Guelph Mercury editors usually use the headlines I send in with my weekly column. But sometimes they don’t, and I’m happy this week they chose their own (which I’ve borrowed here for my blog) because it makes the point succinctly.

My column is pegged to a plant disease called Asian soybean rust, which is being addressed in Ontario by researchers well connected to an international agricultural research network. That’s the way it should be. I maintain agriculture is in big trouble if it’s forced to go to researchers who lack familiarity with farming topics.

But five Canadian universities (Guelph and Waterloo are not among them) recently came together to make a case to Ottawa that THEY should be conducting the majority of the research in Canada. They say that would be more efficient  than the current system which has a great deal of regional expertise. I disagree with the so-called “Big 5”, and I use the efforts to manage Asian soybean rust as an example.

The photo below of a soybean rust infection is from a publication called the Compendium  of  Soybean Diseases, published by APS Press, St. Paul, Minnesota (home of next year’s Agricultural Media Summit).

soybean rust