Ridgetown attracts new agriculture research building

University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. BlackburnNews.com File Photo

Ridgetown’s University of Guelph Campus is getting a major addition.

The provincial government announced on Monday it’s coming up with $6.5 million for a new agriculture research building. The Ontario government said the new field crop services building will strengthen the competitiveness of the agri-food sector by centralizing agronomy research services, reducing operating costs, and significantly modernizing the field crop research operations on campus.

Randy Pettapiece, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs made the announcement on behalf of Minister Ernie Hardeman at the site in Ridgetown. The new building will support the study of crop production, including best management strategies in crop genetics, nutrient inputs, and integrated pest management.

“Building a new home for agronomy at the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph is part of our strategy to modernize our current research network,” Hardeman said in a statement released Monday. “Investments in agri-food research infrastructure contribute greatly to the sustainability, protection and viability of the Ontario food supply.”

Leadership at the Ridgetown Campus is extremely grateful.

“This is a significant long-term investment in field crop research infrastructure, and I want to thank the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and University of Guelph administration for their tremendous support,” said Ken McEwan, Ridgetown campus director, University of Guelph. “The Ridgetown Campus fills an important need for applied agricultural research, education and outreach that is not duplicated within the province.”

Ontario-based agri-food research produces new products and practices which help Ontario farmers be more competitive and efficient.

“As Canada’s food university, the University of Guelph is committed to providing Ontario’s farmers with world-class research and on-farm solutions that promote crop health and productivity,” said Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research), University of Guelph. “Investments in infrastructure ensure researchers have the tools they need to make profoundly important discoveries that fuel innovation and ensure crop production remains economically competitive and a mainstay of safe, dependable, sustainable, and nutritious food.”

The new building will be 12,000 square feet and will provide space for lab and analysis rooms, cold storage, drying space, small and large equipment storage, and utility spaces that support the operation of the building. Construction has already started and will be finished by the Spring of 2022.