Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) is excited to announce its initial research priorities. The first call for research funding will consider applications that fall into these priorities.
When Minister Devin Dreeshen announced RDAR’s formation on March 30, 2020, it launched a bold new vision for funding agriculture research in Alberta: that research priorities should be set by producers rather than by government:
“Results Driven Agriculture Research was a commitment to farmers and ranchers that they would set research priorities – not government officials. The long-term stability provided through RDAR will ensure that producers’ concerns regrading innovation and profitability become the core focus of research in Alberta. The province proudly invests $37 million dollars annually into agriculture research, more than the other prairie provinces combined.”Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Since April 1, RDAR’s Board and administration have been working diligently to prepare for an initial call for research applications in fall 2020 by setting initial research priorities.
Late in August 2020, the interim RDAR Board of Directors engaged with representatives from the 20 marketing boards and commissions, 11 industry associations, 7 post-secondary institutions and 12 Applied Research and Forage Associations to develop research priorities.
Leveraging the groups’ own priorities, and coming together as an integrated industry, agreement was reached on these four initial funding priorities:
- Enhanced productivity, profitability and competitiveness: Improved animal and crop health; production efficiency; feed utilization; enhanced pest and disease management; genetic improvements.
- Sustainable and responsible agriculture: Water efficiency and quality; soil health (soil quality); input/output utilization; greenhouse gas emissions; climate variability and adaptability; mitigation of antimicrobial resistance; animal welfare.
- Market demands: food safety, quality, value-added products and diversification: Improved food safety, quality and nutrition; new value-added products; alternative agriculture products; interaction of animal, human and environment (one-health); pathogen control and reduction.
- Extension and knowledge transfer: Knowledge translation and transfer to Alberta’s producers; demonstration and analysis of feasibility; adoption of best management practices.
The Chair of RDAR’s Research Committee, Dr. Stanford Blade, Dean of the Faculty Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, states “We are very proud of the newly-released RDAR research priorities which will unleash new innovations across our sector. Our dedicated RDAR industry partners provided essential input into setting the priorities on behalf of Alberta’s agricultural sector during the middle of a busy harvest season. This is an indication of the engagement and commitment of our community in the important work of RDAR.”
Research in the lab can feel far away from fields and pastures. RDAR will not only fund what is most important to Alberta’s producers, it will make the results of the research real to producers, and to all those who care about one of Alberta’s most important industries.
RDAR is looking forward to collaborating with our industry partners to achieve RDAR’s vision – Alberta’s agriculture and food sectors achieve their full potential through producer-led, strategic investments in research and innovation.
RDAR is a not-for-profit organization that will continually consult with Alberta’s crop and livestock producers to set research priorities and distribute funds. Its mandate is: to support results driven agriculture research priorities and programs that will increase competitiveness and profitability of Alberta’s agriculture industry. Arm’s length from the provincial government, RDAR will be responsible for allocating $37 million per year to research funded from a grant provided primarily from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and a contribution from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP).