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Early this year, government consulted with farmers, industry and key partners in the agricultural sector. From that engagement, there was a consensus that farmers, in collaboration with others involved in research, are best positioned to determine agricultural research priorities.
RDAR’s structure takes the best parts of previous research models, such as Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF), as it ensures research reflects the priorities of farmers and ranchers. It is imperative that agriculture research in Alberta achieves outcomes that can be applied in the field and on the ranch.
A regionally reflective advisory board will assist the interim board with important projects to ensure value, profitability and areas of focus.
“We will make sure farmers direct research priorities. RDAR will ensure Alberta’s agriculture industry has more financial flexibility and autonomy to fund longer-term projects. Governments shouldn’t force ideology on research priorities – research priorities should be determined by industry. Research can be a massive springboard for economic growth and, with the right focus, RDAR can achieve that for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers.”
An interim board and CEO has been put in place to establish RDAR. Research funding will begin flowing by September 2020 and achieve full operational capacity by March 2021. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, $2 million in grant funding will be provided this year to support initial operations, which will allow RDAR to begin focusing on priority research right away.
“We know a new system needs to be established with the voices of producers strongly considered and driving research initiatives while working in a collaborative environment with scientists and others. This new model will ensure predictable, long-term funding. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to make that a reality.”
- Interim board members:
- Dr. Gerald Hauer, interim CEO
- Clinton Dobson, interim research director
- Dr. David Chalack, chair
- Brian Otto
- Tom Steve
- Kelly Smith-Fraser
- Nichole Neubauer
- Dr. Stanford Blade
- Matt Sawyer
- Melissa Downing
- Vance Yaremko
- In January, Agriculture and Forestry conducted 17 farmer-led research engagement sessions across Alberta
- 650 people attended in-person sessions
- 1,422 people completed an online survey
- In Budget 2020, government maintained agriculture research funding at $37 million.
- Post-secondary institutions will be provided funds to carry out priority agricultural research projects.