PEI

P.E.I. farmers 1st to join new federal research program

P.E.I. will be home to new farm research program, in what the federal government is calling Canada's first living lab.

Program will have farmers take active role in research

The program will look at sustainable practices. (Brian McInnis)

P.E.I. will be home to new farm research program, in what the federal government is calling Canada's first living lab.

The announcement was made by Malpeque MP Wayne Easter Thursday morning in Bedeque. 

The Living Laboratories Initiative is a new approach to agriculture research that puts farmers and scientists side by side to co-develop, test and monitor new practices and technology in real time. The goal is to bring more sustainable farming and management practices to address issues such as water management, fertilizer use, and soil and nutrient conservation. 

The program on P.E.I. will be run by the East Prince Agri-Environment Association, a not-for-profit organization representing 13 Prince Edward Island farms that are working together to improve and create sustainable agricultural practices.

It will receive $2.4 million of the overall $10 million the government is investing in the national program.

"This funding from [Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada] will enable farmers to work directly with researchers," said association member Andrea McKenna in a news release.

"[We will] carry out important trials that will help build and support a more sustainable ecosystem for growing crops and protecting our environment."

Several departments involved

Those researchers could be from the public and private sectors, as well as from universities.

The association will lead the on-farm research and work with more than 20 science teams from several federal government departments including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

"This significant investment and new, innovative, collaborative research approach will put P.E.I. farmers at the core of developing and testing best management practices," said Easter.

"With tailored tools, they will have the power to drive productivity in a sustainable fashion in the fields across this beautiful province." 

Additional sites for the program will be announced in four regions across Canada: the Eastern Prairies, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

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