(Calgary, Alberta) April 14, 2014 – Barley science in Canada received a major boost today with the signing of agreements for the “Adding Value to Barley National Research Cluster” project. The project agreements were signed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), who will also provide the majority of the funding. Industry partners include the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute (BMBRI), the Rahr Corporation, the Atlantic Grains Council, the Barley Council of Canada (BCC) and Alberta Barley. “The Western Grains Research Foundation is pleased to be investing $1.5 million towards the National Barley Cluster,” said Dave Sefton, WGRF Board Chair. “Producers’ investing in research and development provides a solid investment return for western Canadian growers.” Michael Brophy, President and CEO of BMBRI, indicated that investment of industry funds and government funding will be crucial to increasing barley production and, in particular, quality malting barley production. “Our members are very happy to see that their funding commitment, $435,000 over five years, along with funding from grower funding agencies, has leveraged close to three dollars of federal funding from the federal AgriInnovation Program for every one dollar of industry investment,” said Brophy. “We look forward to working with Alberta Barley and the other Barley Cluster grower funding agency partners on the management and implementation of these projects as they move forward.” Collaboration, above all, is the aim of the National Barley Cluster. Partners have banded together from across the country to enhance the industry. “By collaborating on research at a national level, barley is poised to recapture a significant portion of seeded acreage,” said BCC Chair Brian Otto. “We are pleased that these projects focus on market pull for high quality Canadian feed, malt, malt products and healthy food, which will provide the incentive for producers to seed more acres to barley.” Last year, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Gerry Ritz announced funding for the new barley research cluster under the Growing Forward 2 agricultural policy framework. The cluster will shine a spotlight on breeding new barley varieties to help producers increase their yields and offer value-added barley to a variety of markets.
“This investment will enhance the competitiveness of barley farmers and the entire sector through increasing focus on barley research by industry experts, government scientists and universities,” said Alberta Barley Chairman Matt Sawyer. “We are pleased that the federal government has recognized the important role that barley plays in Canadian agriculture.” The cluster will also focus on barley ingredient development for food manufacturers and creating new barley varieties that contain more healthy components.
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