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Grenfell expanding agricultural study and research


Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, is poised to facilitate  the next generation of farmers in Newfoundland and Labrador.Two years ago, Antony Card listened to delegates of the first agricultural research symposium in Corner Brook. The future of the industry appeared bleak from certain perspectives to the associate vice-president (Grenfell) research.

Antony Card, associate vice-president (Grenfell) research, addresses delegates at the agricultural research symposium in Corner Brook.
—Photo by Cory Hurley/The Western Star

“The average age of farmers was 55 years. We didn’t have a training program for young farmers. There are transportation issues,” he told the delegates at the 2nd biennial symposium Wednesday.

“These are really critical social-science questions.”

The boreal ecosystem research facility at Grenfell was opened in March 2012. Two years later, Card was praising its cutting-edge resources to help a world-class faculty address those concerns.

Six professors have been hired, with a seventh in negotiation. There will be two new masters programs introduced at Grenfell in September involving agriculture, forestry, and environmental science, Card said.

The university will collaborate with ongoing work with the provincial government, as well as others.

Sabrina Ellsworth, manager of agricultural research with the Department of Natural Resources, provided an overview of the programs and projects completed and ongoing.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Agriculture Research Initiative recently completed its three-year, $7.5-million program. There were 68 projects funded at about $6 million, according to Ellsworth. Of those projects, 46 were government-led and involved 85 farms across the province, while 13 were industry-led and nine were led by academia.

The department maintains a budget of $1 million that supports 17 projects on 30 farms throughout the province, she said. Research is ongoing involving livestock and fruits and vegetables.

The Agricultural Research Advisory Committee is developing an agricultural research strategy for the province.

 

 

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