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New crop research facility coming to Ridgetown

$6.5 million structure to be completed in spring 2022

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The University of Guelph is constructing a new field crop services building at its Ridgetown campus in an effort to modernize research operations.

In an on-campus announcement Oct. 19, public servants and university staff described the soon-to-be 12,000 square foot facility as a long-awaited replacement for the current and much-dated field crop services building.

 

Why it matters: The new crop research facility is a first step in the school’s overall goal to modernize its infrastructure.

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Malcolm Campbell, the university’s vice-president of research, says the facility’s modern design and equipment will provide a more efficient and collaboration-friendly work environment. Research on tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, seed corn, wheat, soybeans, and other crops will all happen within its walls.

The building itself will include six different labs, a variety of analysis rooms, cold storage, drying space, and equipment storage areas. The total investment from the province and the university is $6.5 million. The investment itself is being made through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario – the corporate body which reports directly to the provincial agriculture minister and own agriculture research lands in Ontario.

Rick Nicholls, MPP for Leamington and Chatham-Kent, and Randy Pettapiece, parliamentary assistant to the provincial agriculture minister and MPP for Perth-Wellington said the investment is part of the government’s plan to help Ontario’s agriculture sector modernize, stay competitive, and recover from what has been a considerably strenuous economic year. Campbell specifically identified lucrative export markets, such as that for food-grade soybeans in Japan, as an example where Ontario should leverage innovation investments to stay prominent.

Pettapiece and Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College, also hope the investment might help attract new researchers and students destined for careers in a sector where job opportunities consistently outnumber people.

“The demand always outstrips our supply,” Van Acker says.

Construction began at the end of September this year, and is expected to conclude in the spring of 2022.

 

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Matt McIntosh

Matt is a freelance writer based between Essex County and Chatham-Kent. He is interested in all things scientific, as well as rock n' roll, hunting and history. He also works with his parents on their sixth-generation family farm.

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