Alberta is a global leader in agriculture research, which results in tangible benefits for farmers, like higher profits and a more abundant food supply at an affordable cost for consumers.

To help further the development and continued innovation of agriculture research, the Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) has been relaunched as Western Crops Innovations, a non-profit corporation with an interim board. A new structure will revitalize this organization, promote a renewed vision, and better position Alberta to meet the agriculture industry’s needs.

“It’s an exciting time for crop research in Alberta. Western Crop Innovations will carry on the Field Crop Development Centre’s substantial legacy, ensuring its work is addressing the issues farmers are facing in the fields.”

RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation

Officially starting up April 1, WCI will carry on the FCDC’s important research, including its well-known barley breeding program. Its current programming will undergo a review, and where necessary, will be transitioned to ensure crop innovations support Alberta’s farmers’ needs now and into the future.

The interim board, made up of representatives from government and industry, will lead WCI and the transition process. The new model will include integrated funding that connects government, industry, and post-secondary institutions.

“Considering my farm’s proximity and history with FCDC, I’m happy to help guide Western Crop Innovations to conduct research and development leading to commercialization of superior crop varieties that will benefit Alberta and western Canadian agriculture sectors.”

Jason Lenz, chair, Western Crop Innovations

Interim board members

  • Jason Lenz, chair
  • D’Arcy Hilgartner, vice-chair, Results Driven Agriculture Research
  • Fred Lozeman, former finance chair, Alberta Beef Producers
  • John Conrad, assistant deputy minister, Agriculture and Irrigation


  • The anticipated cost of WCI’s first year is $3.5 million.
  • Government will be contributing $3.2 million, with industry support to be determined.