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CAN (ON): Governments investing in seed facility to support economic growth

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $330,000 through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) to enhance the Superior Plant Upgrading and Distribution (SPUD) Unit in New Liskeard. The SPUD Unit supports farmers and the wider agriculture and food industry by offering testing for plant diseases and providing a stock of healthy plants to commercial growers across the province.

"Commercial growers across Ontario are on the cutting edge of innovation, bringing greater crop diversity to the province's agriculture sector," said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "This investment will help growers access top-quality crops and crop research so they can reach current markets and create new opportunities."

This investment will enable a variety of capital and equipment upgrades to the SPUD Unit facility, including improvements to the irrigation, air filtration, heating, and control systems, increases to sterilization capacity, and improvements to the greenhouse coverings. It will improve the ability to anticipate, detect, mitigate, and reduce plant diseases and pests along the supply chain, benefitting potato, berry, garlic, sweet potato, and hazelnut growers in the province.

"As we have set out in the Grow Ontario Strategy, we're increasing the creation and adoption of research and innovation that's supporting our agriculture and food industry," said Rob Flack, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Agribusiness. "Through these upgrades to the SPUD Unit, our government is making farming and food production in this province more resilient and competitive, and strengthening the industry against future disruptions."

"The SPUD Unit is a critical piece of infrastructure, supporting the clean seed and propagation needs of several significant edible horticulture crops in Ontario," said Shawn Brenn, Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association. "This investment is crucial to the continuity of the SPUD Unit as we collaborate with the government on its future success."

The SPUD Unit is operated by the University of Guelph and funded in part by the Ontario Agri-food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Agribusiness, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, and the University of Guelph to advance research and innovation.

"The University of Guelph is proud to work with our provincial partners to provide infrastructure that enables cutting-edge research and innovation," said Dr. Rene Van Acker, incoming Vice-President (Research and Innovation) at the University of Guelph. "We welcome this critical investment that will support Ontario's agri-food sector."

Sustainable CAP is a five-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of Canada's agriculture, agrifood and agribased products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs designed and delivered by the provinces and territories.


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