Ontario Supporting Agri-Food Research in Thunder Bay

Photo of MPP Bill Mauro making the important announcement.

Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, made the announcement on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017

December 8, 2017

Ontario is transferring the operating and research programming of the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station to Lakehead University to help foster innovation and strengthen Ontario's competitive edge by expanding agri-food research in Northwestern Ontario.

Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, made the announcement on behalf of Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Thunder Bay today.

The partnership with Lakehead University will support the long-term sustainability of the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station and will increase the university's capacity to build new programming and research that will benefit Northwestern Ontario.

The investment builds on the province's efforts to develop a sustainable, coordinated plan to expand agriculture in Northern Ontario, such as the Northern Livestock Pilot and field crop and beef research in New Liskeard.

Supporting agriculture in the North is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. This plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • The agricultural research station will now be known as the Lakehead University Agricultural Research Station (LUARS).
  • Through a new partnership with Lakehead University, Ontario is providing up to $1.65 million over five years to support Northwestern agriculture research at the provincially owned facility.
  • The Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station, founded in 1991, uses small-plot research to introduce and assess crop varieties and agricultural management practices.
  • The province supports several agriculture research operations in Northern Ontario, including facilities in Thunder Bay, New Liskeard and Emo.
  • Northern Ontario is home to more than 920,000 acres of farmed land and over 2,200 farms.



“I am pleased with today’s funding announcement of $1.65 million, from the Province, to Lakehead University as it brings the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station under its administration through the creation of the Lakehead University Agricultural Research Station. I am confident that today’s announcement will ensure the future sustainability of the Station and allow it to benefit from Lakehead’s tremendous research expertise and capacity. This will also provide Lakehead with the opportunity to expand its research capacity and add to its already impressive achievements and reputation in the areas of research and innovation. I want to congratulate and thank both the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Association and Lakehead University for their dedication and perseverance as we’ve worked together on bringing this partnership to fruition.”
Bill Mauro
MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan

“For well over a decade, our government has been supporting the important research that is taking place at the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station. I would like to thank Minister Leal and Minister Matthews for investing in this important partnership, which will support the sustainability of the station and contribute to the economic development of our agri-food sector here in Northwestern Ontario.”
Michael Gravelle
MPP for Thunder Bay – Superior North

“This investment reaffirms our government’s commitment to expanding agriculture in Northern Ontario. By investing in research and innovation, we are boosting the competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector and ensuring that our farmers in Northwestern Ontario have the tools and resources they need to succeed.”
Jeff Leal
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“The Agricultural Research Station’s partnership with Lakehead University will create so many new opportunities for students to learn about and innovate in Northwestern Ontario’s growing agri-food sector. Thunder Bay offers a unique learning experience for students and researchers interested in diverse soil and climate conditions. I’m excited to see the positive effects of this collaboration on the region’s economy and reputation in agri-food excellence.”
Deb Matthews
Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

“We thank OMAFRA for this contribution and look forward to growing our partnership through the Agricultural Research Station. The expertise from Lakehead University's faculty and researchers will further enable and expand the important work being conducted at this station for the agri-food sector in our region.”

Dr. Andrew P. Dean
Vice-President, Research and Innovation, Lakehead University

“Northwestern Ontario's agri-food business continues to be an important economic driver for the region. This facility will help push innovation and train future scientists in the field. We thank the Ministry for providing this opportunity for Lakehead University researchers, faculty, and staff to contribute to the work being conducted at this station and its field of research.”

Dr. Brian Stevenson
President & Vice-Chancellor, Lakehead University

“This investment will help build Northwestern Ontario’s agri-food capacity, sustainability and competitiveness by supporting an important partnership between local farmers and a world class research institution such as Lakehead University. It also recognizes the importance of northern agri-food research and the region’s ability to contribute data and knowledge which benefits the entire province.”
Kevin Belluz
President, Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Association