Gift Will Promote Economic Research, Inform Agri-Food Policy

September 25, 2012 - News Release

The University of Guelph has received a $750,000 gift from TD Bank Group to create the TD Agricultural Policy Research Fund, which will support economic research and analysis on new farm policies, especially those affecting the health and prosperity of the agri-food sector and rural communities.

The gift was made as part of the University’s BetterPlanet Project, a $200-million fundraising campaign to help improve the quality of food, environment, health and communities here and around the world.

“As Canada’s oldest and largest agricultural school, we have the expertise, influence and significance to lead this undertaking,” said president Alastair Summerlee during an event on campus Tuesday.

“We are a leader in our commitment to addressing challenges in the agri-food sector, and economic research has much to add with respect to informing policy and regulation. This will be a vital complement to the funds provided by our partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to transform agriculture in the province.

Tuesday’s event was attended by Frank McKenna, deputy chair of TD Bank Group, who received the University’s Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award in 2007.

“TD is pleased to support the University of Guelph on this important endeavour,” McKenna said. “We want the University to continue to drive cutting-edge research on agriculture, agri-food and rural development. These are key issues to the Canadian economy, and we hope they will share their research widely, as these issues impact us all.”

The fund will be managed by U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). It will support research and outreach activities in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and in other campus departments.

The goal is to ensure timely, credible and independent policy analysis of important issues, and to inform policy and regulations in agri-food and other areas such as energy, environment and health, said OAC dean Rob Gordon.

“There is no denying the social and economic importance of food and agriculture in Ontario,” said Gordon. “Informed policy is a cornerstone of the OMAFRA innovation agenda; it can balance the varying interests of society, enhance the competitive position of producers, improve the agri-food economy and mitigate unintended consequences.”

The TD fund will support research and debate on rural economic development and agriculture. Organizers plan to bring speakers to campus, host conferences, and spark networking and collaboration.

“This will help better connect Canada’s leading agricultural university and its students more closely to the agricultural policy issues and the industry,” Gordon said. “The fund will also help bring continuity and collaboration to the analysis of policy issues and expand on the existing collaboration with OMAFRA.”

TD Bank has supported student bursaries and awards, infrastructure and other investments in capital campaigns at U of G since 1968. The new gift will be distributed over 10 years.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or

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