Lacombe (Rural Roots Canada) – The Alberta government has announced the establishment of a new, non-profit organization in Lacombe, dedicated to advancing agriculture research and crop development in the province.

The Western Crop Innovations (WCI) will carry on the legacy of the Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) as it transitions into this new initiative.
Officially commencing operations on April 1, WCI will continue the FCDC’s research initiatives, including its renowned barley breeding program. As part of its mandate, it will conduct a comprehensive review of its current programming to ensure crop innovations align with the present and future needs of Alberta’s farmers.

In a release, RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, expressed his enthusiasm for the new venture.

“It’s an exciting time for crop research in Alberta,” says Sigurdson. “Western Crop Innovations will carry on the Field Crop Development Centre’s substantial legacy, ensuring its work addresses the issues farmers are facing in the fields.”

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The interim board of Western Crop Innovations, comprised of representatives from government and industry, will oversee all of the organization’s activities and lead the transition process. The new model will also include integrated funding connecting government, industry, and post-secondary institutions.

Jason Lenz, chair of WCI, welcomes the opportunity to lead the organization into the future.

“Considering my farm’s proximity and history with FCDC, I’m happy to help guide Western Crop Innovations to conduct research and development leading to commercialization of superior crop varieties that will benefit Alberta and western Canadian agriculture sectors.”

The anticipated cost of WCIs first year of operation is projected to be $3.5 million. The Alberta government has pledged $3.2 million in funding. Industry support has yet to be determined.