BLYTH – The province is pumping $7 million into 49 agri-food research projects. The public dollars will “support greater environmentally friendly agricultural practices, protect livestock health and welfare, and stimulate economic growth within the agri-food sector and Ontario’s rural communities,” according to the Ontario government.
The funded research is a collaboration Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance and the University of Guelph. It includes:
- Evaluating the ability of natural buffer strips to reduce the impact of agricultural practices on freshwater ecosystems, protecting water quality and biodiversity;
- Studying the impact of using herbs instead of antibiotics to improve calf health, growth, and welfare;
- Assessing the capacity of communities to respond to rural and agricultural issues and identify best practices;
- Examining pests, diseases and weeds impacting Ontario crops, develop integrated pest management practices, and examine crop genetics to improve varieties and disease resistance;
- Addressing pathways of common illnesses to improve the health of young animals and evaluating probiotics and alternative control measures.
“Agri-food research is key to strengthening Ontario’s agriculture sector; this advanced research is critical for our province to remaining a world leader in the industry,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “These projects help to develop the most advanced management practices, improve production efficiency and drive economic growth that strengthens farm businesses, the sector and rural economies.”
“As a global leader in agri-food research and innovation, the University of Guelph is committed to creating world-class, cutting-edge solutions that power current and future competitiveness of Ontario’s remarkable agri-food sector,” says Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research). “Discoveries made at U of G, fuelled by OMAFRA’s incredible support, will continue to underpin our province’s sustainable food systems, while ensuring a healthy, prosperous society for generations to come.”
The funded research projects will generate new knowledge, train highly qualified personnel, and help maintain science capacity to address emerging issues facing the sector which in turn, will help grow the economy, according to the government.
Since 2017, OMAFRA has provided approximately $270 million in research program investments under the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.
The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 860,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.3 billion each year to the province’s economy.