Open for business
Minster of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman was recently given a tour of the new research facility that opened just outside the Winchester area. The purpose of this facility is to seek whatever growers need and whatever questions they need answering through crop research. Glover photo

WINCHESTER – After a riveting roundtable discussion, the next stop on Minster of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman’s North Dundas journey in late June was at a new Eastern Ontario Crop Research Facility, in conjunction with the existing 150 acres of field crops, corn, cereals and soybeans plots at the Winchester Research Station, which officially opened just outside the area. The purpose of this facility is to give Eastern Ontario field crop farmers the latest findings and crop technologies to help businesses grow and succeed.

“Our government is committed to supporting research that’s providing farmers with the most up-to-date information on best practices and ways to improve and grow their businesses,” said Hardman in a news release announcing the facility’s expansion. “We want to provide farmers in Eastern Ontario with research suited to their local conditions and help them — and all Ontario field crop farmers — be profitable, efficient and sustainable now and into the future.”

The new research facility will enable research that relates to soil and water quality, climate change, nutrient availability and weed control.

“It’s all for crops’ research,” said Holly Byker, manager of the new facility. “We seek to do whatever the local growers come up with in questions in terms of cover crops, strip-till, four-inch beans and looking for alternatives forage options for when we have winterkill. The main service is to help farmers.”

According to Byker, the team has actually had this facility since 1984 but with this recent development, they can operate out of two locations, it’s all consolidated to the Winchester area.

The new 5,210 sq. ft. research facility was an investment that the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario was happy to make, to better contribute to Winchester’s farming community.

“This investment in research infrastructure in Winchester helps contribute to productive, innovative and sustainable agricultural and food sectors and rural communities in Eastern Ontario,” said Dr. Lorne Hepworth, chair of the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario in the news release.

Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research) at the University of Guelph also stated, “The University of Guelph is delighted to continue to serve the Eastern Ontario agri-food sector, leveraging our ­­­­world-class research to ensure the long-term productivity and competitiveness of the sector. This new facility will provide a crucial hub for U of G researchers to continue working together with and in support of local and regional partners, contributing critical data to the province’s field crops research system, that will help drive impactful innovation and sustain the sector across Ontario.”