“CARA is a producer-directed society dedicated to expanding agricultural research activity in the Special Areas and MD of Acadia. Our program of applied research, demonstration and extension projects provides a link in the transfer of knowledge and technology between research and the producer. Producers, industry, government and others can access reliable data on crop, livestock, soil and water projects that is relevant to the area and its soil and climatic conditions.”
Local agricultural producers have been the driving force of the Chinook Applied Research Association for over 30 years. The association was established in 1979 by a steering committee who saw a need for the application of agricultural research and new technologies to the environmental and climatic conditions in east central Alberta. With support from Alberta Agriculture, the Special Areas Board and the MD of Acadia, a non-profit society was formed. The organization is directed by producer representatives from each of the Special Areas and the MD of Acadia and operates within area of approximately 5 million acres.
The CARA Center is located at Oyen and includes offices, working shops, drying room and equipment storage. A full line of small plot equipment gives CARA the capability to conduct quality applied research and demonstration projects.
Since 1979, the association’s program has evolved to include a broad range of applied research and demonstration projects. The program reflects production concerns of local producers and includes many long term projects but also has the flexibility to react to current issues. Many new technologies have been introduced into the area, testing their application to the local conditions.
The current program contains the evaluation of many cereal, oilseed and pulse crops; annual and perennial forages; agronomic practices of annual and perennial crops; pasture and grazing management, as well as methods of conserving and reclaiming our fragile soils and the environment in general. CARA conducts a large number of extension activities throughout the year to deliver information to local producers, including formal projects reports, newsletters, tours, field days, seminars, workshops, website, Facebook and Twitter. Producers also have the option to address problem areas by consulting with members of the CARA staff.
The Chinook Applied Research Association partners with many individuals and organizations to carry out the program each year. Basic operational funding is received from Alberta Agriculture, the Special Areas Board and the MD of Acadia. Many of the projects are cooperative ventures with ARECA partners, the Ag Service Boards, Alberta Agriculture, Agriculture Canada, local Agricultural Societies and other producer groups in the province. Project support comes from a number of sources, including commodity commissions, Ducks Unlimited, agri-businesses and various provincial and federal programs. Our site cooperators, all producers within the area, are instrumental in maintaining our applied research and demonstration program.