Full steam ahead!

SARDA Ag Research board members, left to right, Peter Unrau of Skylight Ventures, Len Desharnais, Simon Lavoie, Audrey Gall, Victor Gauthier, Vance Yaremko and Matt Bergeron, standing in front of the new SARDA building east of Donnelly Corner.

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration (SARDA) Ag Research will be moving to its new home located east of Donnelly Corner in spring 2023.
Currently situated in both the M.D. of Smoky River building and one additional building across the street in Falher, SARDA is eager to have all of its resources in one location.
“We received the Western Grains Research Foundation grant in the amount of $750,000,” says SARDA Ag Research executive director Vance Yaremko.
“Our total project will be approximately $2 million, and we currently have funding for $1.5 million of that.”
Yaremko explains that they are working to raise the remaining $500,000 but they’ve received promises from both Northern Sunrise County and the M.D. of Greenview that they will provide a loan to help SARDA bridge the gap if needed.
“We had 15 acres of land donated by a local farmer to complete the build,” says Yaremko.
“We also have access to the rest of the quarter to rent to do more trial plots,” he added.
Yaremko says moving locations will be a big help to the SARDA team, as everything will now be in one spot instead of split between two locations. They are also hoping the new location will help with visibility and help to entice other companies to do research again.
“One of the biggest reasons for the move was we wanted a piece of land to do long-term trial plots,” he says. “The donation of the land helped move our vision.”
The build is anticipated to be completed by end of January, but Yaremko says with current chain supply issues and shortages they are hoping to be in their new home by early spring.
“Our idea is that once the building is complete, we will sell the building we own on Main Street Falher that we use for cold storage,” says Yaremko. “We will use the money from that sale to help complete the construction of new cold storage at the new location.”
SARDA Ag Research was established in 1986 to address local agricultural issues. It is a non-profit organization directed by producers from M.D. of Smoky River, M.D. of Greenview, Big Lakes County, Northern Sunrise County, and the County of Grande Prairie.
SARDA’s objectives, among others, are to achieve sustainable agricultural production and profit for producers, to stimulate and conduct applied research and demonstration to provide a basis for recommendations and a transfer of information and technology between research institutions, industry, and local producers.

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