Alberta’s barley breeding program has successfully developed and introduced several varieties used for livestock feed and for the growing craft brewery market. (Black Press file photo)

Alberta’s barley breeding program has successfully developed and introduced several varieties used for livestock feed and for the growing craft brewery market. (Black Press file photo)

Barley breeding program will move from Lacombe to Olds College

The program will continue to develop new varieties of barley for domestic and international markets

The Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) is moving from Lacombe to Olds. The program has been operating in Lacombe since 1973 and has successfully introduced several new varieties of barley to various markets.

The program will remain physically in Lacombe but Olds College will take over managing the research and development. It will continue to develop and improve barley strains used for animal feed, malt, food and bio-industrial use.

According to the FCDC, Alberta is the largest barley producer in Canada.

Olds College is well known as being the centre of agriculture research innovation according to Devin Dreeshen the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. This is why it was chosen as the new site for the province’s barley breeding program.

This move will allow for a larger research capacity and create new teaching opportunities, Olds College said in a press release.

The province also announced the centre would receive a $10.5 million dollar grant to be distributed over three years. The grant is funded through the Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) from the province, which aims to ensure farmers and ranchers lead agriculture research plans.

Stuart Cullum, President of Olds College, said this is an exciting addition to the educational institute.

“I think we have a track record that the development centre can build upon towards producing results that matter to farmers in Alberta and beyond,” said Cullum.

Cullum said it was the Government of Alberta’s decision to move the program but the program aligns well with the kind of research the college is already doing

The details for the transition are still being worked out but Cullum anticipates the move will officially happen sometime in early 2021.