a man standing in a field looking down at a handful of potatoes
Dr. Chandra Singh, Senior Research Chair, Advanced Post-Harvest Technology Centre, Lethbridge College.

Lethbridge College’s on-site research capabilities received a major boost with more than $2 million in federal funding announced today in Lethbridge. The funding from PrairiesCan will allow the college to complete development of its new the Agriculture Research Innovation Facility and to hire skilled personnel to operate its state-of-the-art agriculture research laboratory.

The grant is one of the largest applied research grants in Lethbridge College’s history. Funding from PrairiesCan will cover a portion of the infrastructure costs needed to complete the Agriculture Research Innovation Facility as well as provide three years of funding for four highly qualified personnel to work in the labs and operate specialized equipment. The facility is expected to be operational by summer 2023.

“This significant investment by PrairiesCan enables us to expand capacity for innovation in agricultural technologies to serve industry,” says Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Vice President – Research and Partnerships. “This project gives our researchers on-campus research capabilities that have never been available before and will allow them to undertake testing that will expedite results and further enhance reporting to industry through our affordable and accessible services.”

Lethbridge College’s Agriculture Research Innovation Facility is in the former Farm Stewardship Centre, which is located on the south end of the college campus and was acquired by the college from Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation last year. This facility has become a hub for agriculture research and innovation, with the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE) creating research offices in the building in addition to construction of seven research laboratories and one collaborative workshop space. The college has already secured more than $4 million in specialized laboratory equipment for these labs from federal and provincial grants. Teams from the college’s Aquaculture Centre of Excellence, Centre for Sustainable Food Production, Advanced Post-harvest Technology Centre, and Mueller Irrigation Group will all make use of the new facility.

“Our researchers work directly with agriculture producers, food processors, industry and other affiliated groups to diversify our economy and strive for a sustainable future,” says Megan Shapka, Director of Applied Research Operations. “Our innovative solutions benefit the local and provincial economy as we support innovative small- and medium-sized ag-tech and agri-food producers in their efforts to start up and scale up operations and develop new market opportunities.”

Lethbridge College’s funding was part of more than $11.2 million in PrairiesCan funding announced for Lethbridge and region today by the Hon. Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, who officially unveiled a new PrairiesCan service location in Lethbridge.

“The Lethbridge region is a cornerstone of Alberta’s prosperity, which is why our government is making investments that enable this region to further build on its strengths while creating and attracting high quality jobs,” says Vandal. “Our new PrairiesCan service location will allow us to work with local partners and sharpen our focus on further strengthening the area’s economy.”

Agriculture research teams at Lethbridge College operate within the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE). CARIE connects small- and medium-sized enterprises in the agriculture industry with the technologies and research expertise at Lethbridge College to enhance their productivity, competitiveness and innovation results. Lethbridge College has placed among Canada’s top 30 research colleges as ranked by Research Infosource in both the 2020 and 2021 rankings and was recognized as one of Canada’s fastest growing research colleges.