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Investment supports transition of Brooks Greenhouse to Lethbridge College


October 19, 2020
By Greenhouse Canada

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Brooks Greenhouse facility. (Photo: Chandos)

Alberta is increasing research capacity by supporting the transition of the Alberta Irrigation Technology Centre (AITC) and the Brooks Greenhouse to Lethbridge College.

Details are currently being finalized for a $2-million agreement that will see the college manage the 200 acres and three pivots at the AITC. Located just east of Lethbridge, the AITC supports improved irrigation water conservation, efficiency and productivity with a focus on adoption of technologies and agronomic practices.

“I’m happy to see Lethbridge College recognize the importance of this work. This agreement will create practical outcomes for Alberta’s agriculture industry. With the kind of innovation resulting from this research, Alberta will continue to attract food processing investment that will help lead our economic recovery,” says Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

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In addition, the Brooks Greenhouse will be transferred as part of its Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE).

Lethbridge College is hiring five staff to manage these facilities. By working with the college, the AITC and Brooks Greenhouse will be able to offer scientists the opportunity to conduct research at a scale Alberta farmers can then apply in the field. It open up another avenue for Alberta researchers to supplement their regular field programs with some added greenhouse projects.

“This new agreement will strengthen Lethbridge College’s research efforts, while providing a new way for students, researchers and industry to work together on the AITC and CARIE facilities. This new environment will strengthen learning and research while also providing real-world instruction and research opportunities for Alberta’s agricultural industry,” says Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education.

Lethbridge College will operate the facilities as workspace for agriculture researchers from across the industry – post-secondary institutions, private industry and more.

This agreement is another step by Alberta’s government to ensure that farmers and ranchers are leading agriculture research priorities – not government. Establishing Results Driven Agriculture Research, an arm’s-length non-profit corporation, is a first step in making sure research funding priorities are producer-led. Over the long term, RDAR will assume ongoing responsibility for the funding agreement with Lethbridge College.

“As a hub for the agri-food industry in Alberta, I am thrilled that Lethbridge College will be home to more of the important research that supports producers not just in Lethbridge but across the province. Alberta’s government looks forward to continuing to grow and support the agriculture industry in this province,” says Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge-East.

Under this new model, states the press release, agricultural research in Alberta will lead to tangible benefits for farmers, including higher profits, a more abundant food supply at lower cost for consumers and ultimately a higher quality of life in rural communities.

“We thank the Government of Alberta for its commitment to applied agriculture research in southern Alberta and its confidence in Lethbridge College’s ability to lead these operations. This agreement will allow our Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship to build on its strengths and expand its work and relationships with the local agriculture industry to create new and innovative solutions that drive the industry forward and contribute to Alberta’s economic growth.” says Paula Burns, CEO and president, Lethbridge College.

“RDAR is pleased to support the AITC and Brooks Greenhouse going forward. These programs provide direct and tangible benefits to producers and improve competitiveness and profitability,” says Dr. David Chalack, interim board chair, Results Driven Agriculture Research.


Source: Alberta Agriculture