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Commission secures additional $5 million for research

The Alberta Barley Commission is making sure farmers’ dollars go a long way. Since August 2009, the Commission has attracted more than $5 million in additional funding for research projects that benefit Alberta’s barley producers.

The Alberta Barley Commission is making sure farmers’ dollars go a long way.

Since August 2009, the Commission has attracted more than $5 million in additional funding for research projects that benefit Alberta’s barley producers.

“Over the last two years, we have focused on increasing the leverage of our producers’ investments in research,” said Mike Leslie, the Commission’s CEO. “In the last 10 months, our focus on attracting outside investment to our research projects has especially paid off.”

In recent years, government has cut investment to research.

In fact, the ratio of government funding to investors’ has dropped from 13:1 to 6:1 over the last few years.

Those cuts have meant a decline in the Commission’s ability to leverage producer dollars to research funding.

Working with government and industry partners, the Commission has tried to reverse this trend and over the last 10 months and has achieved a ratio of 12:1 - $12 from investors for every $1 from Alberta’s barley producers.

This change is due in large part to multi-year federal programs, including Developing Innovative Agri Products (DIAP) and the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). Although these programs are short-term (three to four years), they will go a long way in growing research dollars in the near future, said Leslie.

“Our goal is to leverage producer dollars to the maximum to develop and facilitate research projects that will improve Alberta’s barley industry,” said Leslie. “This includes working with scientists, government and industry on projects that will have long-term benefits for barley farmers.”

The money will go towards several projects including improving malt quality, strengthening feed market prices and optimizing water and nitrogen use, as well as determining the health benefits of barley and developing new markets for existing barley varieties.

The Alberta Barley Commission, is a not-for-profit corporation organized, funded, directed and controlled by the province’s 17,000 barley producers. The Commission coordinates and sponsors research, market development, and technology transfer and policy development on behalf of its producers.