Conference Overview

There are many signs that world agriculture is on the cusp of significant change after a remarkably long period of declining real prices and sustained global agricultural productivity growth. Grain prices have increased dramatically since last summer while world ending stocks of feed grains, wheat and oilseeds have reached very low levels. Rapid expansion of the bio-fuel industry and income growth in Asia suggest continued significant demand growth for grains and oilseeds.

Despite these promising demand prospects there is a growing body of evidence that both North American and global agricultural productivity growth is slowing. There is also evidence that this slowdown in productivity growth can be traced to a diversion of public and producer controlled research away from productivity growth and toward other research priorities. This slowdown will have an important impact on future supplies of agricultural products. If agriculture is going to provide continued food security while addressing the future demand for bio-fuels and bio-products, there is a need to revitalize agricultural productivity growth.

This workshop conference brought together academics with industry leaders and government officials to take stock of North American agricultural research and to explore ways in which agricultural research can be refunded and redirected to revitalize productivity growth. The speakers provided a current assessment of global demand prospects, agricultural productivity growth, agricultural research funding, and provided examples of how new organizational and funding models have been used to revitalize agricultural research elsewhere.

The conference was held in Saskatoon, Canada on June 5th and 6th, 2007. Saskatoon is home to the University of Saskatchewan and is a centre for of one of the largest agricultural research and biotech clusters in Canada.

Top of Page

Host Organizations

Top of Page

Poster Session

There were nine poster presenters at the Food & Fuel conference. Six students from the University of Saskatchewan and three from the University of Alberta.

  • Monique Haakensen, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dan Holman, University of Saskatchewan
  • Viktoriya Galushko, University of Saskatchewan "Intellectual Property Rights and the Distribution of Benefits from Research" Download poster (pdf) 88 KB
  • Emmanouil Oikonomou, University of Saskatchewan "Intellectual Property Protection in Canadian Agriculture: Is There a "Tragedy of the Anticommons" at Work?" Download poster (pdf) 96 KB
  • Chrysoula Paravolidaki, University of Saskatchewan "The Economics of Information: Functional Foods and Health Care Costs" Download poster (pdf) 96 KB
  • Lee Wilson, University of Saskatchewan
  • Zoya Komirenko, University of Alberta "Impact of BSE on the farmland value in Alberta: A hedonic approach" Download poster (pdf) 224 KB
  • Catalina Solano Rivera, University of Alberta
  • Danyi Yang, University of Alberta "An Analysis of the Effects of Beneficial Management Practices on Crop Yields in the South Tobacco Creek" Download poster (pdf) 168 KB

Top of Page

Platinum Sponsors (click on logo to go to website)

Financial support for this conference has been provided by the
Saskatchewan Council for Community Development through the
Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Saskatchewan (ACAAFS) program.
Funding for the ACAAFS program is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.




Gold Sponsors (click on logo to go to website)



Bronze Sponsors (click on logo to go to website)

U of S logo

Agrium Logo
AICF logo
Philom Bios logo
SWP AgPro Logo
Plant Biotechnology Institute
CWB logo



Amani Elobeid

Session 1: Global Overview of Agriculture

8:30 - 9:00 am - Global Biofuel Demand
Presentation slides only (pdf) (440 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Amani Elobeid

Iowa State University

Dr. Amani Elobeid holds a doctoral degree in economics from Iowa State University. She is the international sugar and ethanol analyst with the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University. Her work centers on developing the international sugar and ethanol models, and conducting research on agricultural and trade policy. She has authored several papers on the impact of biofuels and multiple book chapters on food security, trade policy and sugar markets.

9:00 - 9:30 am - Agricultural Science Funding
Presentation slides only (pdf) (168 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Phil Pardey

Professor, Dept of Applied Economics
University of Minnesota

An Australian native, Dr. Pardey joined the Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota as Professor of Science and Technology Policy in 2002. He also directs the University of Minnesota's International Science and Technology Practice and Policy (InSTePP) center.

Prior to that Philip was a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Adelaide, Australia, and obtained a doctoral degree in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota in 1986. Before joining IFPRI in 1994 he was a senior research officer at the International Service for National Agricultural Research in The Hague, Netherlands.

His research deals with the finance and conduct of R&D globally, methods for assessing the economic impacts of research, and the economic and policy (especially intellectual property) aspects of genetic resources and the biosciences. He is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economic Association and a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

Session 2: Demand Drivers for Agricultural Science

10:30 -11:00 am - Private Sector Ag Science Focus
Presentation slides only (pdf) (2.66 MB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Lorne Hepworth

President, CropLife Canada

Lorne Hepworth Ph.D. has been President of CropLife Canada (formerly Crop Protection Institute of Canada) since 1997, having previously (1992-93) served as Vice President. CropLife Canada is the trade association representing developers, manufacturers and distributors of plant science innovations – pest control products and plant biotechnology – for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings. As President, he is the chief spokesperson for the industry association and responsible for its overall strategic direction and management. He is a member of the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council, and has served on the federal government’s Pest Management Advisory Committee and National Biotechnology Advisory Committee.

