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Haskap farmer wins research grant

A Sturgeon County haskap farmer has won a national award that will let him travel the world to help Alberta farmers get more out of their crops.
 
Andrew Rosychuk was announced last month as one of this year’s four recipients of the Nuffield Canada Agricultural Scholarships.
 
Founded by the U.K.’s Lord Nuffield (William Morris) in the 1950s, the prestigious $15,000 scholarships aim to promote leadership among people working in the agricultural sector in nations such as Canada, France, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe, and deliver long-term benefits to Canada’s agricultural sector.
 
“What we’re looking for in Nuffield Scholars is somebody who is really striving to push our industry forward,” said Léona Watson, executive director for Nuffield Canada. The grants specifically target those actually working in agriculture rather than academics or students.
 
The two-year grant lets recipients travel the world to research an agricultural topic of their choice with the help of a global network of some 1,700 other Nuffield recipients, Watson said.
 
“It’s just mind-blowing the opportunities that Nuffield Scholars are given,” she said, noting that she got to work with Princess Anne as part of her scholarship in 2011.
 
Rosychuk grows haskap berries at Rosy Farms near Alcomdale and is the founder of the Haskap Alberta Association. Last summer, he hosted a conference for first generation farmers on his farm. He could not be reached for an interview.
 
“Andrew is a city slicker who is passionate about haskap farming,” Watson said, and who is doing a lot of interesting work with local entrepreneurs.
 
Watson said Rosychuk plans to study how to bring medium-scale on-farm crop processing systems to Alberta to help farmers turn crops into value-added products or ingredients.
 
Recipient Dawn Trautman, a manager of Smart Agriculture and Food Innovation with Alberta Innovates in Edmonton, said she would use her grant to find new ways to bring digital technologies such as soil sensors, GPS, and autonomous systems to Canadian farms so they could be more productive.
 
“Canada really has the potential to export (food) and feed more people than we have,” she said, and there are many new data-based technologies being tested in here that could help feed the world. The problem is those technologies are so new most farmers don’t know how to use them effectively. By visiting farms abroad that have gone high-tech, she hopes to find policies that would get more new technologies into the hands of Alberta farmers to promote sustainable food production.
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