OLDS — The field crop development centre of the province’s Agriculture and Forestry ministry is now housed at Olds College.
That announcement was made during a ceremony held today (Oct. 16) at the college.
Olds College will take over ownership of the barley/triticale research program which will be funded via an initial $10.5 million grant over three years.
Eventually, Establishing Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), an arm’s-length, non-profit corporation, will assume responsibility for the funding agreement with the college.
Since 1973, the program has been developing enhanced cereal varieties for feed, malt, food and bio-industrial uses, bringing more economic opportunities to Alberta’s agriculture industry.
Over the years, the barley breeding program has developed and introduced several new varieties of barley to both domestic and international markets. Some examples include:
• AB Advantage, AB Wrangler and AB Tofield, and a highly sought after (but yet unnamed) variety, which are for feeding domestic livestock; and
• AB Lowe and AB Brewnet, which are now used for the growing craft brewing market.
“Olds has long been the centre of agriculture research innovation, so it was a natural fit,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen said in a news release.
“From practical on-farm applications to advanced technical training, the college has helped build modern agriculture in Alberta.
“Tremendous barley varieties have been developed under Alberta’s barley breeding program and a more farmer-focused research program under Olds College, will just make a good thing better.”
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper said the move is a good fit for the province and the college.
“Olds College sits in the heartland of central Alberta’s agriculture belt and is a leader in agriculture education in our province,” he said.
“This new research mandate significantly increases the college’s research capacity, adding to an already forward-thinking agriculture research program and leading to more opportunities for students and measureable benefits for Alberta farmers.”
Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said the move builds on the college’s strengths in the agriculture industry and will help expand its overall research capacity.
“With the barley breeding program at Olds, we will see researchers, producers and industry all at the table to find real-life solutions that will benefit farmers, Alberta consumers and our economy,” he said.
“Olds College welcomes the addition of the Barley/Triticale Research Program to our applied research portfolio, Olds College president Stuart Cullum said.
“Olds College is focused on delivering research programming that is centred on the needs of producers and industry partners and we are committed to collaborating with key stakeholders throughout the sector in order to sustainably position and grow barley/triticale research here in Alberta,” he added.