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Farming ideas

Grenfell hosts contingent from Labrador agricultural industry

By Jennifer Butler Wight and Pamela Gill

To maintain the collaborative momentum that's been building between Grenfell Campus and partners in Labrador, a meeting was held recently at Grenfell Campus to bring its instructors and researchers together with individuals working in Labrador's agricultural industry.

Organized by the Labrador Institute and Grenfell's Environmental Policy Institute (EPI), the daylong gathering ensured a continued exchange that will encourage further partnerships.

"Discussions with farmers from Labrador and with representatives from the provincial government helped bring a focus to the unique challenges faced by the agricultural sector in Labrador, addressing both the constraints and the opportunities in the sector," said Dr. Wade Bowers, interim director, EPI.

Participants at the meeting represented organizations and groups such as Grenfell's environmental studies program, the Environmental Policy Institute and Graduate Studies Office, the Grand River Farm and Patey's Farms in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the Central Labrador Economic Development Board Inc., Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the Department of Natural Resources-Agrifoods.

Grenfell researchers and teachers are interested in exploring future internship opportunities for Grenfell's environmental studies program. The farmers are willing to participate in collaborative research studies with Grenfell, the province and industry partners. In fact, one research project is already being developed by farmers from Patey's Farms and Grand River Farm – both located in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The meeting served as a catalyst for future discussion.

"After the session in Corner Brook, the farmers who participated met with the Lake Melville Agricultural Association and discussed several areas of agricultural research which will be extremely important for the development of agriculture in the central Labrador area," said Frank Pye, co-owner, Grand River Farm.

He said areas of possible research interest include soil research, analysis and recommendations for amendments, sourcing of organic amendments; research to support the acquisition of an abattoir in the region; and research into the production of biofuels.

"The benefit to the local farm community will be the carrying out of research in areas that farmers do not have the resources to conduct themselves," said Mr. Pye.

The meeting at Grenfell was funded by the provincial Agrifoods Development Branch, Department of Natural Resources, with contributions from the Labrador Institute and Grenfell's Environmental Policy Institute.

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