As we celebrate 40 years of the Western Grains Research Foundation this year, it’s an ideal time to reflect on our accomplishments and plan ahead for future success. WGRF has undergone significant changes in strategic direction in recent years. These changes and the anniversary have created an appropriate time to publicly communicate those changes in a refresh of the look of the organization.
We have also developed a short anniversary video. If you are interested here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPlO81dyjTg&t=59s
2020 Annual General Meeting
The WGRF Annual Members’ Meeting was held virtually on March 18, 2021. All 19 Member Organizations (Class A and Class B) were in attendance. The 2020 financial statements were audited by Lingard + Dreger LLP. The auditor reported that the audit was clean and that there were no concerns with WGRF’s processes. The 2020 WGRF Annual report is posted on the WGRF website and will be mailed out to all member organizations.
2021 WGRF Board of Directors
Dr. Keith Degenhardt (Chair), Hughenden, AB
Stewart Wells (Vice-Chair), Swift Current, SK
Bill Gehl, Regina, SK
Bill Prybylski, Willowbrook, SK
Bruce Dalgarno, Newdale, MB
Dick Wymenga, Leslieville, AB
Doug Martin, East Selkirk, MB
Greg Sundquist, Watrous SK
Jason Skotheim, Spruce Home, SK
Jeff Nielsen, Olds, AB
Jill Verwey, Portage la Prairie, MB
Joe Rennick, Milestone, SK
Kenton Possberg, Humboldt, SK
Malcolm Odermatt, Fort St. John, BC
Mark Akins, Hearne, SK
Mike Ammeter, Sylvan Lake, AB
Terry Young, Lacombe, AB
Wade Hainstock, Moose Jaw, SK
March 18, 2021 Board Meeting
WGRF held a Board Meeting virtually on March 18, 2021. The following Directors were elected to positions on WGRF Committees:
Chair: Dr. Keith Degenhardt
Vice Chair: Stewart Wells
Executive Committee: Keith Degenhardt, Stewart Wells, Greg Sundquist, Jeff Nielsen, Jill Verwey
Research Committee: Malcom Odermatt (Chair), Bruce Dalgarno, Dick Wymenga, Greg Sundquist, Kenton Possberg, Wade Hainstock
Governance Committee: Jason Skotheim (Chair), Jill Verwey, Stewart Wells, Wade Hainstock, Terry Young
Investment Committee: Terry Young (Chair), Doug Martin, Mark Akins, Jason Skotheim
The Governance Committee was established in July 2019 to review WGRF’s memberships and governance. In February 2021, the Committee provided the Board with a report and recommendations. The Board is currently reviewing these recommendations and will be reporting to the Membership.
Research Funding Highlights
WGRF is projecting over $53M of research funding over the next four years for new and ongoing initiatives. This includes the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Capacity Initiatives, Five Research Clusters, and funding for both new and ongoing research projects. We look forward to collaborating with our partners in the ongoing funding of research to deliver on the vision of profitable and sustainable western Canadian grain farmers.
Phase 2 Capacity Initiative
The Board approved more than $24 Million for 24 proposals to expand the tools (infrastructure and equipment) necessary to accelerate crop research. We realized several years ago that it’s more than just funding research projects. There needs to be the capacity to carry the research out. To date we have announced the following:
- $293,492 investment at the Gateway Research Organization (GRO) to purchase a new plot combine.
- $727,470 investment in equipment and infrastructure for the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation (IHARF).
- $288,550 investment in the Wheat Breeding Program (WBP) at the University of Alberta for a research plot seeder and combine.
- $266,942 infrastructure investment for field equipment at the Chinook Applied Research Association (CARA).
- $300,000 infrastructure investment project to Mackenzie County in Northern Alberta in partnership with Mackenzie Applied Research Association (MARA).
- $60,440 infrastructure investment to the Yorkton Research Farm.
- $284,000 infrastructure investment to support the University of Alberta Breton Plots.
Future Changes in Crop Production and Implications for Research
WGRF’s research priorities and processes have evolved throughout its 40-year history, but we have always operated with the sole purpose of funding research to benefit western Canadian crop producers. With this in mind, WGRF commissioned a survey to identify and confirm cross cutting production issues of greatest concern to farmers.
The survey was conducted by Amaethon Agricultural Solutions from January to March 2021. Over that time Amaethon conducted 60 interviews with a total of 187 participants from all regions of the prairies. Respondents were asked what western field crop production could look like in the short (5 year) and longer term (10-20 years).
There was general agreement that farms would likely continue to get larger. Cereals, canola and pulses would continue to be the major acreage crops grown but there was considerable divergence of opinion on which crops would have expansion opportunities and those that would decline in popularity. Research implications were identified in the areas of crop and soil management, sustainability and precision agriculture.
This report was the first step. WGRF will be conducting a series of workshops in 2021 to identify research implications that will influence WGRF’s future research funding initiatives.
The full report can be found on the WGRF website https://wgrf.ca/special-initiatives/future-field-crop-research-needs-and-funding/
Your support and membership in WGRF are greatly appreciated.