Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 29, 2005

Institute to Focus on Changes, Challenges in Agri-Food Industry

The University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) have created a new policy institute aimed at helping the province’s agri-food sector meet changing and future needs.

“The agri-food industry is changing at an incredible pace, and policy is hard pressed to keep up,” said Dave Sparling, a professor in U of G’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Business and executive director of the Institute of Agri-Food Policy Innovation.

“Our goal is to provide long-term, impartial thinking on the future role of the industry. The institute will tackle some of today’s big issues, but focus on looking ahead to future policy needs so that we have the most successful industry possible,” he said.

Sparling will work with an eight-member board of directors who are leaders in industry, government and academia and have a wide range of expertise in the farming, agribusiness, food, rural and consumer sectors. The board will be chaired by Craig Pearson, dean of U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College. Prof. John Fitzgibbon, director of the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, is also a member.

A strategic review conducted by OAC, the University and Ontario’s agriculture, food and rural communities revealed a desire for the college to take a leading role in the development of forward-looking policies. As well, OMAFRA and U of G have a long history of working together and fully understand the benefits of strong partnerships, Pearson said.

“The creation of this institute will bring independent advice, a global perspective and thinking ‘outside the box’ to the policy debate,” Pearson said. “It is the natural next step towards a vital, internationally-competitive industry.”

Dave Sparling
Institute of Agri-Food Policy Innovation
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 52775

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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