Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition (CWRC) is the host of the current wheat research cluster, a five-year agreement from 2019 to 2023.
Collaborative funding between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and producers is funnelled into the cluster to support industry-led research, explains Lauren Comin, director of research at Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, and representative for CWRC.
“What we’re doing now is preparing for 2023, when this wheat cluster will end and the next ag policy framework will come into play,” says Comin. “We hope to have a successful wheat cluster set up for 2023 to 2028.”
To prepare for the next phase, a group of producers and others from the sector are pulled together to develop a priority list, explains Comin. Issues from across Canada are included — industry partners, all the way from P.E.I. to Dawson Creek, B.C. will have their say. (Story continues below player)
Comin says that some of those priorities have been determined, minus Guelph’s statement, which is expected soon, and will finish off the list.
“So far, what we know is they’re going to focus on climate and the environment, economic growth, and sector resiliency,” says Comin. “We’re well positioned with some of our producer concerns and issues out in the field, to target some of those areas, and find that overlap between program objective and producer priorities.”
All of the commissions and funders within the CWRC have other calls, and in terms of collecting grower concerns and research priorities, the organization does a yearly collection, then determines if those concerns align with a research objective and research expertise.
“We always encourage producers to email us with their concerns,” says Comin.
The current research cluster represents over $25 million of funding, a significant envelope, and Comin says a lot of that goes towards variety development at public institutions. It also represents a significant opportunity to match funding with the federal government.
The call for letters of intent or interest is now open, and closes at the end of September.