Edmonton, AB - Rural Alberta Development Fund Board of Directors has approved $925,360 in funding for a new centre designed to become a one-stop shop for all bee diagnostic services required by beekeepers, government departments and researchers from across the country. Development of Canada’s first National Bee Diagnostic Services Centre (NBDSC) will be led by the Centre for Research & Innovation, which is based out of Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC).
“Alberta’s Peace Country is at the heart of Canada’s honey producing industry and this project offers great potential for economic growth in the area,” said Honourable Jack Hayden, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Having the NBDSC located with the national bee research program and complimented by the renewed Beekeeper Technician Program at GPRC Fairview campus will create an internationally recognized research, diagnostic, education and training cluster in the Peace Country.”
The NBDSC will provide a wide variety of honeybee diagnostic services for research on pests, pathogens and parasites using advanced scientific techniques. This will result in surveillance and diagnostics to scientifically support risk assessments for the import or export of bee stock to the world. Providing recommendations to beekeepers on how best to manage and maintain healthy colonies to meet Canada’s agricultural needs is just one of the many services the NBDSC will offer.
“The one-of-a-kind National Bee Diagnostic Services Centre will provide a major benefit to Canada’s beekeeping industry,” said Jann Beeston, Chair of the Board of Directors, Rural Alberta Development Fund. “With the current crisis in bee health, this centre will contribute directly to alleviate the significant economic impact to the region’s and Canada’s beekeeping industry.”
The NBSDC will also work in collaboration with the existing National Bee Management Research Program at the Beaverlodge research farm, which is the only federal bee research program in the country. The NBSDC will make use of the scientific, infrastructural and personnel resources on site. Funding from Rural Alberta Development Fund will be used to recruit staff, develop administrative procedures, develop and test protocols and procedures and market the new services to industry stakeholders. The project’s expected completion date is December 31, 2013.
Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $78.5 million has been committed to 72 projects. Applications are now being accepted for the remaining $21.5 million, which must be committed by March 31, 2012.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications
Rural Alberta Development Fund
780.436.9585 office; 780.399.7336 cell