An Eye on Southern Alberta’s Potato Industry

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In 2019, the University of Lethbridge will experience a shift that will launch us into the future of transdisciplinary research, enhanced by the supportive environment of the Science and Academic Building. However, this campus won’t be isolated in the ripple effect the addition of this transformational space for learning and research will cause. Nestled in the centre of Alberta’s agriculture industry, this building and its activities will strengthen the connection to the local industries that are making an impact nationwide.

Local potato growers and processors tour the Science and Academic Building

Our local potato growers and processors represent one such industry, and 45 of them were on campus for the Potato Research Laboratory Open House. As part of the Open House, they toured the Science and Academic Building and witnessed the spaces where their research needs will come to life.

Thomas McDade, Agricultural Director with Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA), was impacted by the building’s innovative use of space.

“I was quite impressed by how usable, workable and collaborative the space is intended to be. It appears to be a really great place to work and it’s definitely state of the art.”

One of the largest investments into research the PGA and local potato processors (Cavendish Farms, Lamb Weston and McCain Foods) are making into the local potato industry is sponsoring the Potato Chair at the University, Dr. Dmytro Yevtushenko. McDade says moving into the building will expand his ability to collaborate with Dmytro and other scientists in a transdisciplinary environment.

“Because the work is spilling into other spaces, I see the collaboration in this building happening more easily. I think the types of relationships this building will facilitate will be terrific. “

David Hill, Director of Development, Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness Program at the University and participant in the potato grower and processor’s tour, says for those stakeholders, it highlights that the impact of the building goes far beyond this campus.

“It’s an exciting thing to allow them to see the new building because that’s where the research is going. They have a high interest in the fact that the U of L will be graduating students who have knowledge of the area and industry.”

And as the building is becoming part of the southern Alberta landscape, the work that it’s capable of facilitating has great potential to shape the local agricultural landscape as well.