Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre
The Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (MCDC) was established in 1993 under a ten-year agreement among the Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba, and Manitoba Horticulture Productivity Enhancement Centre Inc. (MHPEC). Operations continue under the name Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (CMCDC) and a five-year (2013-2018) agreement under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework.
The Centre's mission in brief is to develop agronomic solutions to enhance crop diversification and support sustainable water management. Its program/outcome areas are broadly classified as:
- Partnerships and Communication,
- Water Supply and Irrigation,
- Potato Industry Support (applied research and technology transfer),
- Environment, and
- Crop Diversification.
Each of the parties to the Agreement committed to specific annual contributions of resources to the Centre operation. Most development and infrastructure costs, and some operating costs for the first few years, were provided for by Western Economic Diversification (WED) Canada through MHPEC.
Canada's support, provided through the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, includes four staff positions, infrastructure support, and support services.
Manitoba's commitment is met through provision of one full-time staff position, part-time support from other Manitoba staff (technology transfer), and an annual contribution toward operating costs.
MHPEC Inc. is a consortium formed by the two Manitoba French-fry processors (Simplot Canada Inc. and McCain Foods [Canada] Ltd.), and Keystone Potato Producers Association (the processing potato growers association). The MHPEC members support MHPEC through direct cash contributions, which are expended in support of the CMCDC program for supplies, staff, and services.
All partners in CMCDC actively participate in the Centre management and program advisory committees. Input from other industry and stakeholder representatives is also obtained at annual advisory meetings.
About the Centre
The Centre's headquarters site is at Carberry, and satellite sites are at Portage la Prairie and Winkler.
The Carberry site
The Carberry site is located on a half section of excellent agricultural land (mostly Wellwood and Ramada clay loam and loam) at the junction of Highways #1 and #5.
Buildings include an office-lab-classroom complex, a large building for sample processing, shop work, and storage, a chemical storage and handling building, a machine storage building, and grain bins. Equipment for most operations is owned, while some field and research operations are contracted out or conducted by project cooperators. An advanced irrigation system has been installed which permits irrigation of approximately 70 hectares of land, using three pivot irrigators and two linear-move systems well-adapted to meet the needs of irrigation research trials. This capability is unique to Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (CMCDC) in Manitoba, so the Centre attracts most research in Manitoba requiring good irrigation control.
The Portage la Prairie site
The Portage la Prairie site was previously an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Branch sub-station. It has an office-lab-workshop building, a chemical storage and handling building, a large machine storage building, and a small greenhouse. Two linear-move field irrigators and an irrigation water supply system were set up to irrigate much of the land base of over one-quarter section, mostly good quality clay loam.
The Winkler field site
The Winkler field site consists of approximately 16 hectares of sandy loam land, with a linear-move field irrigator. Most field and plot operations are carried out by a local seasonal technician and staff from the Portage la Prairie site; other services are contracted locally.
The three CMCDC sites are strategically located in three areas of Manitoba with high-value crop production potential (including irrigation) and a range of representative soils. Although conditions in Western and Eastern Manitoba are not represented, the Centre is affiliated with three provincial diversification centres located in those areas, for purposes of planning and coordination of its crop diversification initiatives.
AAFC provides four staff positions dedicated full-time to CMCDC - the Centre Manager, Potato Agronomist, Office Administrator, and Portage Site Supervisor.
Manitoba provides one full-time on-site positions at Carberry - the Irrigation Specialist. Manitoba also dedicates portions of off-site Provincial Specialists time to CMCDC programs.
Manitoba Horticulture Productivity Enhancement Centre (MHPEC) provides one full-time staff position (Carberry Site Farm Supervisor), approximately twelve seasonal support staff, and casual seasonal labour.
The primary goal of Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (CMCDC) is the investigation and demonstration of economically and environmentally sustainable crop production. This includes crop diversification and intensive crop production technology practices such as irrigation, and facilitating development of value added processing of Manitoba grown crops. This is accomplished by bringing together partnerships with the appropriate expertise and the provision of suitable land and facilities.
The Centre's mission is to develop agronomic solutions to enhance crop diversification and support sustainable water management.
The primary objectives of the Centre are to:
- contribute to sustainable development and economic diversification by investigating, developing, and extending to the industry in Manitoba appropriate crop diversification and environmentally sound productivity enhancing technologies, including irrigation;
- identify and address specific issues and needs related to the industry, through applied research, innovation, extension, and other means;
- facilitate the continued development of industry in Manitoba that adds value to products of agriculture in the Province;
- contribute to education and public awareness regarding the industry and its practices, especially those related to intensive and advanced crop production; and
- support sustainable water management and stewardship.
Research and Demonstrations
Most of the Centre's programs and projects are carried out in collaboration with other public or private agencies. The nature of the cooperative arrangements are almost as numerous as the projects themselves, that is whatever is required to get the job done by using the resources of both parties efficiently in support of the common objectives. Through this type of cooperation, Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (CMCDC) projects can take advantage of the research knowledge, expertise, and large resources of other agencies, both public (for example, universities, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Branch and Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), Manitoba government) and private (for example, consultants).
Results of CMCDC programs, and general information on agricultural diversification, potato production, irrigation, and environmentally responsible agriculture, are extended to the industry and the public by several means. Staff take part in trade shows and seminars (for example, Manitoba Potato Production Days), organize extension meetings, host annual events at each site, and respond to office and telephone inquiries. As most projects are cooperative, the cooperating agencies also transfer information through their established contacts and mechanisms.
Results, the Future
CMCDC is in its fourteenth season in 2007. The value of diversification of the agricultural and rural economies is widely accepted, and highlighted at times of poor market returns to some of our standard agricultural products. The production of high-value crops facilitated by the Centre typically have farmgate values per acre in excess of ten times those of our standard grains and oilseeds. The Centre also monitors and promotes environmental sustainability of intensive field agriculture, including irrigation. Partners and stakeholders expect to see it continue to play a meaningful role in the development of sustainable intensive agriculture in Manitoba.
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