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APG’s Partnership with ACIDF is Essential to Moving Pulse Production Forward in Alberta (PCN Winter 2015) DEC 22 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Pulse Crop News.

The Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF) is a vital partner in the advancement of agricultural research in our province. As grower groups investing producer levy dollars in breeding, pest management, agronomy and more, we rely on leveraging funding to ensure that we are focusing our efforts collaboratively with other crop commissions as well as publicly-funded bodies. This results in a synergy that helps to propel forward not only the impact of the research in which we are able to invest, but also exponentially increases the depth, scope and sophistication of the work.

The Alberta Pulse Growers has partnered with ACIDF many times, cofunding research projects that are timely and relevant to the pulse industry in Alberta. The ACIDF board includes a member to advocate for pulse projects, and APG has had the opportunity to include this individual on our own research committee. This has proven to be an exceptionally fruitful relationship as the commission’s research priorities are developed in a more “team-like” approach with ACIDF. Additionally, the pulse representative has gained confidence to speak to the issues faced by the pulse industry across the province. The mutual benefits of this have allowed both parties to better invest in research projects that truly reflect the needs of growers.

Fostering an openness and teambased approach, from project development to setting industry priorities and challenges, has encouraged a transparency that ensures that the right projects are funded, and that project budgets align with the intended deliverables. Duplication of work and “double-dipping” of funds is significantly impeded by the nature of the funding consortium process, as well as the open lines of communication between ourselves and ACIDF.

As a relatively small organization with new people and positions, APG staff often rely on the knowledge of the ACIDF staff for an understanding of the historical relationships, project backgrounds, and even quality of particular research programs. This is becoming increasingly important as the pool of research capacity is dwindling rapidly. Wise investment of grower dollars is imperative and ACIDF is a key partner in our ability to do so.

Over the past five years, ACIDF and APG have jointly committed funding to 26 research projects with a pulse focus for a total combined value of well over $5 million. The Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund has committed $3,503,865, and APG committed $1,842,030. These collaborations have allowed for the accomplishment of significant milestones to production in our province, such as:

  • diagnostic tools for producers to determine suitability of winter pulses to their farms,
  • feasibility of solid seeding dry beans, • new and better fertility guidelines for dry beans,
  • germplasm development for improving varieties of peas, beans and lentils,
  • development of disease resistance in peas through novel breeding techniques,
  • quantification of nitrogen fixation ability of peas and benefits to sustainability,
  • improved understanding of several diseases and best control methods, and
  • exploration of the potential of new pulse crops such as mung bean for Alberta.

The above are just a few of the completed projects that have greatly contributed to the economic and sustainable production of producers.

Ongoing projects are dealing with some of the most pressing issues faced by pulse producers. Root diseases are becoming significant impediments to profitability and yield of peas across the entire province. A project was developed by APG and ACIDF with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Lethbridge pathologist Syama Chatterton to very specifically address the risk, susceptibility and characterize the diseases to better allow producers to combat this suite of diseases that are especially devastating.

As we have experienced cool and wet spring conditions during the past two years, this project has become pivotal in empowering producers to understand and mitigate their risk. Much effort is being focused on quick and timely knowledge transfer of the results of this project. This is just one example of the high impact type of research that partnership with ACIDF allows APG to initiate.

The ability of grower commissions, such as the Alberta Pulse Growers, to leverage funding with an organization such as ACIDF, which spans all crop types, is committed to furthering agriculture and is focused on impactful research, is critical for maintaining the purpose and function of our organizations.