WGRF Ramping Up Investment in Crop Research

The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) is aggressively increasing the amount of money it’s investing in field crop research.

The board for the producer organization recently passed a budget of over $18 million for 2015 — up from a projected $14.8 million in 2014 and $7.3 million spent in 2013.

“WGRF member organizations have encouraged us to increase research funding,” said WGRF Executive Director Garth Patterson in an email to RealAgriculture.com. “WGRF has been ramping up funding for the past three years as part of our plan to increase utilization of WGRF funds.”

He pointed out the growth in their budget has also been driven by partnership opportunities: “Co-funding of research projects in collaboration with producer commodity organizations, funding agencies and other interested parties as been a big reason for the increase.”

The funding for WGRF’s research comes from four sources: the WGRF Endowment Fund (used for research on all field crops) and the western wheat and barley varietal check-off funds (which are only invested in wheat and barley varietal breeding programs) and participation in research programming under Growing Forward 2.

Board chair Dave Sefton noted WGRF is the largest producer funder of crop research in the country.

“Crop research is vital for the development of new farm management practices and improved crop varieties. WGRF invests in research covering a variety of field crops,” he says. “As producers we should be very proud of this investment because we will be the ones who benefit most from this increased commitment to research.”

Recent WGRF Research Funding Highlights:

  • WGRF committed $5 million to the Genome Canada Large Scale Applied Research Project.
  • The total value of the Systems Approach to Crop Sustainability is $4.32 M over the next 5 years; WGRF is leading this initiative and is contributing $2.16 million.
  • The total value of the Wheat Cluster is $25.2 M over five years; WGRF is leading this Cluster and is contributing $9.6 million.
  • The total value of the Barley Cluster is $11.2 M over five years; WGRF is contributing $1.5 million.
  • Graduate Scholarships of $100,000 per year continue to be provided to U of M, U of S and U of A on a rotational basis.
  • WGRF commissioned a study to evaluate agronomy research capacity in western Canada.

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