Agricultural Innovations During the Pandemic – Science Grows On

Technician Alain Ngantcha in the lab

When COVID-19 was first detected in 2019, few could have predicted how the daily lives of Canadians would change. In particular, how our normal workday would be turned upside-down.

Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) were faced with unique challenges caused by the global pandemic and lockdowns. For a researcher, going "to the lab" is a way of life, an escape to a workshop of imagination where they can test their theories using the best equipment. After all, few people have easy access to an electron microscope at home. However, with flexibility and dedication, AAFC scientists found solutions to keep science growing on.

Whether the research took place in labs, greenhouses, fields, orchards, vineyards, ranches, barns, or — yes, even at home, the discoveries continued.

From coast to coast, the scientific advances made by AAFC scientists and their teams help to:

  • Build resilience in the fight against climate change
  • Provide safe and sustainable crop protection
  • Keep our water safe and clean
  • Ensure access to healthy food
  • Reduce food waste
  • Provide food security in northern and Indigenous communities, and more

Growing through the pandemic

Science never sleeps at AAFC's 20 research and development centres and 30 satellite research locations across Canada. In this issue of Agricultural Innovations, you can read about how our scientists powered through the pandemic to help keep Canadian farmers on the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture. The research at AAFC provides benefits to farmers, businesses, and Canadians.

For instance, AAFC has three exciting bio vigilance pilot projects on the go for vegetables, field crops and grapevines. Bio vigilance is a new proactive approach to tackling climate change and pest management in agriculture that focuses on preventing threats before they do harm and require the use of pesticides.

Additionally, AAFC scientists and their teams:

  • Protect pigs with the help of a cucumber virus
  • Keep chickens healthy with the help of cranberries
  • Use satellites to increase food security around the world
  • Help vineyard owners manage and track the health of their crops, and more

Their stories began before the pandemic, continued through it, and will thrive into the future — because at AAFC, #ScienceGrowsOn!

Find inspiring stories of their ground-breaking research from across the country in the 2020 issue of Agricultural Innovations.

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