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Province launches consultation on the future of ‘farmer-led research’

Local session slated for Barrhead Jan. 22, but producers can also fill out an online survey before Jan. 31
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The province is asking farmers for their input on the kind of agricultural research it should be funding. An engagement session is planned for Jan. 22 in Barrhead.

BARRHEAD - Farmers across Alberta have until the end of January to fill out an online survey, or attend one of nine live events, regarding the future of agriculture research being funded by the provincial government.

Although not originally planned, one session will be held locally Jan. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Barrhead Neighbourhood Inn — to register visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/farmer-led-research-engagement-session-tickets-90012448657. In addition, the online survey (https://extranet.gov.ab.ca/opinio6//s?s=FarmerLedResearch) will be available to fill out until Jan. 31. The in-person sessions will Identify what farmer-led research means to producers, explore farmer-led research priorities and evaluate and explore governance models for delivering farmer-led research.

Typically, agricultural research is funded by industry groups, such as provincial crop commissions utilizing a portion of the check-off paid by their members. However, the government also funds and conducts a significant amount of research, said Adrienne South, press secretary for Alberta's Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dresheen.

“We want to make sure that we support research that is important to farmers and ranchers,” said South, in an e-mail. “We are consulting with farmers and ranchers to determine their research priorities and determine whether government should deliver research directly, or strategically fund it.”

South said this consultation will help identify priority areas for farmer-led research.

“One of our government’s commitments is to ensure that farmers, not government, set key agriculture research priorities,” she added.

“We hope to leverage research that is already happening in existing facilities and attract private-sector investment to build new ones.”

When asked what happens after the consultation concludes Jan. 31, South said the information gathered at the sessions and from the online survey will be analyzed and recommendations on the path forward will be developed.

She did not specify if there was a specific deadline for these recommendations to come out.

Incidentally, the provincial consultation on ag research is one of three such consultations announced by the UCP government in recent weeks.

They also kicked off a consultation on how to make tourism in Alberta a $20-billion industry by 2030 and another consultation on fisheries management targeted towards anglers.



About the Author: Kevin Berger

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