A new non-profit entity in Alberta puts farmers at the forefront of agricultural research priorities
The Government of Alberta announced the creation of the Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) organization on March 30.
RDAR is a non-profit, arm’s length agricultural research organization that the government created after consultation with Alberta producers in January.
“The message was loud and clear that the people on the ground wanted a voice,” said Dr. David Chalack, a veterinarian in Calgary and chair of the RDAR board.
RDAR’s structure is based off the best parts of other research models like the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund.
The farmer-led organization will identify research opportunities that will drive research dollars into worthy projects, said Chalack.
“We will make sure farmers direct research priorities. RDAR will ensure Alberta’s agricultural industry has more financial flexibility and autonomy to fund longer-term projects. Governments shouldn’t force ideology on research priorities – research priorities should be determined by industry. Research can be a massive springboard for economic growth and, with the right focus, RDAR can achieve that for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers,” Devin Dreeshen, minister of agriculture and forestry, said in the release.
In the 2020 budget, the Government of Alberta allocated $37 million for agricultural research.
The RDAR organization will provide “predictable, long-term funding so that researchers have the security in knowing that they can prepare and undertake research without the dollars disappearing and leaving them high and dry,” said Chalack to Farms.com.
To get RADR up and running, an interim board and CEO is in place with the expectation of research funding established by September. To help with start up costs, the organization will receive $2 million in grant funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. RDAR should be at fully operational by March 2021.
Photo provided by: Daivd Chalack