ground: Agronomic Research Capacity in Western Canada’ was made available to the public in November, 2014 and feedback was invited by January 31, 2015. A Full Report and Executive Summary of the report are posted below.

Full Report Western Canadian Agronomic Research Capacity
Executive Summary – Western Canadian Agronomic Research Capacity

2. Future Needs Report: Garven and Associates were contracted by WGRF to facilitate a workshop on April 13, 2015 to provide insight into future agronomic research needs and to determine a vision for what is required to address these needs. A diverse group of 110 representatives from producer groups, institutions, public and private industry participated in a full day of facilitated discussion which has resulted in a summary and analysis provided by Garven and Associates.

The report ‘Shaping the Future: Agronomic Research Capacity in Western Canada’ is posted below and feedback is invited until June 21, 2015.

Shaping the Future: Agronomic Research Capacity in Western Canada

For more information, please contact:
Pat Flaten, MSc, PAg
Research Program Manager
Western Grains Research Foundation