The government of Canada has announced that it is expanding research towards crop diversity through a new grant to a research initiative.

They've announced up to $8,124,319 to Ag-West Bio Inc. through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Through that they hope to boost the number of small acreage crops, like camelina, carinata, flax, mustard, and sunflower, which contribute to the resiliency of Canadian crop production thanks to their ability to withstand drought, heat, and soil nutrient deficiency.

"There is no doubt that our farmers are among the first to feel the impacts of climate change," said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, "That's exactly why we're supporting this important research to increase the yield and profitability of diverse field crops and make the sector more resilient."

​​​​​Crop research has the potential to generate long-term, sustainable economic growth for Canada's agricultural sector. The Cluster research activities aim to:

  • Benchmark the GHG emissions produced by diverse crops and understand how those emissions are impacted by nitrogen fertilizer use
  • Further develop new oilseed crops, such as camelina, that are more adapted to production on lower-quality land
  • Improve genetic resiliency, yields, and disease resistance in rotation crops such as mustard, flax, and sunflower

"We're pleased to support research that builds on the Prairies' extensive agricultural know-how. Applying that knowledge to a wider range of crops creates new sources of value, and jobs in rural areas," said Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan, "This project brings together partners with a shared purpose who can draw upon local assets and strengths across our region. Not one government, industry, or organization can do it alone. Investments like this one, supporting the Green Prairie Economy, are a step towards our goal to transition to a stronger, sustainable economic future together."

Ag-West Bio will manage the Diverse Field Crops Cluster, a coordinated group of organizations representing small acreage crops, with the goal of building capacity and increasing the acreage seeded to diverse crops.

"Ag-West Bio is grateful for this continued support of the Diverse Field Crops Cluster (DFCC)," said Karen Churchill, President and CEO of Ag-West Bio, "The goal with DFCC is to give farmers viable alternatives to include in their rotations, which will help create an agricultural ecosystem that is more profitable while also being more resilient to climate change."