11:00 - 11:30 am - Public Sector Ag Science Focus
Presentation slides only (pdf) (1.91 MB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Brian Freeze

AAFC Research Branch National Science Program

Dr. Freeze was appointed in March 2007 as Coordinator for the AAFC Research Branch national science program in the Assistant Deputy Minister of Research Office.  He has a broad background in crop and livestock science and ongoing research; policy issues re: farm income, biotechnology, intellectual property rights, development of the bioeconomy and food issues.

Previously, he was National Program Coordinator for the AAFC Sustainable Production Systems (Crops and Livestock) national science program, and prior to that Director of the AAFC Agricultural Policy Framework Science and Innovation program.  Prior to coming to Ottawa in 2002, he was Head of the Bioproducts and Bioprocessing Section, and prior to that, Head of the Livestock Sciences Section; both at the AAFC Lethbridge Research Centre. 

Dr. Freeze graduated with Honors in Animal Science (Univ. of Sask 1975) and went on to complete a MSc. in Agricultural Economics (Univ of Sask 1978) and a Ph.D. in Resource Economics (Oregon State Univ 1989).  He was a crop and livestock bio-economist at the AAFC Lethbridge Research Centre since 1983 and taught extensively at the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Community College in Economics, Statistics, Decision Analysis, Farm Management, and Farm Policy.  His research examined of the economics crop and livestock production systems, economics of biotechnology research, evaluation of new livestock nutritional and breeding technologies, return on investment to crop and livestock research, agricultural systems modelling, economics of biomass and crop energy alternatives, agricultural pest economics and the economics of livestock waste management.  He specialized in mathematical programming, simulation and decision analysis techniques.

Session 3: U.S. and Canadian Ag Productivity & Returns to Research

1:30 -1:50 pm - U.S. Agricultural Productivity & Returns to Research
Presentation slides only (pdf) (1.1 MB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Jenni James

Researcher, InSTePP
Univeristy of Minnesota

Jenni James received her PhD in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California at Davis. Her research interests include agricultural policy, the effects of agricultural research on agricultural productivity, and consumer demand. She is currently working with the University of Minnesota’s InSTePP (International Science & Technology Practice & Policy) colleagues on an econometric study to evaluate the returns to agricultural research while allowing for spillover effects and alternative specifications of knowledge stocks. Another current project measures the similarity among countries and regions in terms of agro-ecological resources and agricultural production.

Jenni's past research has evaluated the effects agricultural policies have on the quality of commodities produced. In addition, she has written several papers with Julian Alston and John Freebairn that examine the incentives created by commodity boards, and the extent to which the resulting advertising and research budgets differ from what would be socially optimal. In her studies of consumer choices, Jenni has collected data using surveys, market experiments, experimental auctions, and stated choice instruments. Most of her consumer studies have focused on technological characteristics of food products, and have included as applications biotech corn, organic apple products, and milk with various levels of pasteurization.

1:50 - 2:10 pm - Canadian Agricultural Productivity
Presentation slides only (pdf) (677 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation video and audio (streaming)

Terry Veeman

Professor, Dept of Rural Economy
Univeristy of Alberta

Dr. Veeman was educated at the University of Saskatchewan (B.S.A.), Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes Scholar), and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. 1975).  He was employed at the University of Alberta in Edmonton from 1970 to 2005 and now is Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Economics and Rural Economy.  His main teaching areas included development and resource/environmental economics.   His research interests include agricultural and forest productivity, sustainable development, and renewable resource policy, especially for water. Terry Veeman served as President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society in 1995-96 and was elected a CAES Fellow in 2003.


1:50 - 2:10 pm - Canadian Returns to Research
Presentation slides only (pdf) (329 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Richard Gray

Professor, Dept of Agricultural Economics
Univeristy of Saskatchewan

Richard Gray is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of
Saskatchewan. Richard's career began in 1981 working as market analyst with the provincial government while he also operated the family farm at Indian Head.

Richard joined the University in 1990 after receiving a Ph.D. from the
University of California Berkeley. Since then, Dr. Gray has supervised over two dozen graduate students and has studied a wide range of agricultural policy issues, including the economics of research.

Dr. Gray recently completed a five year term as Department Head and is currently the leader of the Canadian Agricultural Innovation Research Network and is President Elect for the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.


Session 4A: Check-off Funding and Other Financing

3:30 -3:50 pm - Producer Check-offs
Presentation slides only (pdf) (179 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Professor, Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Univeristy of California, Davis

Julian Alston is currently a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics of the University of California at Davis, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in microeconomic theory and the analysis of agricultural markets and policies.  

