Originally published January 21, 2020 on The Western Producer
By Robin Booker
Attendees of CropSphere in Saskatoon have come to expect the Saskatchewan government to announce its yearly funding commitments towards the Agriculture Development Fund.
“Research is the foundation of all advancements in our agriculture industry. This is why I’m pleased to announce new funding for the crop research here today,” said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit on Jan. 14 in Saskatoon.
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Agriculture Canada plan to spend slightly less than $11 million to support 47 crop-related research projects, Marit said.
Last year, ADF was given $12 million to support 44 crop-related research projects by the two levels of government.
ADF is supported under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership; a federal-provincial funding arrangement that will see $388 million invested in strategic research initiatives in the Saskatchewan agriculture sector over five years.
“Over the last four years we’ve invested more than 52 million dollars into ADF for crop-related research,” Minister Marit said.
“We know these investments pay off. In fact, for every dollar we invest in research, there is a nine-to-one return on our investment.”
He said several projects will add value to Saskatchewan crops, and thus support the province’s goal of increasing revenue from value-added crops to $10 billion by 2030.
“Value-added projects for the coming year include, exploring how to develop fermented food products that add value to Saskatchewan lentils and oats, while preserving flour,” Minister Marit said.
As well as “developing new technologies to separate starch protein mixtures from pulse and cereal flour.”
He said the projects will also help the industry reach the province’s growth plan, which is to increase crop production to 45 million tonnes by 2030.
This project led by Curtis Pozniak at the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan received $1.05 million of ADF funding.
Two projects led by Sabine Banniza at the University of Saskatchewan received funding by ADF.
The first project received $409,500 for research into new sources of resistance to aphanomyces root rot in peas, while the second project received $432,570 for the screening of diverse and wild lentil germplasm for resistance to fusarium avenaceum.
A project led by Steven Shirtliffe at the University of Saskatchewan will receive $205,209 in ADF funding to see if kochia identification by drones can be scaled up using high-resolution satellite imagery.
A global Institute for Food Security project led by Leon Kochian will receive $604,000 toward studying early-season germination and establishment of prairie crops.
By far the biggest recipient of the ADF funding is the University of Saskatchewan, which is expected to receive $6,606,733 for 28 projects.
The second biggest recipient is Agriculture Canada, at $1,713,818 for 11 projects.