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Rendering of Prairie Crops and Soils Research Facility.

Rendering of the Prairie Crops and Soils Research Facility

New prairie crops and soils research facility set to shape the global agri-food sector

July 5, 2022 — 

UM’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences is poised to boost economic vitality in Canada and enhance global food security and agricultural sustainability.  

Building on the faculty’s global reputation for innovation and discovery, the faculty is developing the new Prairie Crops and Soils Research Facility. The facility is set to become Canada’s pre-eminent resource for field crop research and innovation, capable of driving success across the agriculture and agri-food sector. Thanks to the $7.7 million already donated to this project UM scientists will be able to accelerate soil and crop research far beyond what is currently possible. 

Nutrien Ag Solutions is one of the organizations that is pledging funds to make this facility a reality at UM. David Elser, senior vice president of North American retail at Nutrien Ag Solutions, says it’s a key initiative to be a part of. 

“We understand the important role that research has in improving the quality of crops available to feed the future and are proud to support this program and the education it will provide to the next generation of agriculture professionals,” says Elser. 

“[UM researchers have] done an exceptional job of providing solutions to help us advance in the world market,” says Fred Greig, past chair of the Manitoba Crop Alliance, a donor to the project. “As stewards of the land, we appreciate information that helps us make the right decisions in our farming practices. It is our turn to help with the entire research process, to support the infrastructure and provide tools for students, faculty and staff to develop the next generation of scientists.” 

Generous support has also been received from Manitoba Canola Growers Association, The McCain Foundation and the J.R. Simplot Company Foundation, along with student contributions from the Student Initiative Fund in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. 

For students, the planned Prairie Crops and Soils Research Facility will enhance their opportunities to learn.  Corinne Bernard is excited about the opportunity provided by the facility.   

“The new facility will help prepare us for after graduation by giving us hands-on experience to complement the knowledge we are learning in the classroom and will set UM apart from other universities with similar programs,” says Bernard.  

Once the remaining $4.1 million is raised to reach the final construction budget, this facility will not only enhance the Manitoba agri-food sector but support the output of a highly experienced workforce. 

“After I graduate,” Bernard says, “I hope to be able to put all the knowledge I’ve gained from UM into the field.”  

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