Lethbridge College Research Chair To Receive Nearly $500,000 To Continue Research

Published online: Jun 20, 2024 Articles
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Lethbridge, AB – RDAR has announced that Dr. Chandra Singh has become an RDAR-funded Research Chair to continue his research and tenure at Lethbridge College through 2029.

Dr. Singh is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) and a Professional Agrologist (PAg.) with nearly 15 years of combined academic and industrial research experience broadly focused on minimizing postharvest crop and quality losses.

His expertise and commitment to the industry make him a perfect fit to be an RDAR-funded Chair, with a grant of $496,136.

Dr. Singh joined Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE) in 2019 as the first Applied Research Chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology. With a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, he founded the Advanced Postharvest Technology Centre (APHTC), which is focused on minimizing losses in cereals, pulses, oil seeds, potatoes and sugarbeets.

Currently as the Senior Research Chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology at the APHTC, Dr. Singh leads research on postharvest storage, handling and processing of grains, sugarbeets and potatoes; natural air in-bin grain drying and aeration; high-temperature drying; mathematical modelling of stored crop ecosystem; sensing, automation, machine learning; and non-destructive quality and safety evaluation of agri-food products using near-infrared hyperspectral imaging and artificial intelligence.

“Dr. Singh has made a significant contribution to applied research in the province. He is extremely focused and works directly with industry to provide valuable, timely and innovative solutions. He has diligently built a research program that encompasses infrastructure and projects that support agriculture in Alberta,” Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Vice President – Academic and Research, Lethbridge College, said.

“RDAR is proud to support Dr. Singh’s crop research, recognizing its critical role in ensuring food security and sustainability in agriculture for future generations of Alberta’s producers. Investing in Dr. Singh and the continuation of his research at Lethbridge College empowers producers with the knowledge and tools needed to combat climate challenges, improve crop yields, and crop storage. This funding underscores RDAR’s commitment to advancing agricultural innovation, which is essential for feeding a growing population and safeguarding our environment,” Clinton Dobson, RDAR, Vice President Research, said.

Dr. Singh’s tenure at Lethbridge College is marked by many highlights. In addition to completing effective research on grain drying, he was invited to be an expert witness for Canada's Standing Committee om Agriculture and Forestry during the Senate’s discussion of Bill C-234, an amendment to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. The amendment proposed exempting farmers from carbon taxes on natural gas and propane for grain drying. Dr. Singh highlighted the critical need for drying to preserve the harvested crops in Western Canada.

“Without dryers, farmers risk losing their crops, waiting for crops to dry naturally in fields increases the risk of farmers being caught by severe weather events such as rain or snow during harvesting, the estimated total value of unharvested crops in Alberta due to such problems was approximately $778 million in 2019,” Dr. Chandra Singh, Senior Research Chair - Agricultural Engineering and Technology, said.

Dr. Singh has strong partnerships with high-value crop growers in southern Alberta. He has led potato variety trials with Potato Growers of Alberta, LambWeston, McCain Foods, Old Dutch Foods, and Edmonton Potato Growers. He also led a sugar beet wireless monitoring project with OPIsystems, Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, AGI, Lantic/Rogers Sugar which helps producers install aeration fans to minimize postharvest sugar beet losses by improving storage and processing.

Looking forward, Dr. Singh’s research will focus on three areas: minimizing postharvest losses, adding value to local crops, and developing products and technological solutions to meet the needs of Alberta’s agri-food ecosystems. These priorities are well aligned with RDAR’s mandate. Dr. Singh joins nine other RDAR-funded professors in Alberta: four at the University of Alberta; three at the University of Lethbridge; and two at Lakeland College.

“I am deeply honoured to receive this grant from RDAR. This vital support will enable my team and me to continue the development of adoptable and effective practices to help producers minimize crop losses. By reducing crop losses and boosting on-farm productivity through innovations at the APHTC, we are paving the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future for Alberta producers. Thank you to RDAR for recognizing the importance of my research and supporting Lethbridge College’s efforts to strengthen our province's agricultural value chain,” Dr. Singh said.

For more information, visit www.rdar.ca.