Press Releases

RDAR invests $2M to support the evolution of field crop development into Western Crop Innovations

April 8, 2024 – RDAR is investing $2 million to relaunch the Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) as a new not-for-profit corporation, named Western Crop Innovations (WCI). WCI will focus on barley breeding and agronomy research.

"It's an exciting time for crop research in Alberta. Western Crop Innovations will carry on the Field Crop Development Centre's substantial legacy, ensuring its work is addressing in a timely manner the issues farmers are facing in the fields. I am pleased our ministry and RDAR are partners in this significant agriculture development for Alberta." 
RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation 

WCI will form partnerships with industry in crop and livestock sectors to ensure the production of field-proven crop varieties with the greatest potential to benefit the industry and the Alberta economy. 

“This is RDAR’s largest award to date, to a single organization. Before completing this investment, RDAR conducted its full project technical review and risk assessment processes. We recognized that WCI will be a cornerstone of Alberta crop research and will support and advance RDAR's investments in Regional Variety Trials (RVTs) and agronomic projects. From a producer's perspective, WCI will develop a new approach to advancing barley varieties and establish collaborations to benefit Alberta's crop and livestock sectors. This is an essential investment that will strengthen the agriculture sector in Alberta for generations.” 
Dr. David Chalack, RDAR Board Chair 

Under the new leadership, WCI will preserve the legacy of FCDC while revitalizing the organization, promoting a renewed vision, and better positioning Alberta to meet the agriculture industry's needs. Jason Lenz was nominated as Chair of the interim Board. 

"Western Crop Innovations has been established to further advance crop research that will benefit producers in Alberta and across Western Canada. With stakeholder input to a new blueprint, WCI will seek new research partnerships with those in the crop and livestock industry to ensure that the needs of producers are met. The results of this research will result in increased productivity, profitability and competitiveness on our farms. WCI is grateful to receive this funding from RDAR after meeting the rigour of their full project review and see RDAR as a highly valued research funding partner now and into the future." 
Jason Lenz, Chair, Western Crop Innovations 

An interim board has been appointed and their first action is to recruit an interim executive director to manage the transitioning operations from FCDC to WCI. Funding of $3.5M is being provided to the new organization comprised of $1.2M from Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation, $2.0M from RDAR, and the balance from industry partners. 

About RDAR 

RDAR's mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven agriculture research to power the profitability, productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of Agriculture in Alberta. A not-for-profit corporation, RDAR's funding comes from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.