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New funding for wheat research

Premier Brad Wall recently announced $10 million in new funding for wheat-related research over five years.

Premier Brad Wall recently announced $10 million in new funding for wheat-related research over five years.

This funding will go toward research projects that accelerate the development of wheat varieties and improve yield, quality and tolerance to disease and extreme weather conditions.

"It's time to put wheat back on top again," Wall said. "Early varieties like Marquis made farming worthwhile in all but the most inhospitable parts of the prairies. It allowed the prairies to become the breadbasket of the British Empire for the next 100 years. It's time to recapture that leadership, so Saskatchewan can help feed a hungry planet."

Recently, wheat has become less profitable for producers to grow, relative to other options such as canola and pulses, two crops that weren't even grown in any significant amount in western Canada 40 years ago. Yet increasing global demand for food makes it crucial that new investments be made in wheat research.

Wall made the announcement at the Saskatchewan Agriculture Wheat Summit in Saskatoon. The summit brings together industry stakeholders to discuss Canadian wheat research, variety development, production and marketing.

"We have some of the best producers in the world in Saskatchewan and we are committed to investing in research to address their needs," Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said. "This increased research funding will lead to new wheat varieties which will ultimately create long-term benefits for Saskatchewan farmers."

"Wheat has always been an important crop for Saskatchewan farmers and research is critical to our future," Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association Chair Gerrid Gust said. "We are very pleased with this new funding which will give farmers the opportunity to increase profits and help our industry remain competitive in the world marketplace."

The new wheat-related research funding will be used to partner with public and private research organizations. This funding will be added to the Ministry of Agriculture's Agriculture Development Fund.

Since 2008, the ministry has invested nearly $62 million to support agriculture research in Saskatchewan.