Quaker Oats triples U of S research funding

Oat researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have picked up a new three-year, $1.6 million funding commitment from Pepsi-QTG Canada, owners of the Quaker Oats business in Canada.

The Quaker funding, which according to oat breeder Brian Rossnagel triples the company’s annual commitment from its previous five-year deal with the U of S, will be directed to oat research and development at the university’s Crop Development Centre (CDC) and plant sciences department.

“This partnership enables the CDC to more quickly and efficiently develop disease-resistant, higher-yielding varieties and improved oat production practices,” said CDC managing director Dorothy Murrell in a U of S release Tuesday.

The commitment is for $492,500 in 2008 and $550,000 in each of 2009 and 2010, and continues over 30 consecutive years of Quaker Oats funding for U of S oat research and development work, CDC’s Rossnagel said.

The new funding will go toward hiring research technicians, training summer and graduate students, and expanding the U of S program into new oat pathology and genomic research areas, the university said.

“These new activities build on the U of S’s history of outstanding oat research, notably in the area of variety development with very high milling quality for the oat food market,” the university said in its release.

“Oat research and development, especially the development of varieties well-adapted to western Canadian growing conditions, is critical to our long-term success,” said Tom Hare, vice-president for research and development for Pepsi-QTG Canada, in Tuesday’s release.

“The feedback and support we receive from our research partners and supporters such as Pepsi-QTG Canada is critical to future planning and the success of our oat research and breeding programs,” said Rossnagel. The university program is considered Quaker’s “flagship” R and D partner in North America.

Quaker Oats’ Canadian business is the major industry supporter of the U of S oat program, while the program’s core support comes from the provincial agriculture ministry and the U of S, and other “critical” support comes from the Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission, CanOat Milling, Grain Millers, SuperOats Canada and FarmPure Genetics, the university said.

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