Living Labs initiative in Manitoba nets nearly $6 million in funding

A new initiative, launched within the main watershed zones in Manitoba, will further develop technologies and best management practices to give Manitoban farmers tools to adjust to climate change following a major funding injection announced Wednesday.

On behalf of Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, MP for Winnipeg South Centre Jim Carr announced up to $5.9 million for on-farm research activities included in the Living Labs Initiative for the Eastern Prairies. The Living Labs Initiative is a collaboration of more than a dozen partners, with sites in the Upper Oak Lake, Swan Lake, North Shannon Creek, and Main Drain watersheds.

“Manitoba is a world-class leader in agriculture and we are proud to be home to the Living Labs-Eastern Prairies initiative. Collaboration between our local farmers, watersheds, and government organizations will help keep Manitoba on the cutting edge of ag innovation and research for years to come,” says Carr.

Farmers, scientists, and other partners, will work collaboratively to develop and implement new technologies and best practices for environmental management, specifically to better address water quality, soil conservation, and improve biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

Funding for projects will be available through to 2023. Unlike some federal funding programs, the Living Labs funding will be used for projects decided by the program, and not through an application intake. At the outset, the Living Labs held consultations with farmers within watershed zones to determine research priorities. Watershed district managers were also involved in consultation workshops, a spokesperson says.

“For Prairie farmers to keep feeding Canadians and people around the world sustainably, they need to get their hands on the right tools as quickly as possible. This innovative, collaborative research approach will help Manitoban farmers get the tailored tools they need to drive productivity in a sustainable manner,” says Minister Bibeau.

Key research included in the project is: enhancing habitats for beneficial insects, developing better tile draining practices, evaluating new approaches to prevent nutrient, water and habitat losses in the Eastern prairies, and evaluating the use of regenerative grazing management to capture and sequester carbon in grassland soil.

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