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Canada cuts agriculture research

Jun. 14, 2013 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) last month gave notice to hundreds of employees at labs and farms across the country, informing them that their jobs could be eliminated due to the closing and consolidation of its research operations.

A large number of the affected staff – approximately 35 per cent – are employed at research facilities located in Western Canada.

AAFC provided a release stating the cuts are part of an effort to reduce costs and ensure the success of Canadian farmers, as well as research within the agriculture industry.

"We are streamlining our program delivery and our organization to make it easier for producers and processors to do business with government and deliver results for the sector.

"These changes are about finding the most effective and least-costly ways to deliver service to Canadians so that as much of AAFC's overall budget as possible goes directly to producers and the agricultural industry."

The release said closing stations that "directly support core research" would help AAFC focus on research that yields "real results." Core activities of AAFC will be maintained, according to the release, to help Canadian farmers gain maximum market returns through continued research on yield improvements and pest and disease prevention.

When prompted for more information regarding the effects of the cuts on Canadians both on and off the farm, a spokesperson for AAFC referred back to the statement and would not elaborate.