Posted on 07/06/2016, 9:00 am, by mySteinbach

Manitoba’s pulse and soybean growers will benefit from the work of a new applied research specialist and will receive $400,000 in government funding over the next two years. This announcement was made by Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler.

“The government of Canada recognizes that public investment in science can create and support new opportunities for innovation, economic growth, job creation and broad-based prosperity across Canada,” said MacAulay. “Finding new and innovative ways to help pulse and soybean growers achieve higher yields with fewer crop inputs will mean greater returns for farmers and growth for the sector.”

The funding will support a new research agronomist who will study issues like efficient use of crop inputs, improving yields and maximizing profitability, then share these results with producers through training and extension programs.

“We are proud to support this research position, which pulse and soybean growers recognize is essential to the growth and sustainability of their industry,” said Eichler. “It will provide independent, unbiased results to help producers advance the use of new technology and best practices. As soybean and pulse production expands, Manitoba is poised to be a national leader in agronomy research.”

The Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG) will lead this project and contribute an additional $400,000 to support the work of the research agronomist. This initiative supports a multi-year research strategy adopted in 2015 by the association and the more than 3,800 farmers it represents.

“Our members have identified the need for increased agronomic research capacity and we are pleased to be working together with government to ensure that need is met,” said Francois Labelle, executive director, MPSG. “In order to advance the pulse and soybean industry in Manitoba and in Canada, we need to invest in highly qualified people. This partnership is such an investment.”

The researcher will work at the University of Manitoba’s faculty of agricultural and food sciences to support collaboration in areas of shared interest, ensuring producers’ interests are reflected in academia.

Soybeans are the third-largest crop in Manitoba, grown on about 1.5 million acres and resulting in more than $335 million in annual farm cash receipts. More than 200,000 acres are planted in pulses, which include beans, peas and lentils.

The research project is funded through the Grain Innovation Hub, which was announced by the Canada and Manitoba governments in May 2014. Its goal is to leverage $33 million in government and industry funding to ensure Manitoba remains a leader in grain research, production and processing.

The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in cost-shared programming in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.

The ministers noted 2016 is the International Year of Pulses, a global collaboration sponsored by the United Nations to heighten awareness of the nutritional benefits and sustainability of pulses, encourage the use of pulse-based proteins, increase global production and address challenges in the trade of pulses.