Prior to beginning in his current position in 1988, Dr. Alston was the Chief Economist in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Victoria, Australia, where he had been employed in various capacities since 1975.  Alston’s experience in public policy analysis and advice, and administration of a large scientific organization shaped his research interests in the economic analysis of agricultural markets and public policies concerning agricultural incomes, prices, trade, and agricultural research and promotion.  He has published extensively on these subjects in a range of professional and popular outlets.  He is a coauthor of Making Science Pay: The Economics of Agricultural R&D Policy and Science under Scarcity: Principles and Practice for Agricultural Research Evaluation and Priority Setting.  He is a fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association and a distinguished fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

3:50 - 4:10 pm - Canadian Producer Check-offs
Presentation slides only (pdf) (194 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

James Vercammen

Professor, Faculty of Land & Food Systems & Sauder School of Business
Univeristy of British Columbia

Professor Vercammen, grew up on a family farm in southeastern Saskatchewan.  He completed his BSc and MSc in Agricultural Economics at the University of Saskatchewan and he joined the Food and Resource Economics Group at the University of British Columbia in 1991, after completing his Doctoral Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.  Vercammen’s research is currently focusing on the industrial organization of agricultural markets (e.g., R&D, producer associations and producer contracts) and various aspects of agricultural policy.


4:10 - 4:30 pm - IHARF: Producer-Directed Research
Presentation slides only (pdf) (4.4 MB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Judy McKell

Manager ,
Indian Head Agriculture Research Fund (IHARF)

Judy has been associated with agriculture in Saskatchewan all her life.  She was raised on a mixed farm in southwest Saskatchewan and received her BSA from the University of Saskatchewan. 

She has been living and working in the Indian Head area for most of her adult life – grain farming with her husband for several years. She has also done ag consulting for various organizations and been an extension agrologist with Sask Ag & Food. Currently, Ms. McKell is the Manager for the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation. 

Her particular agriculture interests include zero tillage, soil fertility and agriculture’s contribution to society.

Evening Banquet Guest Speaker

7:30-8:00 pm
Presentation Handout (pdf) (464 KB)

Jim Halford

Vale Farms Ltd.
Founder, Conserva Pak

Jim Halford is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture, with a BSA and Master of Science in Agricultural Economics. He studied tenure options in the United Kingdom on a Nuffield Farming Scholarship.

Jim has farmed for 45 years on the land homesteaded by his grandfather. Jim and his son, Chris, have just planted their 29th crop using zero tillage.

In 1983, Jim invented and then commercialized the Conserva Pak Seeding System. The low-disturbance fertilizing, seeding and packing system has primarily been sold in Canada, Australia and the United States.

In February, 2007, the John Deere Company purchased the Conserva Pak technology, patents and trademarks. The Halford family business (Vale Farms Ltd.) has a two-year contract to supply product and consulting services to John Deere.


Session 4B: Other Financing and Research Arrangements

9:00-9:30 am - FTO, IPRs and Alternative Structures
Presentation slides only (pdf) (1.8 MB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Greg Graff

Research Economist

Dr. Gregory D. Graff is an applied economist with expertise in the economics of science and innovation, intellectual property, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship—with a specific focus in the life sciences, biotechnology, and agriculture. He applies microeconomic and econometric tools to data on scientific publications, patents, regulatory decisions, and commercial R&D activities, building uniquely thorough industry-level datasets to analyze the impacts of innovations, technology transactions, and policies on markets, industry structure, and the political economy of science and technology.

Dr. Graff currently manages research and outreach communications for the Public Sector Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), a consortium of over 40 agricultural research universities and institutes, hosted at the University of California-Davis and dedicated to mobilizing its members’ technologies globally for the improvement of ‘orphan’ crops through an innovative model of collaborative management of intellectual property. He has taught as a university lecturer at both U.C. Berkeley and at U.C. Davis and has published research articles in The Review of Economics and Statistics, World Development, California Management Review, and Nature Biotechnology, numerous analytical reports, and chapters in several books. Dr. Graff holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from U.C. Berkeley (2002), an M.A. in Russian area studies from Ohio State University (1995), and a B.S. in biology from Cornell University (1992).

9:30-10:00 am - GRDC's R&D Financing Model

Terry Enright
Presentation slides only (pdf) (5.49 MB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Board Chairman
Grains Research and Development Corporation

Since 2002 Mr. Enright has been the Chairman of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). He also served as deputy chair for three years prior to this appointment. Mr. Enright has been involved with the GRDC from its formation in 1991 and has held various roles associated with grains research and the grain industry generally.

