Rural research at Brandon University got a six-figure cheque from the provincial government Friday, the latest installment in a five-year funding agreement that was signed in 2012.
The university's Rural Development Institute will use the $110,000 to assist in new community initiatives, including a study of opportunities in Manitoba’s food processing industry.
"RDI is unique in Manitoba," said BU president and vice-chancellor Deborah Poff. "This financial commitment provides resources for the Institute to continue leading and informing discussions about rural values which drive policy at all government levels."
The money is the third in a five-year, $545,000 funding agreement between the institute and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development that supports research and education programs that bring rural issues to audiences throughout Manitoba and the world.
Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell, who was on-hand for the presentation, says the partnership is an important part of provincial efforts to build a stable and profitable agriculture and food sector.
"This cheque will contribute to growth and prosperity across rural and northern Manitoba, driven by a deeper public knowledge of rural opportunities through the work of RDI," he said.
The institute's director, Bill Ashton, said that provincial funding has contributed to a number of important studies, including revitalizing downtown Brandon, an extension survey of the military training trenches dug during the First World War at Camp Hughes, and water quality in Killarney Lake.
A provincial conference on land use last month in Brandon drew over 300 planners, municipal staff, elected officials, economic development officers, and guest speakers.
"RDI is a centre of excellence, where we grow the next generation of rural researchers," Ashton said. "The government’s continued funding will enable us to deliver a comprehensive report this spring on the province’s $5-billion a year food processing industry, which holds exciting potential for rural Manitobans."