News – for Oct. 24, 2011

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National bee diagnostic centre backed for Peace region

The federal government has pledged almost $1.2 million for the National Bee Diagnostic Centre at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada s Beaverlodge Research Farm.

The centre will focus on detection and diagnostics relating to honey bee health, as well as scientific support to facilitate imports and exports of bees, and preventing or reducing winter losses, the government said.

Earlier this year, the Rural Alberta Development Fund approved $925,360 in funding for the new centre, which is described as a one-stop shop for all bee diagnostic services required by beekeepers, government departments and researchers from across the country.

The centre is expected to perform about 1,500 diagnostic services each year for businesses and other clients.

The WED funds are to go toward capital expenses including a mobile trailer and related diagnostic equipment, the government said.

Grande Prairie Regional College is to manage the centre, which is meant to complement the college s beekeeper technician program.

Lethbridge Research Centre gets a reno

The Lethbridge Research Centre has received funding of almost $4 million for work to upgrade the facility s exterior walls to reduce its heating and cooling costs. A federal government contract valued at $3.9 million was awarded to Chandos Construction of Calgary, to perform the work.

The new exterior walls for the administrative block are expected to be in place by December.

This contract is a major construction project for the Lethbridge area and will further improve the occupational health and safety for employees at this premier research centre, said Dr. Brian Freeze, research manager at Lethbridge said in a release. Alternate workspace arrangements will ensure the important work at the centre goes uninterrupted. Freeze said.

Lethbridge Research Centre is Agriculture Canada s flagship research centre in the West for sustainable beef cattle research and regional crop breeding for forages, winter wheat, soft white wheat, beans, biomass crops (triticale) and potatoes.

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