WGRF Members Update April 2023

2023 Annual General Meeting

The WGRF Annual Members’ Meeting was held in Saskatoon on April 4, 2023. The 2022 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 2022 WGRF Annual report is posted on the WGRF website and will be mailed out to all member organizations. In 2022, WGRF invested over $11.5 million into breeding, crop research and building research capacity on behalf of western Canadian producers.

Since 1981, WGRF has funded more than $229 million of research in field crops of interest to western Canadian farmers. The Board consists of 18 Directors, all farmers from across western Canada who grow a variety of crops across various soil zones throughout Western Canada. The diversity of their farming experiences, regional locations, soil textures and crops provide great perspective for the Board to direct investments into research projects that show the most potential to benefit western Canadian grain farmers. WGRF has committed nearly $50 million to research and capacity over the next five years.

Members elected the following individuals to the WGRF Board for 2023/24:

2023 WGRF Board of Directors

Adam Littman, Saltcoats, SK

Dave Bishop, Barons, AB

Dick Wymenga, Leslieville, AB

Doug Martin, East Selkirk, MB

Greg Sundquist, Watrous SK

Glenn Wright, Vanscoy, SK

Jeff Nielsen, Olds, AB

Jeremy Welter, Kerrobert, SK

Jill Verwey, Portage la Prairie, MB

Kenton Possberg, Humboldt, SK

Kevin Auch, Carmangay, AB 

Laura Reiter, Radisson, SK

Malcolm Odermatt, Fort St. John, BC

Mark Akins, Hearne, SK

Mike Ammeter, Sylvan Lake, AB

Robert Kennedy, Hughenden, AB

Terry Boehm, Allan, SK

Wade Hainstock, Moose Jaw, SK

WGRF Elects New Board Chair

At the first meeting of the new Board following the 2023 AGM, Laura Reiter of Radisson, Saskatchewan was elected as the new Chair of WGRF.  Kevin Auch of Carmangay, Alberta was re-elected as the Vice-Chair.

“WGRF has a long history of funding research that benefits prairie farmers, and I am honored to have been elected as the Board Chair,” says Reiter. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank outgoing Chair, Dr. Keith Degenhardt for his leadership, commitment, and service to WGRF over many years. His contributions to farmer-directed research will benefit Western Canadian farmers for years to come.  The Board would also like to thank out-going directors Bill Prybylski and Stewart Wells for their service to WGRF and farmers.”

“WGRF is a unique organization, focused on funding crop research to benefit prairie farmers,” added Reiter. “Directing investments in field crop research on behalf of farmers is a responsibility that we all take very seriously, and I look forward to helping WGRF continue to invest in projects that will deliver a positive on-farm impact.”

The following Directors were elected to positions on WGRF Committees:

Chair: Laura Reiter

Vice-Chair: Kevin Auch

Executive Committee: Laura Reiter, Kevin Auch, Jill Verwey, Adam Littman, David Bishop

Research Committee: Malcolm Odermatt (Chair), Mark Akins, Jeff Nielsen, Adam Littman, Kenton Possberg, Greg Sundquist

Governance Committee: David Bishop (Chair), Jill Verwey, Kevin Auch, Mike Ammeter, Jeremy Welter

Investment Committee: Doug Martin (Chair), Mike Ammeter, Robert Kennedy, Wade Hainstock

Audit Committee: Wade Hainstock (Chair), Terry Boehm, Dick Wymenga

Regional Factsheets Show Benefits of Diversifying Crop Rotations (February 14, 2023)

WGRF was excited to announce the completion of twelve regional factsheets from the Resilient Rotations project. The factsheets can be found here wgrf.ca/resilient-rotations-factsheet/

The Resilient Rotations project is part of the Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster (ICAC) and is and evaluating various crop rotations to help create more productive, sustainable and resilient cropping systems on the Canadian Prairies. The project is led by Dr. Kui Liu, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. There are agronomists, weed scientists, pathologists, economists and soil health experts involved in this project.

The Resilient Rotations project is supported by funding from WGRF, Alberta Wheat, Sask Wheat, Alberta Pulse Growers, SaskCanola, Manitoba Crop Alliance, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Collaboration Enables more than $1.7 million in Grower-funded Canola Agronomic Research in 2023 (March 15, 2023)

It was announced that the three Prairie, provincial canola grower associations and WGRF have evaluated and selected five new canola research projects to receive funding under the Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP) in 2023.

This investment includes over $1 million from Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and Manitoba Canola Growers, as well as over $600,000 from WGRF. The total investment into 2023 CARP projects is over $1.7 million. The findings from these projects are incorporated into various tools, including the Canola Research Hub and the Canola Encyclopedia. This is WGRF’s fourth year participating in this funding partnership with CARP, and it has been very successful. The projects WGRF is funding  align with our research priorities and we are confident that the knowledge and tools these projects will provide will be beneficial to Western Canadian farmers. More information on CARP can be found at canolacouncil.org

WGRF Announced $1.6 Million to 7 Crop Research Projects (March 29, 2023)

Through a continued co-funding partnership with the Agriculture Funding Consortium (AFC), WGRF was pleased to commit up to $1.6 Million to seven crop research projects. The AFC brings together many of western Canada’s producer organizations focused on funding research.  AFC’s approach to funding agriculture research makes it efficient to collaborate and advance the research priorities of producers, and to reach across provincial borders to partners with similar research priorities.

University of Saskatchewan launches new Insect Research Facility (April 5, 2023)

As part of its $32 million Capacity Initiative, WGRF was pleased to commit $500,000 to help launch the University of Saskatchewan Insect Research Facility (USIRF).  USIRF is the first insect research facility with quarantine capabilities in a western Canadian university. Research conducted in the new facility will result in new and sustainable pest management strategies for important Western Canada field crops.

Funding was also provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation ($285,000), the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission ($70,000), the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers ($70,000), the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission ($70,000), and from USask ($50,000).