As the research chair, Carter will lead the spring wheat and canaryseed breeding program at the USask Crop Development Centre (CDC) in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, continuing to develop and release improved spring wheat and canaryseed varieties to serve the needs of western Canadian agriculture.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Carter to the college,” said Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (PhD), dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. “Dr. Carter will be integrating conventional and modern breeding techniques into innovative approaches for developing the resilient crop varieties that are essential for global food security.”
Starting July 1, 2023, Carter will assume lead responsibilities from Dr. Pierre Hucl (PhD), who held the chair for the past 33 years. During his time at the CDC, Hucl released more than 40 new crop varieties, several of which are still popular with growers.
“The CDC has a proud and successful history of wheat and canaryseed breeding. We are thrilled to have such a talented and enthusiastic early-career researcher take on this very important role,” said Dr. Curtis Pozniak (PhD), director of the USask CDC. “We are delighted that Dr. Carter will continue the strong momentum in wheat and canaryseed breeding at the CDC as he tackles new challenges and opportunities to advance western Canadian agriculture.”
Carter will also hold an assistant professor appointment in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.
“I am tremendously excited to join the University of Saskatchewan as an SRP chair and look forward to working with the talented team in the Crop Development Centre to develop the best spring wheat and canaryseed varieties we can,” said Carter. “USask and the Crop Development Centre have a rich history of variety development and innovative research in agriculture, and I hope to build upon this history through my own contributions. This is an amazing opportunity to have a positive impact on farmers and the entire agriculture sector of Western Canada, and I aim to take full advantage of it.”
Carter’s interest in plant breeding started as a summer student with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada where he worked with a barley breeding program during his undergraduate program.
“That was when I saw a clear path forward to connect my interest in genetics with agriculture,” said Carter.
Carter received an undergraduate degree in genetics from the University of Manitoba, a master’s degree in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in plant sciences from USask.
Carter began his PhD at USask in 2019. His thesis research focused on the application of novel technologies to evaluate wheat breeding field trials with the aim to improve the rate of genetic gain in new wheat varieties. Prior to beginning his PhD studies, Carter worked for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Brandon, Manitoba, as a molecular research assistant and was later promoted to biologist.
Funded by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), the position is one of seven crop genetic improvement research chairs in the Strategic Research Program.
Sustainable CAP is a new $3.5-billion, five-year (2023-2028) agreement between federal, provincial and territorial governments. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs and initiatives that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
“Investments in research lead us towards field crops that are more productive, high quality and sustainable, something international buyers know us for,” said federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau. “We congratulate Dr. Carter on his new role and look forward to his contributions to the growth of Canada’s wheat and canaryseed industry.”
“Through the ongoing work of the CDC, producers have access to high yielding, disease resistant spring wheat varieties suited to our soil zones and climatic conditions, enabling Saskatchewan to lead the way in sustainable agricultural production and ensuring our competitiveness on a global scale,” said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit. "Spring wheat is Saskatchewan’s second largest acreage crop and is a vital part of crop rotations, and we are a world leading exporter of canaryseed. We look forward to the future of spring wheat and canaryseed breeding through the leadership of the new chair.”