RDAR invests in genomics to help bring sustainable climate solutions to Alberta producers
October 5, 2023 By Top Crop Manager
Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) announced the investment of $2.4M in three Accelerating Agriculture Innovation projects, which target Climate SMART Agriculture and Food Systems initiatives.
RDAR invests in these genomic projects together with regional partners. RDAR’s investment is leveraged with funds from Genome Canada and partners for a total investment of $19.7 million.
This is the first investment from the new Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership (Sustainable CAP) 2023 – 2028, funded jointly by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation. These funds aim to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation and resiliency of the agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada.
“I recently had the opportunity to meet with producers in Alberta who have adopted rotational grazing practices and saw the benefits delivered by our climate initiatives,” says federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay. “The projects announced today will accelerate our understanding of how combined genomics and grazing management practices can influence soil and livestock genomes, driving rangeland ecosystems for carbon sequestration and lower GHG emissions.”
Genomic technology is the path forward for Alberta producers. Genomics development accelerates our understanding of and directs the use of molecular biology tools to help producers reduce environmental impacts, increase resilience, and improve disease prevention in livestock and crops.
“I look forward to seeing the positive impact these new projects will have on our province’s agriculture industry,” says RJ Sigurdson, Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. “The enhanced understanding of genomics gained from this research will help Alberta farmers and ranchers strengthen their sustainable practices and benefit from economic growth.”
These genomic investments by the federal and provincial governments, Genome Canada and partners will help to ensure that Alberta’s producers have the tangible research outcomes they require to make informed decisions that improve the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of their farming operation.
“RDAR is committed to advancing agriculture through genomics, and we foresee the projects announced today accelerating the adaptation of crops to climate change and the drive to sustainable livestock production,” says Mark Redmond, RDAR CEO. “This work is essential as Alberta agriculture responds to climate change, builds a more resilient industry, serves new, environmentally conscious high-value markets and returns greater profits to producers.”
Strategic investment in these projects aim to advance Alberta’s agriculture industry by accelerating the farm gate adaptation of genomic technology. Outcomes from these genomic research projects will help producers from across the province access and adopt new solutions for improving grazing management, soil carbon sequestration and climate resiliency.
“Exploring the use of new lentil genomics, combined with different rotations to increase yields and decreased fertilizer usage is good for the environment and producers’ economic sustainability,” says D’Arcy Hilgartner, pulse crop producer, past chair of Alberta Pulse Growers and RDAR board director. “Pulses in a crop rotation provide multiple benefits to Alberta farmers. They provide a break in disease cycles, different marketing options, and have a low carbon footprint. Exploring the use of new lentil genomics, combined with different rotations to increase yields and decreased fertilizer usage is good for the environment and producers’ economic sustainability.”