The organization that has been supporting development of new
wheat and barley varieties in Western Canada for 20 years is looking for a new
The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) based in
Saskatoon hopes to have a short list of candidates to consider by early July,
says board chairman Keith Degenhardt. And WGRF hopes to have a new person in
the position previously held by Lanette Kuchenski by August.
Kuchenski, pictured left, has been executive director since 2003, taking
over the post from Lorence Peterson. She resigned at the end of April 2011,
after returning to job following maternity leave in 2010.
Degenhardt, long time chairman of the board, who farms at
Hugenden in east-central Alberta (south of Wainwright), says there were a few
factors which contributed to Kuchenski’s decision to resign.
There had been a number of changes in the WGRF program
during the time Kuchenski was on leave. One major change was an expansion of
programs and research contracts with a windfall of millions of dollars directed
toward WGRF from what is known as overcharges
to farmers under the federal railway revenue cap. The Canadian Transportation
Agency ruled a few years ago that CN Rail had exceeded its revenue cap for
grain movement. After a period of appeals, that decision made about $70 million
in repayments available to WGRF for research purposes.
expansion of programs, in many respects, it was a whole new Western Grains
Research Foundation,” says Degenhardt. “Anyone who knows Lanette knows that she
gives 150 per cent to the job. I think upon returning to work, with all the
changes and now with two small children at home, she just felt she wanted a
career that would also give her more time with her family. We are sorry to see
Terry Scott, a
former deputy minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture, who operates his own TESCO
Consulting company, came on board as acting executive director during
Kuchenski’s leave and will remain in that position until a new executive
director is hired.
program for 2011 will see between $5 and 6 million invested in a wide range of
crop development projects.
funds directed to WGRF about $4.2 million will be invested in wheat breeding
projects undertaken by agencies that include Agriculture Canada, University of
Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, University of Alberta and Alberta
$670,000 in check-off funds will go toward barley breeding programs at
Agriculture Canada and Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre.
From the WGRF
Endowment Funds, which includes the rail overpayment dollars, another $660,000
is being invested in 16 new and ongoing research projects on all types of crop
research, and another $760,000 is being invested in a Directed Research Program
called a breeding tool initiative. WGRF has made a $3.8 million commitment to
this over the next five years, to update the genomic technology used by plant
Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at [email protected]