Early this year, the Alberta government consulted with farmers, industry and key partners in the agricultural sector.

From that engagement, there was a consensus that farmers, in collaboration with others involved in research, are best positioned to determine agricultural research priorities.

RDAR’s structure takes the best parts of previous research models, such as Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF), as it ensures research reflects the priorities of farmers and ranchers. It is imperative that agriculture research in Alberta achieves outcomes that can be applied in the field and on the ranch.

A regionally reflective advisory board will assist the interim board with important projects to ensure value, profitability and areas of focus.

“We will make sure farmers direct research priorities. RDAR will ensure Alberta’s agriculture industry has more financial flexibility and autonomy to fund longer-term projects. Governments shouldn’t force ideology on research priorities – research priorities should be determined by industry. Research can be a massive springboard for economic growth and, with the right focus, RDAR can achieve that for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

An interim board and CEO has been put in place to establish RDAR. Research funding will begin flowing by September 2020 and achieve full operational capacity by March 2021. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, $2 million in grant funding will be provided this year to support initial operations, which will allow RDAR to begin focusing on priority research right away.

“We know a new system needs to be established with the voices of producers strongly considered and driving research initiatives while working in a collaborative environment with scientists and others. This new model will ensure predictable, long-term funding. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to make that a reality.”

Dr. David Chalack, interim board chair, Results Driven Agriculture Research

Quick facts

  • Interim board members:
    • Dr. Gerald Hauer, interim CEO
    • Clinton Dobson, interim research director
    • Dr. David Chalack, chair
    • Brian Otto
    • Tom Steve
    • Kelly Smith-Fraser
    • Nichole Neubauer
    • Dr. Stanford Blade
    • Matt Sawyer
    • Melissa Downing
    • Vance Yaremko
  • In January, Agriculture and Forestry conducted 17 farmer-led research engagement sessions across Alberta
    • 650 people attended in-person sessions
    • 1,422 people completed an online survey
  • In Budget 2020, government maintained agriculture research funding at $37 million.
  • Post-secondary institutions will be provided funds to carry out priority agricultural research projects.

Responsibilities

Results Driven Agriculture Research will be tasked with guiding Alberta’s agriculture research priorities to ensure they reflect the needs of farmers, ranchers and others in the agriculture industry.

Interim board

Results Driven Agriculture Research will be led by a board elected by farmers through their respective marketing boards and commissions. An interim board has been appointed to help start up the organization.

Dr. David Chalack, Interim Chair

A veterinarian from the Calgary-Cochrane area and a Canadian Agriculture Hall of Famer, Dr. Chalack has held numerous chair positions, including the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, and is the former president and Chairman of the Calgary Stampede. Dr. Chalack has extensive international experience in his roles at Alta Genetics Inc.

Brian Otto

Brian, a fourth-generation farmer, is the past chair of the Barley Council of Canada and has sat on numerous boards as director, including the Alberta Barley Commission and the Western Grains Research Foundation.

Kelly Smith-Fraser

Current chair of Alberta Beef Producers, former president of the Canadian Maine-Anjou Association and operator of the NuHaven Cattle Company, Kelly comes from a long line of beef producers.

Matt Sawyer

A passionate promoter of agriculture as a business and way of life, Matt farms a mixed grain and cattle operation just west of Acme and is currently a director with Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and a past chair of Alberta Barley Commission.

Melissa Downing

A fifth-generation family farmer raising cattle near Metiskow, Melissa is also a provincial co-ordinator with the Verified Beef Production Plus program and has previously worked with Spring Creek Ranch Premium Beef and Highland Feeders.

Nichole Neubauer

As owner and operator of Neubauer Farms, a mixed farming operation outside Medicine Hat, Nichole has received the BMO Farm Family Award and the Century Farm Award. She also hosts the Growing Minds on-farm agriculture education program.

Dr. Stanford Blade

Dr. Blade has been the Dean of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences since 2014, and served on multiple agriculture boards and the University of Alberta Senate.

Tom Steve

General Manager of Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley commissions, Tom has held senior positions in the grain industry, government and media.

Vance Yaremko

Vance is the executive director of Smoky River Applied Research and Demonstration Association (SARDA), and has held a variety of roles in the agriculture industry.

Interim CEO and Research Director

Dr. Gerald Hauer, Interim CEO

Gerald is the former executive director of the Livestock and Crops Research Branch with Agriculture and Forestry, former Chief Provincial Veterinarian, worked in private veterinary practice in rural Alberta and much more.

Clinton Dobson, Interim Research Director

Clinton is the former director of Agriculture and Forestry’s Innovation Agriculture Grant section and former research manager with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency.

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