A partnership between the City of Yorkton and Parkland College is paying dividends in several ways.
That was the message delivered by Gwen Machnee with Parkland College in making a presentation to the regular meeting of Yorkton Council.
“We have come to thank you,” she told Council.
“It was five years ago City Council gave Parkland College just under a quarter section of land,” Machnee told Council.
Having access to the land for use allowed the College to become involved in crop research, she said, an effort further enhanced by partnering with the East Central Research Foundation.
“We now have a full time employee working on the research farm,” said Machnee, explaining in the summer he manages the research, and in winter writes reports and works with outreach programs to share the research findings.
The work of the applied research has grown through the years. In year-one they had six research projects, it grew to a record 26 in year three, and last year (2017), they undertook 21, said Machnee.
At the same time the investment in the research has climbed as well, from $60,000 five years ago, to $295,000 in 2017, for a total investment of more than one million since the research farm launched, said Machnee.
“This is all money coming into Yorkton to do research, so I think your investment has really paid off,” she added.
The research has looked into familiar crops such as wheat, canola and oats, but also new crops such as quinoa.
Board member Ken Waldherr from the Churchbridge area, said the research has been further enhanced by a cooperative arrangement with Sunrise Health who are farming land in the same area as a fundraiser. But working with the group the research effort has access to additional acres critical in resting plot land between test years. The same arrangement helps the college and ECRF to farm their idle acres.
Waldherr said they have plans to expand the scope of research carried out under the partnership, but a few things need to fall into place to allow such growth, including access to additional acres, and the addition of a second full time researcher.