The centre was possibly on the chopping block

Saskatchewan irrigators say a new five-year agreement has saved the province’s irrigation research centre.

However, money from other countries will be needed to keep the facility on the leading edge.

The Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre (CSIDC) at Outlook was “in peril” when the last agreement expired in 2013, said Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association director Larry Lee.

He told the recent SIPA annual meeting that the two industry partners at the centre — SIPA and the Irrigation Crop Diversification Corp. (ICDC) — were upset when they found out the centre was possibly on the chopping block.

“We immediately wrote a fairly pointed letter to the minister of agriculture for Canada, carbon copied to our other partners,” Lee said.

“We must have hit a nerve because we immediately got a reply.”

An assistant deputy minister and other officials visited the centre in the fall of 2013.

“As of this year, we’ve signed a new agreement for another five years,” Lee said.

However, he said the fact the federal government could even think of closing the centre continues to cause concern.

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