13 Advancing Seed in Alberta | fall.2017 needs. That led to WGRF developing a two-phase strategy for reinvigorat- ing agronomic research capacity. The strategy was finalized in spring 2016, and phase 1 is now being imple- mented. Phase 1 involves rebuilding human resources research capacity at the main public institutions involved in agronomic research in Western Canada – AAFC, University of Alberta, University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba. AAFC has already started filling several positions, and WGRF is working with each of the three universities. Phase 2 will target capacity issues around infrastructure and equipment and at other research organizations. As the various capacity issues are addressed in phases 1 and 2, WGRF is also looking at how it can increase its agronomy-related project funding. Where to From Here? WGRF has built a strong tradition of supporting an impressive range of research, all targeted towards benefits to western Cana- dian crop producers. Researchers recognize WGRF’s valuable role. “WGRF is a very important organization whose support is key to much of the field crop research in Western Canada,” says Kutcher. Cárcamo agrees. “The funding from WGRF is instrumental for crop researchers such as entomologists in Western Canada to allow us to continue to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of farming.” What’s next for WGRF? “WGRF is in transition with the ending of the wheat and barley check-offs. But we’ve created a very stable situation as far as the support for wheat and barley variety development out to 2020. WGRF research expenditures will remain near $18M annually out to 2020, but revenues will decline by about 50 per cent,” says Patterson. “So, as we transition we are looking at what we can do in the Endowment Fund. [With] our strengths and our uniqueness – being western Canadian, multi-crop, farmer- focused and an independent charity – we can play a leadership role in cross-cutting issues.” Many of today’s cross-cutting issues are vitally important to the success of crop pro- duction in Western Canada. Patterson high- lights some examples: “Agronomy research capacity is one. We’ve also got issues related to climate change, whether it is crop adaptation to wetter, to drier, to warmer conditions. We’ve got the issue of what agriculture can do to mitigate climate change, for example by capturing carbon. We’ve got issues that cut across all crops like nutrient management, herbicide-resistant weeds and changing weed populations, and pest monitoring and management. And there are things like genomics capacity and tools that can benefit multiple crops.” According to Harker, it is crucial agencies such as WGRF fund agronomic research that focuses on multiple crops. “Growers do not grow a single crop on their farm. These projects provide growers with tools to manage challenges such as herbicide resist- ance in their entire crop rotation and not just in a single crop. In this regard, WGRF provides a unique service to growers when compared to individual crop funding agencies.” Patterson adds: “No other farm funding organization is focus- ing on a multi-crop, whole farm, integrated approach to western Canadian crop production. We think that is a very good role for WGRF to play moving forward.” Carolyn King Left: Funds from WGRF are helping researchers to assess ways to manage the pea leaf weevil in faba bean, another host for this pest. Photo courtesy Henri Goulet, AAFC (retired) Our genes only come in blue. When you purchase SeCan certified seed you’re getting the promise and performance of SeCan genetics. And with certified seed, you’re investing in the future of plant breeding and new varieties that contribute to your bottom line. Make the comfortable choice. Choose SeCan certified seed. For genes that fit your farm, visit www.secan.com Ad Number: SEC_CERT17 Campaign: Certified Seed Date Produced: October 2017 Publication: Alberta Seed Guide Size: 7.125” x 3.25” SEC_CERT17_ABSG_SEC_CERT17_ABSG.qxd 2017-10-15 5:49 PM Page 1