Brison defends work of Kentville research centre to federal minister.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
KENTVILLE - There should be no changes to the Kentville research station, says Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison.
Mr. Brison met with federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on Monday to press the importance of the centre to the local area.
"I will continue to fight for the Kentville research station and the important research it conducts for Nova Scotian farmers," Mr. Brison said in a news release.
Last fall, he asked that the facility not be privatized or handed over to a university and that all discussions about its future be held in public.
He also asked to meet with Kelvin Ogilvie, a scientist and former president of Acadia University, who has been appointed to the panel of experts reviewing the centre's future.
The Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre is the only one in the province.
But the federal Treasury Board announced last summer the creation of a four-member independent panel to advise the government on the future of 200 non-regulatory federal laboratories in Canada, as promised in the federal Conservative budget.
The other three members of the panel are from Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec.
The panel has been asked to identify five centres for early transfer to the private sector, universities or other management options.
Mr. Brison is concerned the panel may recommend major changes, even closure, of the centre.
He is asking that federal support continue.
"The report by the panel of experts has not been released yet by the government, so I wanted to get some assurance that whatever recommendations are made, that closure of the Kentville facility is not on the list," Mr. Brison said.
"It is important that agriculture research be conducted in the regions close to the areas where the products are grown."
He said the minister assured him that support will continue.
"In fact, he agreed with me that there is a difference between . . . the horticultural climate in the Okanagan Valley versus that of the Annapolis Valley, and as such the value of research in each."
The Kentville facility is one of 19 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada centres across the country.
It employs 120 people, including 36 researchers, and manages the Nappan Research Farm near Amherst, along with a satellite research field site in Sheffield Mills, Kings County.
It provides multidisciplinary research from the field to the consumers, focusing on such things as crop production and protection, soil and water evaluation, crop storage, food quality assessment, plant processing and consumer safety.
It offers services unique to the area and works closely with the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association, the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, grape growers and other farm groups.
It also has a research partnership with Acadia University in Wolfville, Universite de Moncton and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Bible Hill. 'I wanted to get some assurance that whatever recommendations are made, that closure of the Kentville facility is not on the list.'
24 Harbourside Dr., Suite 101A
Tel: (902) 542-4010
Toll Free (NS): 1-888-585-0550
Fax: (902) 542-4184
Monday to Friday
9:00 to 12:30
1:30 to 4:30
Ottawa Office - Scott Brison, M.P.
915 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Tel: (613) 995-8231
Fax: (613) 996-9349