Currently, he is the Chair of the Council of Rural Research and Development Chairs. The Council is composed of the Chairs and CEOs of the 15 Rural Research Corporations and Companies.

He is a Board member of Agriculture Research West Australia and a member of the National Research Priorities Standing Committee.  For 10 years (1993-2003) he was Chairman of the grain shipping Port of Albany.

Terry operates a grain and livestock farm near Mt. Barker in West Australia.

10:00-11:30 am - Canola Breeding and Freedom to Operate
Presentation slides only (pdf) (59 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Murray Fulton

Professor, Dept of Agricultural Economics
University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Fulton graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1977 with a B.S.A. in Agricultural Economics, receiving the Governor General's Gold Medal. After completing his M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M in 1978, Dr. Fulton attended Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. Upon receiving his B.A. from Oxford in 1980, he returned to Saskatoon and joined Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation as Director, Market Research. In 1982, he returned to university to begin his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Fulton graduated from Berkeley in 1985, at which time he joined the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Fulton's research and teaching interests are focused in a number of areas, including industrial organization, agricultural industry analysis, co-operative theory, and community development. His recent efforts include the Knowledge Impact in Society project of which Murray is the Principal Investigator and the School of Public Policy here at the U of S.


Session 5: Potential Policy Directions

11:00-11:20 am - Private Sector Perspective
Presentation slides only (pdf) (160 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation video and audio (streaming)

Malcolm Devine

Vice-President, Crop Development and Commercialization
Performance Plants Inc.

Dr. Devine completed his Ph.D. in weed science at the University of Guelph. He has held positions with the Plant Biotechnology Institute as Research Director. He has been employed throughout Canada and Europe with major agriculture companies including Aventis and Bayer Crop Science. He has taught in the College of Agriculture’s Plant Science Department, and also a former Department Head.

In September 2006, Dr. Malcolm Devine joined Performance Plants as their Vice-President, Crop Development and Commercialization. Performance Plants Inc. is a plant biotechnology company with offices in Saskatoon and Kingston. Its proprietary technologies focus on high-value plant traits for agricultural and bioproduct applications, enhancing crop performance to improve yields under conditions of environmental stress such as drought and extreme heat.


11:20-11:40 am - Public Sector Perspective
Presentation slides only (pdf) (3.83 MB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation slides and audio (streaming)

Wilf Keller

Research Director
NRC - Plant Biotechnology Institute

Wilf is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, receiving his doctorate in Crop Science in 1972. For the first 16 years of his working career, Wilf was employed as a Research Scientist with the Research Branch of Agriculture Canada in Ottawa. During this period he pursued research on cell genetics of selected Canadian crops and he contributed to the establishment of a plant biotechnology research program in Agriculture Canada which he chaired from 1980-89. In 1990 he accepted a position with the Plant Biotechnology Institute of the National Research Council of Canada in Saskatoon where he has been for the last 17 years. He served as Group Leader for Canola Biotechnology and Head of the Transgenic Plant Centre until 1999 when he assumed the position of Research Director.

Wilf has been actively involved in the development and application of biotechnologies for the genetic modification of crops, particularly canola. He has collaborated with numerous government, university and industry groups and has provided training for researchers in plant biotechnology. He has given numerous presentations and lectures including public awareness and public education aspects of biotechnology.

11:40-12 noon - Producer Perspective
Presentation slides only (pdf) (721 KB)
Presentation audio only (mp3)
Presentation video and audio (streaming)

Jim Moen

Board Chairman
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers

Jim and his wife Nancy farm 3200 acres of pulses, cereals and oilseeds near Cabri in southwest Saskatchewan.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) in 1980 and is a member of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists. Jim worked as a professional agrologist throughout Saskatchewan as well as an agricultural consultant in Africa. He is active in the Lions Club in Cabri, and is a member of council in his rural municipality.

Serving his sixth year on the SPG Board, Jim has served on research, communications, and audit/finance committees, as well as serving on the Pulse Canada Board.

Top of page

Conference Contact Information

University of Saskatchewan,
3D34, 51 Campus Drive,
Saskatoon, SK 
S7N 5A8
Fax: (306) 966-8413                                  

Organizing Committee:

Richard Gray, U of Saskatchewan
Julian Alston, UC Davis
Phil Pardey, U of Minnesota
Murray Fulton, U of Saskatchewan
Kathy Lang, U of Saskatchewan
Kyla Shea, U of Saskatchewan

spacer text
Home | Contact Us | CSALE | Site Map
© Knowledge Impact in Society 2009. All rights reserved.
Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS), 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon
Saskatoon S7N 5A8 Canada

Fax: (306) 966-8413, Email us!
Disclaimer                                  Webmaster
Link to the Social Sciences and Humanities Council
U of S logo
Conference Agenda
Download speaker presentations
Poster Session
Knowledge Impact in Society logo