red barn across a field

Green agriculture and smart farming will be the topics of a joint webinar this week bringing together University of Guelph and Scottish experts under a strengthened transatlantic collaboration.

The virtual meeting on Oct. 12 will involve scientists from U of G and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in Edinburgh. Called “A Green Rural Recovery: Sustainable Natural Economies of Canada and Scotland.” The event is free and open to the public and will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Using research and technology to ensure environmentally sound farming practices is key to feeding the world in sustainable ways – a particular focus for U of G’s Arrell Food Institute and Food from Thought program, said Dr. Kevin James, a history professor and head of U of G’s Centre for Scottish Studies (CSS).

Experts, including faculty members in U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College, will speak as follows:

  • Dr. Asim Biwas, U of G’s School of Environmental Sciences (SES): smart farming in Ontario grain production
  • Dr. Rainer Roehe, SRUC: mitigation of methane emissions from beef cattle
  • Dr. Richard Dewhirst, SRUC: digital value dairy chain project
  • Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle, SES: integrated data-sharing and soil health and ecosystem services research

A panel discussion will follow.

Dr. Kevin James

“At the University of Guelph, we are absolutely delighted to be partnering with fantastic colleagues at SRUC to promote collaboration between our countries that will catalyze innovation and fuel economic development,” said Dr. Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), whose office is supporting the event.

Added Dr. Wayne Powell, SRUC principal and chief executive, “We are delighted to be hosting this joint webinar. Supported by the Scottish government, it is the latest event in a long-running series of collaborations between the University of Guelph and SRUC.

“It is particularly timely, illustrating examples of key research that aims to build back the natural economy greener and more sustainably from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

James said the event is partly intended to further strengthen long-standing ties between the two institutions. He expects the gathering will help to nurture collaborations in such fields as animal science, animal welfare, environmental systems, and food and agricultural policy.

“These are areas of great importance to both institutions,” said James, who holds the Scottish Studies Foundation Chair in the College of Arts. “Although we’re an ocean apart, we have remarkably similar shared interests in these areas of research.”

He added that he hopes the event will help involve more U of G researchers in the Centre for Scottish Studies.

“Scottish studies as a focus in the history department is almost as old as U of G. I’m excited that the Scottish Studies Centre is now engaging with on- and off-campus members interested in linkages with contemporary Scotland.”


Dr. Kevin James