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18Jun
2024

Farm Credit Canada announces $5 million investment into GIFS at USask to accelerate breeding and innovation for Canadian agriculture

At the podium: Justine Hendricks, FCC President and CEO

Canadian agriculture is set to thrive further with a $5 million investment from Farm Credit Canada (FCC) into the accelerated breeding program of the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask). The newly named FCC Accelerated Breeding Program at GIFS will drive sustainable advancements in agricultural productivity across Canada.

Accelerated breeding combines technologies such as genomic selection, speed breeding, bioinformatics and computer simulation to increase the rate of genetic gain for crop and livestock breeding programs, delivering new products into the hands of producers two to three years faster and improving agronomics, quality and disease resistant traits.

Deployed for over 20 years in dairy and for more than a decade in crops such as corn and soybean through large corporations, the FCC Accelerated Breeding Program at GIFS will provide public and private breeders access to the same technologies not routinely available for crops and livestock important to Canada. By boosting Canadian agriculture’s productivity, competitiveness and sustainability, it will help to bolster the country’s global position as a reliable and sustainable producer of food for the world.

A 2023 report by FCC identifies a $30 billion opportunity over ten years to rekindle Canada’s agriculture productivity growth, and highlights innovation and technology as a pathway to achieving this. Increased genetic gain and yield derived through accelerated breeding will help stimulate rural economic growth and translate to increased revenue and market share for Canadian agriculture.

The FCC Accelerated Breeding Program at GIFS complements USask, Saskatchewan and Canada’s strong and successful history of breeding, innovation and agricultural production.

Quotes

“A strong agricultural sector is one that is always innovating – from the farm gate to the plate. Investing in the development of more resilient crop and livestock varieties will help us meet the growing demand for food around the world, and with the support of Farm Credit Canada, the Accelerated Breeding Program at the Global Institute for Food Security will strengthen Canada’s position as a reliable and sustainable global food producer and supplier.”

— The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“For Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry to remain one of the most innovative and competitive in the world, we need to anticipate opportunities in global markets or create new ones ourselves, not simply respond to them. Farm Credit Canada’s support for the Accelerated Breeding Program at the Global Institute for Food Security helps enable this and reinforces our international leadership in agri-food research and production.”

— The Honourable David Marit, Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture

“FCC’s investment in the Accelerated Breeding Program is a commitment to improving Canada’s agricultural productivity and addressing the pressing challenges of improving food security. This collaboration with the Global Institute for Food Security moves us towards maximizing the benefits of the generational opportunity in front of us and will keep Canada at the forefront of agricultural excellence and sustainable production through innovative solutions.”

— Justine Hendricks, FCC President and Chief Executive Officer

“This funding from the FCC will greatly help support the important accelerated breeding work at the Global Institute of Food Security at USask,” said Peter Stoicheff, President, University of Saskatchewan. “Historically, USask has been a leader in this field and it’s imperative we have the most up-to-date tools and advancements to continue to grow our innovative agricultural research and development.”

— Peter Stoicheff (PhD), USask President and Vice-Chancellor

“Canadian breeders have a long history of driving innovation, introducing new varieties and creating new market opportunities. GIFS is thankful for and thrilled to collaborate with a valued partner like Farm Credit Canada to bring the competencies, capacity and capabilities needed to support and partner with public and private sector breeding organizations — enabling access to the most advanced tools and technologies and accelerating the productivity gains for new crop and livestock varieties and hybrids in Canada.”

— Steven Webb (PhD), GIFS Chief Executive Officer