Prairie barley groups back new research funding arm

Barley south of Ethelton, Sask. on July 30, 2019. (Dave Bedard photo)

The three Prairie barley growers’ groups are taking a more “collaborative” approach to longer-term national and regional research work on barley breeding.

SaskBarley, Alberta Barley and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association on Monday launched what they’ve dubbed the Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC), following a path similar to that of the three provincial wheat commissions that set up the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition in 2017.

The new group takes the form of a national not-for-profit organization making “long-term investments aimed at improving profitability and competitiveness for western Canadian barley farmers,” the three member groups said in a release.

CBRC will support regional and national research work in variety development and agronomy, including core barley breeding agreements with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC).

The first order of business for the new organization will be to renew those core breeding contracts, the member groups said Monday.

SaskBarley chair Jason Skotheim, who farms near Prince Albert, Sask., said the provincial body began work to set up CBRC over the last year, as its board “saw the need for such an organization within the barley world.”

CBRC “will also serve as a venue for formal collaboration and alignment of Western Canada’s barley research priorities,” Terry James, who farms near Vegreville, Alta. and chairs Alberta Barley’s research committee, said in the same release.

The three founding groups, Skotheim said, are “interested in pursuing research-led breakthroughs in science and agronomics that will expand the relative economic competitiveness of barley” and plan to recruit other member organizations into CBRC “for a true national value chain approach to research.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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