The governments of Canada and Manitoba, through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), are investing over $1.3 million over five years to Assiniboine Community College (ACC) for horticulture production through innovative and sustainable production practices and protective system technologies, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced today.
“Research, education, and training in agriculture all play a vitally important role in maintaining Canada’s global competitiveness,” said MacAulay. “This funding to Assiniboine Community College will help ensure our farmers in Manitoba can continue to meet the growing global demand for our high-quality products while strengthening food security right here at home.”
This funding supports the continued growth of ACC’s applied research and extension programming by uniting agricultural education, innovation, industry collaboration, extension, and applied research. The ministers noted this investment builds on the previous ‘Field to Fork’ funding, which provided significant results, including exceeding student enrolment targets by over 400 percent and developing multiple new technologies.
“The next generation of producers are facing a future trying to balance climate change and environmental protection while ensuring that their operations remain viable,” said Kostyshyn. “ACC’s applied research program will offer innovative ways in which producers can meet these challenges, and this funding will help ACC continue to solve the issues and challenges of the horticulture process, develop new products and technologies, and improve business processes and grow their research program to meet the needs of the industry and community.”
Two projects currently underway at ACC include conducting research on high tunnel crop production and research in a passive greenhouse setting, which reduces production costs compared to a standard greenhouse. These studies contribute to making crops grown in Manitoba available over a longer season and work towards providing communities with opportunities to develop local food supply options. ACC is also researching crop varieties, agronomy, and cropping systems to develop crops that are more resilient to extreme weather conditions and, in collaboration with northern Indigenous communities, create adaptable growing systems such as passive-solar greenhouses that foster year-round crop production.
“Having our governments invest in Assiniboine’s research and education gives us the ability to further expand our efforts and continue to work toward solutions around sustainability and food security – both key to the future of our industry,” said Tim Hore, dean, Russ Edwards School of Agriculture and Environment, Assiniboine Community College. “We thank the Manitoba government and the government of Canada for supporting the research and industry collaboration that is so integral to the Edwards school, enhancing opportunities for students to gain real-world professional experiences through applied research projects and ensuring effective knowledge transfer and innovation for our communities, industry, and partners.”
The ministers noted that without this innovative research program, the growth, profitability, and sustainability of the Manitoba horticulture industry would be at a competitive disadvantage versus other horticultural-producing regions of North America.
The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3.5-billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 percent federally and 40 percent provincially-territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.