Press Releases

Alberta Wheat Commission, Government of Canada Partner to Strengthen Wheat Breeding

Producer groups and Government make $25 million investment in wheat breeding.

(Red Deer, Alberta) – The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), along with the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) and the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) partnered with the Government of Canada to invest $25.2 million to support the development of new and improved wheat varieties as part of the National Wheat Improvement Project (NWIP).

The NWIP, also known as the Wheat Cluster, will help to secure the success of wheat breeding across Canada for the next five years. Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture, was on hand today to make the announcement as part of the Federal Growing Forward 2’s Agri-Science Cluster program.

"The Alberta Wheat Commission has chosen the Wheat Cluster as one of its first investments because Alberta’s producers recognize the importance of having strong varieties, alongside excellent agronomics," says Kent Erickson, Chairman of the AWC. "To have a sustainable and competitive wheat industry, breeding efforts, especially those at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, must continue to receive the funding necessary to produce consistently reliable varieties."

Producers are proud of the breeding program Canada has built and want to help it continue to prosper. The AWC, WGRF, and CFCRA in Eastern Canada make up the industry or producer investment of $12.7 million, combined with the Government of Canada’s investment of $12.5 million.

"This joint investment showcases how much public and private entities, including producer funded organizations can benefit from a fund-matching program," adds Erickson. "This is an excellent example of how producer organizations can leverage check-off dollars to achieve maximum return on their research investments."

The Wheat Cluster includes 50 research projects aimed at producing varieties that are high quality, high yielding and with improved disease resistance.This new investment also guarantees sustained funding to federal and university programs, including university activities that will ensure knowledge transfer to the next generation of skilled breeders who in turn will help Canada continue to advance in the future.

For more information please contact:

Amanda Ryan
Communications Manager
P. (403) 219-7902 C. (587) 777-6344
E. Email

The Alberta Wheat Commission is a producer-directed organization representing the interests of and serving as a single voice for all of Alberta’s 11,000 wheat producers.