BASF Canada has committed $250,000 to the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) to help establish a research chair position focusing on pollinator health and biodiversity.

The $50,000 per year contribution, over five years (2021-2025), will go towards the creation of a permanent, tenured veterinary research chair, with a focus on pollinator health and biodiversity.

Located in Saskatoon, the new research chair will build a team of researchers who will generate valuable data, knowledge, and insights around pollinator health and agricultural sustainability. The chair’s role will also include communicating critical data and research directly to beekeepers and farmers, which will enhance the agriculture industry’s profitability and sustainability.

Jeff Bertholet, manager of technical service at BASF says this new research chair represents an important step forward in strengthening sustainable agriculture and beekeeping.

“As an agricultural solutions provider committed to balancing productivity and sustainability, we understand the need to support modern agriculture, while ensuring the responsible use of plant science technology, including the protection and creation of biodiverse communities,” says Bertholet. “When we learned of this role and its mission, we immediately recognized the tremendous value it would bring to the Canadian agricultural industry, and we are proud to enable vital research and future innovations that will benefit the community.”

The exchange between farmers and pollinators will allow both industries to thrive, providing pollinators with the benefits of abundant nectar and pollen from commercial crops and native grassland, while enhancing crop and forage yields through increased pollinator activity, says the company.

Once total funding is secured, the WCVM plans to conduct a search to fill the research chair’s role — a recruiting process that the college hopes to begin in 2022.

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