Blog: The Wheat Sheaf

What role will producer dollars play in sustaining agronomic research capacity?

Over the last few decades, crop production in Western Canada has been forced to adapt in many ways to remain competitive. The job description of a farmer has been easily assumed in the past, but has become more complex with these adaptations. A farmer today is a business manager, marketer, agronomist, mechanic, and hopefully an information technologist that can maneuver cab monitors and GPS systems successfully.

At the rate of change witnessed in recent years, it’s hard to imagine the potential changes in crop production that will continue to arise over the next 10-20 years.

This was the starting place for discussion at the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) facilitated workshop "Shaping the Future: Agronomic Research Capacity in Western Canada" held this week in Saskatoon.

Future agronomic challenges and the research capacity needed to address these issues were discussed. One notable topic was the growing need to adapt production practices for a changing climate. Another was the necessity of continuing to build and improve sustainable agronomic practices.

What do we need to meet these challenges in terms of infrastructure, personnel, and money?

The answer often comes back to funding, and from where it should be sourced (government, industry, producer groups etc.). Researchers are increasingly turning to producer groups like Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) to cover the shortfalls for their programming dollars. AWC sees this as an important opportunity for producers to lead the way in shaping agronomic capacity, as well as to create sustainable and competitive cropping systems for Western Canada.

A summary of discussions from the workshop will be made available via the WGRF website for industry feedback in the near future.


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