New $2M Agri-research facility opens in Northern Alberta

Feb 22, 2024


The agricultural sector in northern Alberta celebrates a significant milestone with the opening of SARDA Ag Research's new $2 million facility in Donnelly, marking a new chapter in agricultural research and community involvement.   

This development was sparked by a generous donation of 15 acres of land and $750,000 in funding from the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), under its Accelerating Capacity Initiative.  

Previously limited by an aging infrastructure, SARDA Ag Research now enjoys a modern 10,000 square foot building strategically located along Highway 2. This location not only increases visibility but also facilitates easier access for farmers and researchers alike. 

Executive Director Vance Yaremko highlighted the community's excitement, noting the impressive turnout at the grand opening despite inclement weather. This new facility represents not just a physical upgrade but also a leap forward in research capabilities, allowing for the establishment of long-term trials crucial for the region's agricultural development.  

Simon Lavoie, chair of SARDA Ag Research and local farmer, highlighted the importance of a research center that enables farmers to directly observe trial progress, highlighting its value as a crucial resource for the agricultural community. 

The facility's impact extends beyond research; it's envisioned as an educational hub for local students to learn about agriculture. Plans for school tours and a comprehensive program are in the works, aiming to connect the next generation with agriculture. 

Looking ahead, SARDA Ag Research seeks additional funding to further enhance the facility, create new jobs, and expand its programming. A second phase, including the construction of a cold storage facility, is also planned. 

SARDA Ag Research, directed by producers from the region, is dedicated to providing unbiased research on various agricultural aspects.  

The organization's efforts are supported by the WGRF, a farmer-funded body investing in research to benefit western Canadian producers. With over $240 million already invested in crop research and a $32 million commitment to expanding research capacity, the future of agricultural research in northern Alberta looks promising. 

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