OTTAWA – The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, recently announced a total investment of up to $5,257,073 to the Canadian Barley Research Coalition through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The goal of this Cluster is to support research that will lead to a more resilient barley sector that is better equipped to respond to a changing climate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Barley is an important Canadian cereal grain grown for malt, feed, food, and forage and is instrumental in crop rotations. It plays a key role in meeting diverse needs in the food and beverage industry, as well as livestock feed.

Among other initiatives, the Barley Cluster research activities will explore improving barley sustainability through integrated genetic diversity, nitrogen, and plant growth regulators, developing Canadian barley varieties that are more resistant to climate change,developing next-generation barley traits for economic profitability and environmental sustainability in Canada, and disease resistance to improve environmental, economic, and sector resiliency.

Further research and development in the barley sector is essential to maintaining its competitiveness and to allow for industrial and economic growth.

“Our hardworking barley producers provide top-quality grain to so many industries, from the livestock sector to the Canadian brewing industry,” said Minister MacAulay, in making the announcement. “This vitally important research will help producers incorporate climate-resilient barley crops into their operations and increase the profitability and sustainability of their farms.”

“This investment in research and innovation in Canadian-grown barley will provide further support for the sustainable economic growth of Saskatchewan and Alberta, which dominate production,” said The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada.

“The project aims to respond to climate change in ways that spur economic development and is an example of how the Framework for a Green Prairie Economy moves us closer to our goal of creating a stronger, sustainable economic future together.”

Cody Glenn, Canadian Barley Research Coalition chair and farmer from Climax, Saskatchewan expressed his gratitude for the investment. “We would like to thank the government for their continued support of invaluable research under this program. Barley is such an important crop for farmers to include in their rotations, and has important end uses in Canada and beyond, so this research will go a long way towards ensuring barley remains a profitable and sustainable crop option.”

Barley is grown in all areas of Canada with an average annual production of close to 10 million tonnes, however, it is mainly grown in the prairie provinces of Western Canada.

The Canadian Barley Research Coalition is a national not-for-profit organization with a focus on improving the profitability and competitiveness for Canadian barley through long-term research investments.

The AgriScience Program, under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, aims to accelerate innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and research that benefit the agriculture and agri-food sector, and Canadians.

The Clusters Component, under the AgriScience Program, supports projects intended to mobilize industry, government and academia through partnerships and address priority national themes and horizontal issues.