Cigi welcomes $5M in federal government funding for research and innovation

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(l. to r.) Murdock Mackay, Chair, Cigi Board of Directors; the Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; and Earl Geddes, Cigi CEO, at announcement of AIP funding in Cigi's pilot bakery facility.

(l. to r.) Murdoch MacKay, Chair, Cigi Board of Directors; the Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; and Earl Geddes, Cigi CEO, at announcement of AIP funding in Cigi’s pilot bakery.

WINNIPEG Cigi (Canadian International Grains Institute) welcomes a major investment from the Government of Canada in support of Cigi’s research and innovation activities.

The Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced today at Cigi in Winnipeg that funding of $5 million from the AgriInnovation Program (AIP) for five years will enable Cigi to expand its work in research and product innovation.

“This announcement is exciting for the future of Cigi and demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to our work as an independent technical institute,” says Cigi CEO Earl Geddes.

The allocation of AIP funds will allow Cigi the opportunity to broaden its current research and innovation activities supporting the use of Canadian field crops and the Canada brand worldwide on behalf of farmers and industry, he says. “For example, the funding allows us to put a specific focus on the functional properties of various wheat varieties in our continuing effort to ensure customers are receiving the wheat gluten strength they require and a better understanding of the regional differences of varieties and class of wheat, as well as to match funding from Pulse Canada and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers for new product development with pulse flours.”

Cigi has carried out research as part of its marketing efforts, but this is the first time funds are specifically earmarked to work on innovative solutions that add value to Canadian field crops in the marketplace.

“We are pleased to have this funding for multi-faceted, innovation-driven commercial research to create new applications and high-quality products from Canadian wheat, durum, and pulses,” says Dr. Rex Newkirk who will lead Cigi’s technical team in the applied commercial research. “The AIP funding also positions Cigi very well to work with Cereals Canada and provide them with research services as they move forward with their plans and priorities.”

Cigi is an independent market development institute created in 1972. More than 39,000 people representing grain, oilseed, pulse and special crops industries from 115 countries have participated in Cigi programs and seminars. Cigi’s mission is to create a global advantage for Canadian field crops through the delivery of technical expertise, support and customized training to the domestic industry and customers around the world. Cigi is funded by farmers, the Government of Canada (AAFC) and industry partners.

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 For more information, contact:

Earl Geddes
Chief Executive Officer
Cigi (Canadian International Grains Institute)
Ph: (204) 983-4980
Cell: (204) 955-1191
egeddes@cigi.ca

Dr. Rex Newkirk
Vice President, Research and Innovation, Cigi
Ph: (204) 983-2031
Cell: (204) 781-7596
rnewkirk@cigi.ca

Ellen Goodman
Communications Specialist, Cigi
Ph: (204) 983-1145
egoodman@cigi.ca

Backgrounder:
The AIP funding will cover the following Cigi activities:

1) Specific attributes of CWRS and CPSR wheat varieties grown in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta will be identified to determine the potential innovative food applications of each on behalf of customers. Each year the key varieties will be tested and evaluated to identify the best applications and data will be shared with Canadian exporters and food processing companies.

2) Agronomic practices that may impact CWRS quality including gluten strength and other quality characteristics will be identified to understand the effect on customers’ food applications. Through the use of test plots, factors such as fungicide use, variety, and growing location will be studied to meet customers’ needs.

3) Innovative applications for downgraded wheat and durum will be developed. Samples of wheat from various grades and classes will be collected from grain handling facilities and analyzed for applicability in a full range of food products to determine the best commercial applications for all wheat and durum grown in Western Canada.

4) New and innovative food applications and processes demonstrating the unique attributes of Canadian pulses will be developed. This will involve extensive evaluation of new and existing breeding lines with a focus on developing gluten free products from pulses.

Video of Announcement:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTKMs2ZxtS0