Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay was in Saskatchewan this week.

MacAulay announced an investment of over $4 million to the Western Grains Research Foundation.

The funding will go towards the WGRF's AgriScience Program - Clusters Component, part of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

During his visit to Saskatchewan, the minister also visited Stone Farms in the Davidson area.

Stone Farms is owned and operated by Rob and Donna Stone.

Stone says the minister got in the combine and helped harvest an Ag Canada variety of wheat and ended up spending about an hour and a half at the farm.

"What we focused on was the technology on the farm, the efficiency of the farm. Those key aspects that a lot of farmers and commissions, grower representative groups, keep talking about in these consultation sessions. Whether it's about fertilizer emissions policy, or sustainable ag strategy, or just general farm programming and risk management. What we are doing to mitigate it and add resilience
to the farm."

Stone is a director with Sask Wheat, and says Minister MacAulay seemed to be really impressed with the level of knowledge within the industry and the level of responsibility farmers take for their actions already when it comes to the environment and sustainability.

He notes that while the industry has been stressing producers' responsibility and accountability in submissions to the government, it's another thing to actually have the (Minister's) boots on the ground, which helps to promote a greater understanding of what farmers are doing.

"You can talk about it all you want, but to see it and understand it that's what we're really striving for as an industry."

Stone says MacAulay was impressed by the scale and the size of the equipment that gets used on a Western Canadian farm as ourselves and he understood the scale and the efficiency that's required and how that's actually decreasing our impact.

MacAulay noted that he was impressed with zero-til adding that it resonates better by seeing it.

Stone says he kept the visit light but did talk about the environment and some of the reductions.

"He (MacAulay) said we can't limit production and we can't have farmers not doing economically well in the name of trying to make some numbers work. There has to be some balance there."

Minister MacAulay drove the combine in one of Stone's wheat crops.

It was an Agriculture Canada wheat variety that was developed in the last cluster giving the two a chance to talk about the importance of public investment in wheat breeding, in a crop Stone says was much better than it should have been based on the amount of precipitation. 

"So we got to talk about the value of research and investment as well."

During the stop in Saskatchewan MacAulay also took part in the Tri-National Accord Conference, met with Agriculture Minister David Marit and representatives of APAS.