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Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay announces details of $70 million agricultural science investment

October 11, 2018

Agricultural science and innovation got a big lift in September 2018 when Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced the details of the $70 million dedicated to agricultural science in Budget 2017.

The Minister launched a new initiative called Living Laboratories. Living Laboratories is a nation-wide network of sites where groups both in and outside of government can collaborate to develop and implement innovative solutions to address persistent agri-environmental issues. This is a novel approach to research, with farmers working directly with scientists to conduct experiments right on their farms. Essentially, the goal is to get best-management practices and technologies into the hands of farmers faster by working together. To support this initiative, $10 million is dedicated to conducting collaborative research projects with external partners.

“It's very exciting,” says François Chrétien, the network's project lead. “We've already reached out to many people and associations across the country to get their perspectives on different regional environmental health priorities and to find out how people may be involved and where these sites might be located. Our goal is to have at least some of these sites up and running in the very near future.”

Another highlight, was that $44 million will be used to hire and equip approximately 75 new federal science professionals in emerging fields of agricultural science across the country. This funding will equip these scientists with the state-of-the-art tools they need to advance agricultural research, including environmental sampling equipment and analytical instruments.

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 climate change and soil and water conservation.

With new faces, new ways of doing science, and support to drive it forward, the initiative will help profits on farms with no associated cost to the environment.

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