University of Calgary opens new agricultural research centre

Research: News Roundup from the March 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

University of Calgary opens new agricultural research centre

The University of Calgary is opening a new institute to research public policy that supports the growth and sustainability of agri-food and agribusiness, particularly in Western Canada.

The new Simpson Centre for Agriculture and Food Innovation will focus on four research areas: trade policy, environment and climate change, agriculture’s economic contributions, and food and ag technology

“Agriculture is of major importance not just to farmers and ranchers, but to all Canadians. We all benefit from advances in agri-tech, accessible export markets and business-friendly policies that help spur economic growth,” said Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor of University of Calgary, in a media release.

The Simpson Centre for Agriculture and Food Innovation is named for Alberta rancher and businessman John Simpson, a champion of the project who has donated over $5 million to the new centre. Simpson and his wife, Jollean, live on a large cow-calf and grain farm near Cochrane, Alta., where they run up to 1,000 Hereford cows. Simpson is also the owner, chairman and CEO of the CANA Group of Companies, a family-owned private construction services and development company.

“Several years ago, the school launched an initiative to quantify the contribution of various resource sectors to the economy,” said Dr. P.G. Forest, director the School of Public Policy, in a media release. “We intuitively knew that the contribution of resource sectors, such as agriculture and livestock, were being undervalued and underestimated. John Simpson understands that — and he understands the incredible future contribution of globally traded Western Canadian agricultural exports to our economy. We’re grateful for his foresight.”

The director for the centre will also hold an academic appointment in the university’s faculty of veterinary medicine. The university’s School of Public Policy was also involved in the Simpson Centre’s creation. Other schools and faculties within the university are expected to contribute to the centre, and the university expects to develop partnerships with other research centres, the centre’s website states.

For more information on the centre, visit

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