Ag minister visits Harrow, announces $70 million for agricultural industry

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The federal agriculture minister was in Harrow last week where he announced what is being termed a “transformational” investment into science and innovation for the sector.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, Lawrence MacAulay announced details of the federal government’s $70 million investment, over five years, into the sector “to address significant environmental challenges and hire approximately 75 scientists and science professionals in emerging fields of agricultural science.”

The announcement was made at the Harrow Research and Development Centre last Friday morning.

Of this $70 million investment, the federal government stated that $44 million is dedicated to hiring the “next generation of federal research scientists and science professionals and equipping them with the state-of-the-art tools they need to advance agricultural research, including environmental sampling equipment and analytical instruments.”

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Lawrence MacAulay was at the Harrow Research and Development Centre last Friday morning where he announced $70 million in funding for the agriculture industry. MacAulay (centre) stands with industry stakeholders after making the announcement.

Many of those scientists are expected to be in Harrow, as that is one of 20 research stations in Canada. However, it is not clear as of yet how many of those scientists will be coming to Essex County.

“We know science and innovation is vital for the agriculture and agri-food sector,” MacAulay stated.

MacAulay also announced a new “Living Laboratories” initiative, which includes $10 million to support collaborative research projects with external partners. “Living Laboratories” were described as “an integrated approach to agricultural research that bring farmers, scientists and other stakeholders together to co-develop, test and monitor new practices and technologies on farms. The result will be more practical technologies and sustainable farming practices adopted more quickly by Canadian farmers.”

That $10 million is part of the overall $70 million announcement.

MacAulay noted he presented the “Living Labs” approach at the G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Argentina in July and the initiative was endorsed by ministers in attendance.

“If farmers are to feed the world sustainably, they need to get their hands on the newest technology as soon as possible,” he said.

The federal government’s announcement noted that the remaining $16 million of the $70 million is earmarked to fund collaborative federal research projects focused on priority areas affecting the agriculture sector, such as environmental issues.

Minister of Agricultre and Agri-food Lawrence MacAulay makes a funding announcement last Friday in Harrow.

With these funds, researchers will have the support, for example, to find better nutrient management solutions to ensure the health of our waterways.

“This $70 million investment in research and development fulfills the Budget 2017 commitment to support discovery science and innovation,” a press release stated.

“This investment allows us to hire the next generation of world-class scientists here in Harrow and across the country, and will help give our farmers the tools they need to grow their businesses for years to come. This transformational investment demonstrates our Government’s strong commitment to science and our focus on the agriculture sector as a primary economic driver for creating good jobs and growing the middle class,” stated MacAulay.

Following the announcement, MacAulay was given a brief tour of one of the greenhouses at the Harrow Research and Development Centre.

 

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