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Govts Announce New Research Chair to Focus on Forage

13 June 2013

CANADA - Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced funding of C$1.25 million over five years for the creation of a forage research chair at the University of Saskatchewan.

The forage research chair will focus on forage breeding with an emphasis on developing new forage varieties with improved yields. A dedicated forage research chair will result in new options for Saskatchewan producers to help improve profitability, competitiveness and sustainability in the long-term.

"The creation of the forage chair is a direct response to industry needs," said Minister Ritz. "Strengthening forage research capacity in Saskatchewan supports innovation for long-term profitability and sustainability for producers."

"We have heard from industry that better forage varieties are needed to assist with the long-term growth of the livestock industry in Saskatchewan,” Stewart said. “The new forage research chair announced today is a good first step towards the expansion of Saskatchewan’s livestock and forage industries."

The creation of a forage research chair addresses a recommendation from the Beef, Feed and Forage Review conducted in 2012. In addition, feedback from industry groups during the Growing Forward 2 consultations, including the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, Saskatchewan Forage Council and Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, highlighted the need for increased investment in forage research.

"The announcement of the forage research chair is good news for Saskatchewan’s cattle sector," Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association President Harold Martens said. “New forage varieties will increase productivity on forage land, ultimately leading to improved profitability for cattle producers."

"I am pleased to see governments addressing the growing need for public investment in forage crop breeding research," Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Chair Mark Elford said. “Forages are an integral part of the cattle industry and it is important that producers have access to new technology and forage management processes."

"The Forage Council looks forward to working with the new strategic research program to strengthen the forage industry," Saskatchewan Forage Council President Aaron Ivey said. "Increased investment in forage research will aid in improving plant performance through the development of new varieties, increasing profitability and reducing risk for producers, and conserving the land through environmentally sustainable grazing management."

The forage chair is part of a new Strategic Research Program at the University of Saskatchewan. Since 2007, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested $17.69 million to support a total of 15 research chairs.

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