Photo: Kira Glasscock

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) launched the University of Saskatchewan Insect Research Facility (USIRF), the first insect research facility with quarantine capabilities in a Western Canadian university. 

Located on campus in the Agriculture Building, this facility will host research focused on environment protection, food production security, and insight into insect ecology. The quarantine measures meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency Plant Protection Containment Level-2A requirements, allowing researchers to study non-native insects and pathogens that pose a potential threat to western Canadian crops. 

“The research that will be conducted at the USIRF will have beneficial outcomes for pulse growers in Saskatchewan,” said Trent Richards, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) Board Chair. “By investing in this project, along with other funders, grower levy dollars will go toward solving pest-related issues which can provide growers competitive advantages when it comes to food production.” 

The USIRF supports collaborations between pest research and plant breeding which aims to develop proactive methods of managing insects, resulting in new ways to predict pest outbreaks, decrease pesticide use, and develop new pest-resistant crop varieties. 

“Our researchers will be able to conduct the high-impact entomological research needed in Saskatchewan to develop more sustainable pest-management options and mitigate future risk,” said Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn, dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. “These discoveries will have an economic benefit for producers and help protect our agricultural ecosystems.” 

SPG invested $70,000, alongside $500,000 from the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), $285,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, $70,000 from SaskCanola, $70,000 from SaskWheat, and $50,000 from USask.

Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (Usask), Allison Fletcher (SPG), Laura Reiter (WGRF), Wayne Thompson (WGRF), Dr. Baljit Singh (USask), Tracy Broughton (SaskCanola), Dr. Sean Prager (USask)
Left to right: Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (Usask), Allison Fletcher (SPG), Laura Reiter (WGRF), Wayne Thompson (WGRF), Dr. Baljit Singh (USask), Tracy Broughton (SaskCanola), Dr. Sean Prager (USask).

Accountable to and funded by growers, SPG’s strategic direction is guided by a nine-member, grower-elected, Board of Directors. SPG’s mission is to provide leadership for profitable growth for Saskatchewan pulses. 

For more information please contact:      

Amanda Carlson 
Communications Manager 
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers 
Phone: 306-668-0116 

Amber Johnson 
Director of Marketing and Communications 
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers 
Phone: 306-668-3668