OTTAWA, ON — Canadian agriculture has long relied on leading-edge research and technology development to keep pace with the rapidly changing ways we plant and store crops, raise animals and produce food. A study by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) shows that the agriculture sector, which employs more than two million people and produces $55 billion in domestic agri-food exports, benefits from strong connections among academia, farmers, industry and all levels of government.
CFI investments in research infrastructure, in particular, have leveraged substantial support from a range of partners and collaborations involving top multidisciplinary researchers. These collaborations have helped increase research productivity, advance knowledge and develop tools to address agriculture-related issues. In particular, the study highlighted three key ways investments in agricultural research result in benefits for Canadians:
- When researchers collaborate directly with farmers and others in the industry, new ideas more quickly become innovations that create benefits like more environmentally friendly and productive farming practices.
- Students and postdoctoral fellows working in research labs are important conduits by which those collaborations are created and strengthened.
- Engagement between researchers and farmers accelerates the uptake of new technologies.
Whether enabling the use of state-of-the-art digital tools on the farm, or providing insights from harvesting big data on soil health, researchers are giving agricultural communities the tools to grow sustainably and maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly changing industry.
Read: Feeding the country’s need for new knowledge in agriculture: a collection of stories on animal science, engineering, social sciences, nature and health sciences as they relate to agricultural research
Download: Pathways to impact: agricultural research
An overview of the common pathways from agricultural research to the impact it has on Canadians