Feds fund canola cluster

The federal government is investing $15-million into a new canola science cluster to support ongoing research into improving the crop’s nutritional and agronomic performance.

“This is a great day for the canola industry,” said Canola Council of Canada president Patti Miller in a release following the announcement by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz at Kelburn Farm south of Winnipeg July 22.  

“This research investment will help us make quantum leaps in sustainable production. It will allow us to continue to differentiate canola oil and meal from our competitors. And it will provide economic and health benefits for Canadians.”    

The $15 million in new research funding under the Growing Forward 2 program is combined with industry contributions for a total investment in research and innovation of more than $20 million over five years.

“Investment in research has taken canola from just an idea over 40 years ago to now the top revenue-generating commodity on Canadian farms,” said Canola Council chair Terry Youzwa, a grower based in Nipawin, Sask. “Continued investment is essential to keep the momentum going.

Canada continues to see growth in canola crush capacity and exports, acres are at a new 20 million threshold, and the industry is within reach of our goal of 15 million tonnes of sustainable production by 2015.

Miller said the new cluster is a smart investment on three counts:
• Projects under the new science cluster will be collaborative. They will involve a number of research institutions across Canada, including AAFC research stations, universities, and other public research facilities.
• The new science cluster grew out of extensive consultations that enhanced collaboration and reduced duplication.
• The projects are focused around clear strategic themes, including oil nutrition, canola meal nutrition, canola health and integrated pest management, canola yield and quality optimization, integrated crop management, canola supply surveillance and forecasting and technology transfer.

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