Minister MacAulay announces investment in crop diversification research

News release

May 30, 2024 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Diversity in field crops creates an agriculture ecosystem that is profitable and resilient to climate change. Small acreage crops, like camelina, carinata, flax, mustard and sunflower, contribute to the resiliency of Canadian crop production thanks to their ability to withstand drought, heat, and soil nutrient deficiency.

To support research to increase crop diversity, today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced up to $8,124,319 to Ag-West Bio Inc. through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Ag-West Bio will manage the Diverse Field Crops Cluster, a coordinated group of organizations representing small acreage crops, with the goal of building capacity and increasing the acreage seeded to diverse crops.

Crop research is a key driver of innovation and advancement for producers, and it has the potential to generate long-term, sustainable economic growth for Canada's agricultural sector. The Cluster research activities aim to:

  • Benchmark the GHG emissions produced by diverse crops and understand how those emissions are impacted by nitrogen fertilizer use
  • Further develop new oilseed crops, such as camelina, that are more adapted to production on lower-quality land
  • Improve genetic resiliency, yields, and disease resistance in rotation crops such as mustard, flax, and sunflower


"There is no doubt that our farmers are among the first to feel the impacts of climate change. That's exactly why we're supporting this important research to increase the yield and profitability of diverse field crops and make the sector more resilient."

- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"We're pleased to support research that builds on the Prairies' extensive agricultural know-how. Applying that knowledge to a wider range of crops creates new sources of value, and jobs in rural areas. This project brings together partners with a shared purpose who can draw upon local assets and strengths across our region. Not one government, industry, or organization can do it alone. Investments like this one, supporting the Green Prairie Economy, are a step towards our goal to transition to a stronger, sustainable economic future together."

- The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan

"Ag-West Bio is grateful for this continued support of the Diverse Field Crops Cluster (DFCC). The goal with DFCC is to give farmers viable alternatives to include in their rotations, which will help create an agricultural ecosystem that is more profitable while also being more resilient to climate change. By pooling resources, DFCC can advance these crops much faster."

- Karen Churchill, President and CEO of Ag-West Bio

Quick facts

  • Diverse field crops, such as the ones supported in this Cluster, grown in rotation with the major crops cultivated in Canada, can reduce the risks associated with a limited crop rotation.

  • The five crops researched in the Diverse Field Crops Cluster are primarily adapted to Western Canada's environment.

  • The AgriScience Program, under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, aims to accelerate innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector, and Canadians.

  • The Clusters Component, under the AgriScience Program, supports projects intended to mobilize industry, government and academia through partnerships and address priority national themes and horizontal issues.

  • Ag-West Bio Inc. is a Canadian not-for-profit organization created in 1989 by the Government of Saskatchewan, through the Ministry of Agriculture, to accelerate the emerging ag-biotech sector and to support the bioeconomy by linking capabilities to resources.

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has partnered with Prairies Economic Development Canada and other government departments in support of the Green Prairie Economy. This is a commitment to supporting businesses and communities across the Prairie provinces and seizing new opportunities to grow Canada's globally competitive economy sustainably.

  • Within the Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy, federal departments coordinate investments for the Prairies and collaborate closely with Prairie stakeholders on their priorities for a prosperous and sustainable economy. The Framework is a principles-based approach that respects provincial jurisdictions and supports economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Associated links


For media:

Francis Chechile
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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