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Rising to the challenge

June 12, 2015 - To the world, Canada is considered as a leading agricultural nation.  Not only because of our total agricultural production but also because of advances in agricultural science.  These advances have been helping Canadian farmers and many related sectors for decades. 

From overcoming the challenges that our climate presents to the development of new agricultural technologies, agricultural science has had a profound impact on Canada.

However there has never been a concerted effort to look at how agricultural research benefits our country, the role it plays in our present day agriculture and the path it should take in the future.

The Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) is preparing to do just that by fostering the development of a comprehensive national agricultural research policy.

Scientists, academics, representatives of commodity groups, businesses involved in agriculture, consultants, farmers and others will be travelling to Ottawa in mid-July to help shape what this policy should look like.

The work to be undertaken at the conference follows extensive consultations undertaken by the Agricultural Institute of Canada.  Participants will be able to look at a summary of the consultations and debate various issues with key panellists that will lead the discussions.

Some of the topics to be discussed include:

  • How to balance pure and applied research
  • Fostering interdisciplinary partnerships, collaboration and cooperation
  • Bringing innovation to the market place
  • Issues with public-private partnerships

The intention is to ensure that a realistic policy be developed in order to provide guidance for the foreseeable future.

This policy should be based on an understanding of the opportunities and limitations provided by the public and private sectors as well as the expanded scope of the agricultural sector that now includes natural resources, conservation, climatology, and much more.

It is crucial that this policy also consider how to create the best conditions to attract and retain the best agricultural research scientists.

This policy should have a deep impact on how Canada moves forward in the future.  The hope is not to add to the many reports that gather dusts on shelves in offices but rather to have a document that will provide a framework and guidance to decision makers and stakeholders.

This is why it is so important to have the participation of all groups that have a stake in agricultural research.

About a year ago, AIC put out a “tweet” related to a new scientific advance in agriculture.  A few minutes later it was “re-tweeted”.  Our “re-tweeter” was a woman, a farmer working her fields.  She just happened to see our news.  Agriculture has changed.  It continuously does.  Be part of the change. 

To register, visit the AIC conference web site.  Click here.


June 12, 2015
By Serge Buy Agricultural Institute of Canada