$10M donation drives Prairie Innovation Centre closer to reality

January 15, 2024 | Community News

Rendering of proposed Prairie Innovation Centre. For illustrative purposes only. Graphic by Number 10.

Manitoba Ag Days is getting kicked off in a big way. A $10 million donation has just put the planned Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture closer to reality.

This donation, from a philanthropist who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, plays a pivotal role in the next steps for the marquee project for the newly minted Russ Edwards School of Agriculture and Environment at Assiniboine Community College.

The campaign started with a $10 million community fundraising goal in 2019, which the college increased to $15 million and then $20 million, inspired both by sector enthusiasm and a resulting expanded scope for the project. The Province of Manitoba has also made significant commitments, including $10 million for detailed final design last year at Ag Days, a much needed 216 seat early learning centre as part of the project, and a $60 million commitment in the election. The college continues to seek an investment from the Government of Canada to complete the funding package.

The project is important to the vitality of Manitoba’s most important economic sector.

“With one in three agriculture jobs expected to go unfilled by 2029, the time for the Prairie Innovation Centre is now, to ensure we can meet those needs as they emerge,” said Mark Frison, President at Assiniboine. “And there’s no time more fitting to announce this substantial donation than on the eve of Manitoba Ag Days, when the presence and important of the ag sector will be felt all week long here in Brandon.”

Along with expanded programming and increased capacity for applied research, the Prairie Innovation Centre will provide a venue where producers, industry, researchers, government and students can come together, solve problems and share ideas.

“Our government is thrilled to work with Assiniboine Community College to expand the delivery of high-quality education that will see students graduate into in-demand, family-supporting careers in agriculture, benefiting our entire province,” said Renée Cable, Minister of Advanced Education and Training.

The Prairie Innovation Centre is a one-of-a-kind Canadian college project that will bring together collaborative learning spaces, applied research labs, multipurpose spaces and amenities that will serve both industry and the college community. By creating an enhanced agricultural training capacity, the Centre will enable the agriculture sector to continue to be a strong contributor to the Canadian and Manitoban economies.

“The Prairie Innovation Centre campaign has seen strong, steady support, which has shown us at every turn that this community, region and province needs this project. We know it will be a game-changer for agricultural education and industry advancement,” said Tim Hore, Dean, Russ Edwards School. “A donation of this magnitude validates that important work of faculty and staff, and reflects how our graduates are viewed by the sector.”

About Assiniboine Community College

Assiniboine Community College has been providing exceptional learning experiences for more than 60 years, offering unparalleled learning environments and responding to the demands and requirements of the Manitoba labour market. Following the philosophy of “learn by doing,” programs combine theory with hands-on learning inside classrooms, labs, kitchens, shops, fields and the college’s Sustainable Greenhouse.

Assiniboine offers more than 60 certificate, diploma and post-graduate programs across a variety of disciplines including culinary arts and hospitality, business, agriculture and environment, health and human services, and trades and technology. The college also delivers apprenticeship programming in a range of skilled trades disciplines.

The college welcomed more than 3,700 full-time and 6,000 part-time students last year. With campuses in Brandon, Dauphin, Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, Assiniboine provides comprehensive educational opportunities throughout Manitoba. The college also partners with many communities and organizations across the province to deliver customized education and training. Assiniboine’s annual provincial economic impact is $612 million. In the most recent survey of graduates, nine months after graduation, 94 per cent were employed, with 94 per cent remaining in Manitoba.

Assiniboine Community College campuses are located on the traditional territories of Treaty No. 1 and Treaty No. 2, the shared traditional lands of Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, Dene and Anishinabek/Ojibwe peoples, and the homeland of the Red River Métis. We acknowledge their welcome to the students who seek knowledge here.

For more information contact:
Kyla Cottom
Communications Specialist
Assiniboine Community College
204.725.8700 ext 6043