The Western Grains Research Foundation has played a very important role in crop research.
Executive Director Garth Patterson says over the 40 years WGRF has invested over $200 million dollars into crop research in over 550 projects.
Patterson says the organization was started by 12 farm groups back in 1981 with a vision for a robust agricultural research funding organization that would be directed by and for farmers.
"WGRF is committed to the original intent of the founders of the organization, that we would be a western Canadian, multi-crop organization comprised of a diverse membership and working with the sole purpose of funding research to benefit western Canadian crop producers."
Dr. Keith Degenhardt, WGRF Chair, applauds the founding members for getting farmers involved from the outset.
"We are the ones who are on the land experiencing the different challenges, so we have a good feel for where the funding should go in research."
Degenhardt operates a mixed cattle and seed farm at Hughenden, Alberta.
He says it’s important for farmer funded research to be farmer directed because it gives you ownership and responsibility to make investments in research that help farmers."
More than 130 farmers from across Western Canada have served on the WGRF Board over the last 40 years.
Today, the WGRF Board is made up of 18 farmers from the four western provinces, ensuring that funding is directed to research that is most needed by producers.
Patteron says WGRF has undergone significant changes in strategic direction in recent years.
These changes and the anniversary have created an opportunity to refresh the look of the organization with a redesigned logo and website, as well as reflect on the impact that the organization has had on farmers.
He notes they will also be conducting an "Advancing Agriculture Through Research Initiative" to get feedback from stakeholders on the most pressing issues affecting farmers and the type of research WGRF should be conducting into the future.