A new Grain Farmers of Ontario Professorship in Wheat Breeding has been established in the Department of Plant Agriculture.

Supported by a $1-million investment and involving the Grain Farmers of Ontario, SeCan and the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), the position will help meet a growing need for cereal breeding, especially winter wheat breeding, in Ontario.

“The Grain Farmers of Ontario and SeCan are two longstanding partners and supporters of our college,” says Robert Gordon, OAC dean.

“We are extremely thankful for their commitment to our research and students. As a result of their investment, the University of Guelph will continue to be recognized as a global leader in plant breeding that is also relevant to the Ontario agriculture and food sectors.”

The new investment will pay for the professorship for five to six years; OAC will then assume base funding of a permanent position.

Pertinent research will involve milling quality winter wheat genetics and breeding for Ontario production.

Henry Van Ankum, chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, says: “The goal is for our farmer members to benefit from the development of new, locally adaptable varieties with the functional qualities desired by end users, specifically those within the milling industry in the Great Lakes basin. The focus will be on the significant classes of wheat grown in Ontario.”

The position is expected to be filled in 2014.

Ontario farmers grow more than one million acres’ worth of wheat each year.

Says Prof. Peter Pauls, chair of Plant Agriculture: “We will be looking to recruit a person with world-class credentials to address the opportunities represented in the tremendous increase we have seen in wheat acres in Ontario over the past 30 years.”