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Charting Alberta’s ag research path

Charting Alberta’s ag research path

Producers were invited to provide feedback on what farmer-led research means to them

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

More than 600 members of Alberta’s ag industry told provincial representatives how they would like to see agriculture research conducted in the future.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry hosted 17 engagement sessions throughout the province in January to ask industry reps about what farmer-led research meant to them, the industry’s research priorities and governance models for delivering the research.

And more than 1,400 others who couldn’t attend a session in person filled out an online survey to provide their opinions.

“It was great to see so many different farmers and people involved in the research space,” Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s minister of agriculture and forestry, told Farms.com.

The current UCP government is committed to letting farmers have a say in what industry research needs to be done, Dreeshen said.

Throughout the engagement sessions, attendees brought up different industry topics.

“There was everything from applied data and tech research to varietal research to water monitoring,” Dreeshen said. “What was universal from all these different ideas is a governance structure that made sense and had farmers’ interest at the end of the day.”

Under the previous NDP government, Alberta’s ag industry saw the end of the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF) and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), two organizations dedicated to industry research.

One of the next steps for the UCP government is to find a way to replace the research gaps left by the dissolution of ACIDF and ALMA, Dreeshen said.

“It’s going to be important to find the right governance structure,” he said. “From there it’s making sure that the agriculture research funding in Alberta is whole with a long-term commitment so that researchers aren’t going year to year questioning whether they’re going to have research funds.”

Farms.com has reached out to Alberta ag organizations and individual producers for comment.

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