Government invests $70 million in agricultural science
By Top Crop Manager
Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced the government will be investing $70 million over the next five years to address environmental challenges and hire approximately 75 scientists and science professionals in emerging fields of agricultural science.
Of this $70 million investment, $44 million is dedicated to hiring the next generation of federal research scientists and science professionals and equipping them with the tools they need to advance agricultural research, including environmental sampling equipment and analytical instruments. Agricultural science is vital to the economy, for instance, thanks to Canadian scientists’ development of canola, this commodity now accounts for almost 15 per cent of total agriculture and food exports, valued at $9.2 billion (2016).
Minister MacAulay also announced a new Living Laboratories Initiative, which includes $10 million to support collaborative research projects with external partners. Living Laboratories are an integrated approach to agricultural research that bring farmers, scientists and other stakeholders together to co-develop, test and monitor new practices and technologies on farms. The result will be more practical technologies and sustainable farming practices adopted more quickly by Canadian farmers.
The Living Laboratories Initiative led by Canada is a model to the world as other countries also try to improve the resilience and sustainability of their agricultural production. This Living Labs approach was presented by Minister MacAulay at the G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Argentina in July and the initiative was endorsed by ministers in attendance.
In the same spirit of collaboration, the remaining $16 million of the $70 million is earmarked to fund collaborative federal research projects focused on priority areas affecting the agriculture sector, such as environmental issues. With these funds, researchers will have the support, for example, to find better nutrient management solutions to ensure the health of our waterways.
This $70 million investment in research and development fulfills the Budget 2017 commitment to support discovery science and innovation.