The University of Saskatchewan is establishing a new beef industry integrated forage management and utilization research chair position.

The intent of the position is to connect the study of soils, plants, animals, economics, and ecosystems, to top into forage crops’ full range of benefits.

“The chair will help to address concerns raised for a number of years by producers searching for expanded forage management information,” says Matt Bowman, chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and producer at Thornloe, Ont. “We need the science in order to better manage complex forage systems, implement effective utilization strategies, and understand the associated environmental benefits created through the dynamic soil-plant-animal interface.”

Funding for the research chair will be provided from a variety of sources, including industry contributions of $2.5 million from BCRC and $1 million from Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA). The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan will also provide $750,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and the Global Institute for Food Security will contribute $320,000.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit says the new position will work with partners from across the province to develop practical tools for producers. “This investment will help grow the livestock sector and bring us closer to achieving the goals outlined in Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth, including our target to increase livestock cash receipts to $3 billion.”

The position will be based out of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at USask, as a joint appointment between the Departments of Plant Sciences and Animal and Poultry Science. Among key roles will be to ensure USask is at the leading edge of research on use of forage in the beef industry, connect expertise in the field locally, nationally, and internationally, and grow funding support research, says the university.

The international search will begin this summer and the position is anticipated to be filled before the end of 2021.

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