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New research investments promise benefits for farmers

The federal government recognizes the importance of agricultural science

By Jennifer Jackson

Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), highlighted the farmer and economic benefits associated with agricultural research investments while touring the AAFC Ottawa Research and Development Centre on April 12.

The 2017 federal budget, released almost a month ago, stated that the Government will allocate $70 million over six years to fund research in agricultural innovation and discovery. The research funding will prioritize modern issues such as climate change, according to an AAFC release.

This $70 million is additional to the $30 million the Government allocated in the 2016 budget to research agricultural biological threats.

The total agricultural investment of $100 million will boost sustainability and innovation in Canada – which will help improve the competitiveness of the ag industry, according to MacAulay.

“Science is the cornerstone of the Government’s plan to create good jobs in the agri-food sector and to grow the middle class,” MacAulay said in the release. “Our commitment to funding cutting-edge agricultural research will help farmers grow the economy, feed a growing population, protect the environment and combat climate change.”

Currently, Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry supply one in eight jobs. To grow this statistic, and maintain the country’s reputation as a global leader in sustainable and safe food, supporting agricultural science is crucial, according to the release.

“To be successful in the highly competitive global economy, Canada must continue to strengthen its approach to performing world-leading research and generating new breakthrough ideas,” Kirsty Duncan, minister of science, said in the release. “In this context, the Government has an important role to play in advancing science, research and innovation, the pillars of strong economies.”

AAFC researchers have invested the funds from the 2016 budget into equipment and resources to digitalize information on specimens that may pose a risk to agriculture. These specimens include insects, plants, fungi, bacteria and nematodes. The agricultural industry and farmers will have better access to pest activity because of this digitization initiative.

Check out previous coverage on agriculture’s inclusion in the 2017 Federal Budget. 

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