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Research seeks to find adverse weather-tolerant plants

The Ontario Farmer – The University of Saskatchewan has received $37.2 million in funding from the federal government for research into new plant varieties that can cope with the erratic weather expected from climate change.

University researchers in the Designing Crops for Global Food Security Initiative are aiming to use specific genes to create varieties of plants that can withstand changing weather and growing seasons to improve global food security.

The government support comes from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, which backs research at Canada’s universities and colleges.

The University program is also supported by MDA Systems Ltd., Potash Corp, the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission and Agrisoma Biosciences Inc.

U Sask is considered a leader in research and sustainable crop production.

Serge Buy, CEO of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, welcomed the funding for agricultural research projects. “This is excellent news and we’re pleased to see this funding given to the agricultural research centre of the University of Saskatchewan.

“The quality of the research taking place in Canadian university settings is second to none and the government funding will go a long way to support research and innovation in agriculture,” he said.

“We’re pleased that agriculture research is gaining so much attention.”

“We would encourage governments to continue these investments in facilities and systainability during the duration of their mandates and not just near the election,” he added. “The federal government has provided significant investments in the recent months for agriculture research but has, in the past, cut a number of research facilities and let various researchers go.

“While we’re aware that some new people are being hired, the loss of the expertise and experience in the early part of this decade will be hard to replace.”

AIC is aiming to release a national agriculture research strategy in September following a year of consultation among its members and the rest of the agri-food industry.

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