Ritz Announces Funding For Innovation Projects

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“It’s one thing to have a good idea, it’s another thing to build a team and make that concept a reality in the market”

The federal government has announced a new funding initiative which will help farmers to innovate and develop new opportunities in the marketplace. The announcement was made last month at the Lacombe Research Centre by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

The Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations Program will invest $158 million to support industry-led innovation initiatives which will bring new agricultural products to the market.

“Canadian farmers know that success depends on developing new products and finding new ways to get them to the marketplace. Through this new programming, we’ll be able to help farmers continue to do just that. It’s one thing to have a good idea, it’s another thing to build a team and make that concept a reality in the market,” said Ritz.

“This program will bring together farmers, processors, researchers and investors to build those clusters and provide the critical mass to make these programs work,” he said.

Ritz cited biofuels, nutraceuticals and industrial products made from plant sources as possible candidates, and said he believed that investments in agriculture, science and technology would also help create jobs across the country.

Local government officials and industry members were present at the announcement, including Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, Blaine Calkins, and Member of Parliament for Red Deer, Earl Dreeshen.

Government officials hope these funds will help bring new products to market in less time. Ritz said government will also work with farm leaders and experts to analyze potential future trends in consumer demands and technologies.

The Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations program has four components to be delivered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The programs bring together industry, producers, academics and government expertise to bring new products to the marketplace.

The initiative is part of the Growing Forward policy framework, a federal, provincial and territorial initiative which focuses on creating new opportunities for farmers which help them compete in the international marketplace. The program contains components to improve business, show care for the environment and meet concerns around food safety and traceability.

The Growing Forward project will deliver $1 billion in funding for Canadian farmers over the next four years.

About the author

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Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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